Google definitely got the message that users weren't happy about the auto-sign in/out link implemented in the previous version of Chrome. The company has launched an updated version of the browser (version 70) that makes it a lot easier to disable this annoying feature — among other changes.
Back in Chrome 69, the browser automatically signed users in or out of Chrome when they logged in or out of Google's web services — Gmail, YouTube, et cetera. The feature was annoying but, more importantly, it made a number of users worry about their privacy, fearing that their data would now automatically sync up to Google's servers without their direct permission.
While these fears were ultimately unfounded, the feature raised questions about Google's privacy policies and business practices, which have already been under intense scrutiny.
But now there's Chrome 70 — which not only lets you opt out of the auto sign-in feature (more on that in a bit), it's also more transparent about whether Google Sync is enabled; it alerts users more clearly that they are on an unsecured HTTP website versus HTTPS; and it provides more control over browser extensions and their permissions. The update also fixes at least 23 unique security bugs that plagued older versions of Chrome.
On top of these privacy and security changes, Chrome 70 also adds new features to Chrome, such as Progressive Web App support, AV1 video codec support, and new developer tools. You can read the full Chrome 70 changelog to see all the changes.
How to disable Chrome's automatic sign-in "feature"
Despite these welcome changes in Chrome 70, the aforementioned auto-sign in feature is still on, by default, in the browser. Thankfully, opting out is easy.
First, update your browser to Chrome 70. Click the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the browser, click on "Help," and then click on "About Google Chrome." If you don't already have it, the browser should automatically check for updates and prompt you to restart Chrome to install the latest version. Then, click on those three vertical dots again and select Settings.
In the Settings screen, scroll down to Advanced and click the arrow to open Chrome's advanced settings. You should see an option for Allow Chrome sign-in. Click the slider icon to turn this off (the slider should be grey and to the left).
That's all there is to it. It's easier to disable auto-sign-in linking with Chrome 70 than it was on Chrome 69, but it's still annoying that Google insists on this being the default behaviour for Chrome.
Still, we're hopeful that this is an indication that Google knows it needs to give clearer explanations of the changes it makes to its products and services — and to provide the option to easily opt out of unwanted features.