Google secretly logs users into Chrome via Gmail and its other services

Latest Chrome update has supposedly created a "user-unfriendly login policy"

Chrome browser logo

Users of Google services like Gmail have noticed they have been automatically logged in any synced to Chrome, without expressly logging into Google's browser.

The search engine updated its web browser recently and according to reports, it has an unannounced syncing feature. Indeed, the only inclination users will have of being logged into Chrome is that their avatar will be in the top corner of the browser, despite not directly logging into the service.

Matthew Green, a cryptocurrency professor at John Hopkins University was one of the first to spot the change, calling it a "user-unfriendly forced login policy" and approached Google for an explanation.

"A few weeks ago Google shipped an update to Chrome that fundamentally changes the sign-in experience," he wrote. "From now on, every time you log into a Google property (for example, Gmail), Chrome will automatically sign the browser into your Google account for you. It'll do this without asking, or even explicitly notifying you.

"The Chrome team has offered a single defence of the change. They point out that just because your browser is 'signed in' does not mean it's uploading your data to Google's servers."

In a series of Twitter posts addressing privacy concerns, Google Chrome engineer and manager Adrienne Porter Felt explained that while a Google services user will be automatically logged into Chome their browsing data would not be collected and recorded to their Google account, unlike when they login directly to Chrome. 

"Chrome desktop now tells you that you're "signed in" whenever you're signed in to a Google website. This does NOT mean that Chrome is automatically sending your browsing history to your Google account!" she explained. 

"My teammates made this change to prevent surprises in a shared device scenario," she tweeted. "In the past, people would sometimes sign out of the content area and think that meant they were no longer signed into Chrome, which could cause problems on a shared device.

"The new UI clearly reminds you whenever you're logged in to a Google account. Plus, you now only need to sign out in one place before you share your computer with someone else."

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