New Delhi: On 5 September, Google released a new version of its Chrome browser for users. Called Chrome 69, it makes noticeable changes to the browser’s user interface (UI) and removes the term “www" from website names.

However, there’s a more important change here. Logging into any Google service automatically logs you into Chrome as well. It’s unclear if this was happening earlier, but it’s happening now for sure.

What does this mean? In the Chrome browser, Google has always allowed the option to log yourself in with your Google account. Combined with a feature called “sync", this allows Google to take all your browsing data and save it against your user profile.

As a result, Chrome can pick up where you left off when you change computers or phones. This is how Chrome remembers passwords, browsing history, etc., for you, irrespective of which device you’re using it on. In turn, Google can also use this data for its own advertising and analytics purposes, which is why many users were alarmed by the new change.

“Logging into Gmail and logging into Chrome were two different things, as they obviously are (one is a web service the other is a web browser, to be pedantic again)," said a post by user “ronilan" on Hacker News, a social news platform.

According to many users, by logging you into Chrome automatically, Google is taking away the user’s choice. Originally, many thought that this would also mean that the Chrome browser is syncing your browsing data. However, Google clarified (via a tweet) that logging into Chrome and “sync" are separate from each other. Logging into Chrome doesn’t automatically mean Google’s tagging your browsing history to your user account. You still have to turn on the sync feature manually.

On the other hand, if you had allowed Google to sync data before updating Chrome, which most Chrome users would have, then logging into Chrome would allow Google to track your data and tag it to your account.

Why did Google do this? The company clarified that the change was made to avoid inconsistencies in Google accounts. According to Google, when multiple users are sharing a PC, Chrome browser would accidentally tag data from one user’s account to another’s. But if you are still uncomfortable with this, Google plans to allow users to turn off this feature with the next Chrome update.

How to turn off sync

■ Click on the three dots button on the top right side of Chrome.

■ Your Gmail account should show up on the next screen. If it doesn’t, Sync is already off.

■ If it does, there will be a “turn off" button next to it. Click that button.

How to turn off auto-login

■ Type the following on the Chrome browser’s address bar: chrome://flags//#account-consistency

■ You will see a list of options.

■ Scroll down to #account-consistency and disable it.

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