Google has announced that it will begin allowing users to opt out from its Chrome browser’s controversial auto-login feature that debuted in Chrome 69.
Previous versions of the popular browser left it up to the user whether they wanted to login to the browser while using it. However, Chrome 69 introduced a feature that automatically logged the user into the browser when they signed into Google sites like Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and others. Currently, there is no way to turn this off.
Google originally claimed the feature was introduced to prevent data from leaking between accounts on shared computers, but the move has been criticized for its potential to make it theoretically easier for Google to upload users’ browsing history. Google responded to the criticism in a blog post:
“We want to be clear that this change to sign-in does not mean Chrome sync gets turned on,” said Chrome product manager Zach Koch. “Users who want data like their browsing history, passwords, and bookmarks available on other devices must take additional action, such as turning on sync.”
The outcry from privacy advocates has been loud enough that Google will make changes in Chrome 70, due for an October release, to allow users to opt-out of the auto-login feature.
While we think sign-in consistency will help many of our users, we’re adding a control that allows users to turn off linking web-based sign-in with browser-based sign-in – that way users have more control over their experience. For users that disable this feature, signing into a Google website will not sign them into Chrome.
Google will also update the browser’s interface to more clearly indicate a user’s account sync status more obvious. The search giant also says the way the browser handles authentication cookies will be changed to ensure they don’t stick around once a user is signed in.