Chrome Now Logs all Google Users Into the Browser. Should You Care?

Joanna Estrada
September 24, 2018

Chrome engineer and manager Adrienne Porter Felt explained further over several posts.

Prior to this users had to consciously log into the browser, and users who were not logged in had their bookmarks, browser and other items stored only locally.

Google changed how logging into the browser works earlier this month: logging into any Google app now logs you in with Chrome as well.

Sync has been present in Chrome for years, but until now, the system worked independently from the logged-in state of Google accounts.

In a nutshell, the situation is that Chrome used to allow users to skip through the World Wide Web without needing to sign into Google's browser services. However, all the data - including your browser history and password autofill information -is sent to Google servers once you're signed in.

Furthermore, they also revealed that the reason why this mechanism was added was for privacy reasons in the first place.

Green said it was logical to assume that Google would not have made this change to Chrome unless it provided the company with data that it wanted. But its effectiveness may be limited, as people may not realize they're logged into the browser - especially if they don't notice this change.

But the criticism doesn't stop here.

It also means if you're using a shared computer to quickly browse the internet and check your emails in Gmail, you'll want to make extra precautions to ensure that you are fully logged out when you're finished.

He calls this change a "dark pattern", a term used to describe user interfaces that have been intentionally created to be misleading. More people syncing data is obviously a good thing for Google, but this doesn't seem to be a sneaky trick.

But some also suggested that Google's move might have been planned well in advance. What rankles some users is that using a Google service in Basic Mode will by default log you into Chrome 69. To wit, Brave's Android app has more than 10 million downloads, and the company says that the browser now has 4 million monthly active users across all devices, up from 3 million in July.

Dismissing arguments that, if he wanted to keep using Google products he should expect privacy violations of this kind, Green said: "I reject this argument".

Though this policy update may satisfy some lawyers in Google's cozy offices, this does not address the issue that Google has modified a Chrome feature without telling users, and that modification might lead to serious privacy breaches.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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