Ignore the Silly Panic over Google Chrome’s New Auto-Login Feature

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UPDATE (September 27, 2018): How Google Documentation Problems Can Lead to Public Relations Nightmares

UPDATE (September 25, 2018): In response to complaints about this actually very positive and useful new feature, Google has announced that an upcoming version of Chrome will provide an option for users to disable this functionality. But I recommend that you leave it enabled — I certainly will.

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You may have seen stories going around over the last couple of days with various observers and so-called “experts” going all wacko panicky over a new feature in Google’s Chrome that automatically logs you into the browser when you log into a Google account.

In reality, this is a major privacy-positive move by Google, not any kind of negative as those breathless articles are trying to make you believe!

Over time, many users — especially in situations where multiple people use the same computer — have come to me confused about who was really logged into what. They’d login to their own Google accounts but later discover that the browser was still logged in as someone else entirely, not only causing confusion, but the potential for significant user errors as well.

I applaud Google changing this. It improves user privacy and user security, by helping to assure that the browser and Google Accounts are using the same identities, and that you’re not accidentally screwing around with someone else’s browser data.

Some panicky observers are loudly proclaiming that they never want to login to the browser. They seem on the whole to be rather confused. You can still use the browser as Guest. You can still switch user identities on the browser via the “Manage People” function in settings.

The key functionalities of browser login are to keep track of different users’ browser settings, and to provide sync capabilities. And the sync system isn’t automatically turned on by these new changes. If you want to sync bookmarks or passwords or whatever, you still need to enable this explicitly and you still have complete control over what is being synced, just like before.

Google should be getting applause for this new Chrome auto-login feature, not silly complaints.

Kudos to the Chrome team.

–Lauren–

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