When’s the last time you heard about a feature of a web browser that was actually controversial. It’s certainly not common, but it can and does happen — and Google learned that all too well last month when it released Chrome 69. The update had a few nifty new features and plenty of fixes baked in, however there was one feature in particular that people were hyperfocused on and very agitated over. Now, with the release of Chrome 70, Google has responded to the commotion by allowing users to disable the controversial new feature.
If something involving accessing the internet is controversial, it’s a safe bet that all of the commotion is targeting something that has to do with privacy. And that’s indeed the case with Chrome 69. In the new version of Google Chrome that was released just last month, there’s a new feature that people didn’t appreciate at all. One such person was Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green, who had quite a bit to say about it.
“A few weeks ago, Google shipped an update to Chrome that fundamentally changes the sign-in experience,” Green wrote in a blog post. “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. (However, and this is important: Google developers claim this will not actually start synchronizing your data to Google — yet.)”
When it comes to logging into websites, people definitely want control over when and why it happens. In Chrome 69, however, Google took that control out of users’ hands… and they were not happy about it. Complaints of privacy roared across social media sites and developer communities like Hacker News. Needless to say, Google quickly caught wind of the matter. Since the company has found itself in hot water over privacy issues many times in recent history, Google was quick to confirm that it would soon release an update with an option to disable automatic Google logins.
The good news is that update is finally here in the form of Chrome 70. The bad news is you have to opt out of automatic logins rather than opt into it.
To disable the controversial Chrome feature, first you have to update to Chrome 70. This will happen in the background automatically in the coming days, but you can also force the update simply by going to the “About Chrome” page in the menu bar. Once you update, opt out of automatic logins by opening Chrome’s settings page and scrolling to (or searching for) “Allow Chrome sign-in.” Once you find it, slide the toggle to off and you’re all set.
UPDATE: Many users are reporting that the toggle is grayed out and therefore the setting cannot be adjusted. We’re looking into the issue and will update this post with anything we find.