Google’s New Automatic Chrome Login Is Bad For Your Online Privacy

Disable account-consistency Chrome flag

It has a new sync feature that connects the browser to other Google properties such as Gmail or YouTube, so when you log into Gmail, you're automatically logged into Chrome.

Google Chrome could be tracking what users are doing without them being aware of it, according to an expert in digital content protection. A Mashable piece summarizes her argument as basically that "Google decided to make this change... to put an end to any confusion users may have had when trying to sign out of public or shared devices".

Over the weekend, Google found themselves in the middle of a small internet uproar over a change in Chrome. Adrienne Porter Felt, a Google engineer and manager for the Chrome browser, took to Twitter today to try and offer some context.

And this is where Green, who also said he had quit using Chrome, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Google. It means that sending your data to Google is one click away. Not signing in to Chrome was an easy way to make sure the feature wasn't "accidentally" enabled.

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We reached out to Google for comment and a spokesperson pointed us to another Twitter thread from Felt in which she explained that this change is meant to prevent multiple users from mistakenly believing they're logged in on a shared device.

Felt also explains that the reason Google chose to make this change was to put an end to any confusion users may have had when trying to sign out of public or shared devices.

For those who want to see how Google cookies are not removed, or at least restored, when you clear all browsing data, you can view the video I created below. This part probably best sums up his post - and the same reason for other hand-wringing in various outlets today about the new Chrome release: "In "basic browser mode, '" he says, "your data is stored locally". Green also argues, however, that this doesn't matter: The tying together of service and Chrome sign-ins is a 'dark pattern, ' he says, arguing - with others - that it serves no good objective other than to make it easier for users to begin synchronising their data with the company. Google has been in a kind of arms race with Facebook to capture and understand user data for targeting, remarketing and attribution.

There's a certain amount of logic to Google's stated reasoning, but it doesn't change the fact that this is something that should've been made clear to users.

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On desktop versions of Chrome, signing into or out of any Google web service (e.g. google.com) signs you into or out of Chrome. But there is also a change that seems like an assault on your privacy.

In that prompt, Google notifies users that the company will collect info from users' "bookmarks, passwords, history and more on all your devices..."

Google didn't have any comment on the change. This means that after clearing cookies, you will be logged out of every site that you are now logged into, except for Google.

However, experts said there are still privacy concerns with the new Chrome sign-in behavior, even if Google Sync is disabled by default.

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