Google Will Let You Opt-Out of Auto Sign-in With Chrome 70
Google used to be merely a search engine, but it has grown and expanded into other product categories that give it insight into the habits and preferences of the users — that’s us. Naturally, everyone is a bit more wary of Google’s potential influence and the amount of data it has on us. Chrome v69 set off alarm bells around the internet recently due to its automatic sign-in feature. Google has heard your complaints loud and clear, so Chrome v70 will add additional sign-in controls.
Chrome is by far the most popular browser in the world, so any change is going to get attention. Chrome releases start in Canary, which is sort of a pre-alpha. Then, they move through the developer, beta, and finally stable channel. Often, we’ll only hear about changes when they hit the stable channel because that’s where the overwhelming number of users are. That was the case with v69, which has been knocking around in the other (less stable) channels for several months.
As soon as v69 arrived, users noticed that sign-in functionality was different. Simply going to a Google site and signing in with your account would apparently also sign into the Chrome browser. Signing into Chrome lets you sync your browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, and more. It’s a handy feature, but not everyone wants Google storing that data, and it looked like Chrome v69 was forcing it upon us.
Google has since clarified that this was mainly a visual change. The browser reflects your webpage sign-in state, which is helpful for shared devices. You could navigate away from a page without realizing you’re still signed into, for example, Gmail. Then, another user could open Gmail and get your email. The sign-in image and avatar are supposed to prevent that. This feature didn’t enable Chrome sync automatically — you still had to manually enable that by signing in properly.
Still, Google doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. The UI for “sign-in consistency” will get an update that clearly shows whether Chrome sync is enabled. In addition, Chrome will clear auth cookies whenever you sign out. If you don’t want any part of Chrome’s sign-in chicanery, v70 will also include an option to disable sign-in consistency entirely.
Chrome v70 is currently in beta, and it doesn’t have this feature. Google will need to add it, and then do some testing before adding the feature to stable Chrome. It’ll probably be at least a month before v70 hits stable.
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