File photo: Sundar Pichai speaks during Google I/O Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California June 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
A tweak to the Chrome browser is prompting concern that Google is angling to suck up everyone's browser histories.
With Chrome 69, signing into any Google service, from Gmail to YouTube, will also automatically log you into Chrome and display your account profile pic in the right-hand corner. "This is nuts," Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at John Hopkins University, wrote in a blog post. "User consent matters."
Chrome can sync your browser history across all devices, meaning your history is stored on its servers. So users were left wondering if the company was collecting browser data without permission.
Google says no. "Signing in does NOT turn on Chrome Sync," Chrome browser manager Adrienne Porter Felt wrote in a series of
. "If you want to turn on Sync, it's an additional step after you're signed in."
To reiterate, signing in does NOT turn on Chrome Sync. The Chrome Help Center https://t.co/t2pPjiqkVe and Chrome White Paper https://t.co/RFlpiSSs2j have up-to-date details about this change. My colleagues are updating the Chrome privacy notice ASAP to make this more clear 6/6— Adrienne Porter Felt (@__apf__) September 24, 2018
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This can be done by clicking on your profile pic in the browser and signing in there.
Porter Felt explained the change was made to better alert Chrome users that their browser was still logged into a Google service when sharing their computer with someone else.