The Controversial Chrome Auto Log-On
Last month, the newest update to Google Chrome was installed on all computers – Chrome 69. With this update’s increases in security measures and bug fixes came another feature, this one controversial to all Chrome users: the auto-log on feature. This change to Chrome keeps users logged into their Google accounts when they log into any Google service, like Gmail or Google Drive. When this update was released at the end of September, many people found this part of the changes to be a violation of their user privacy. Here’s why:
You log into a Google service, like your Gmail. Before the update, users were able to log into a given Google service without having to actually log into their Chrome accounts. With the Chrome 69 update, it automatically logs you into your Chrome account and keeps you logged in. So, once you’re done reading your emails from your great-aunt and decide to go surf Facebook or shop online for that new pair of headphones you’ve been eyeing, Chrome is able to see, track and record everything you do. The automation of this slight change in the feature allows for easier access to Chrome, as well as less password confusion because it keeps you logged in on your account. However, it also means Chrome is able to collect even more information on you than it was before, which is then used to target you for marketing and R&D purposes.
The part that users found most invasive, however, was that they had no choice in the matter. The update mandated the automatic log-on feature, with no option to turn it off.
Enter Chrome 70, the update released this past week. The most important feature being advertised? The ability for users to turn off the automatic log-on feature from Chrome 69. This is as a direct result of the backlash from the 69 update, and for good reason; people are getting increasingly worried about how much information is available online about them for collection and use.
So, if you aren’t comfortable with Google automatically logging you into Chrome when you try to view a photo you uploaded to your Google Drive, you can now turn this feature off. Whatever your preference, Google Chrome is becoming more and more like a service and less like a search engine. Keep in mind – your every click, no matter what browser you use, is being used to better market to your specific preferences!