Google insulting our intelligence


Google recently decided that if you are not signed in to Chrome but you HAVE signed into any Google website in Chrome (Gmail, YouTube etc.), they will use that Google account to sign you into Chrome. They had some perhaps valid excuses/reasons for doing this, but this is the part where Google insults our intelligence and it all falls apart: when you open Chrome 69 for the first time, users should be greeted with a screen that says something like “If you are signed in to any Google website, you must now sign into Chrome with that account. If you do not want to sign-in to Chrome, click here to sign out of all Google accounts. Click here to learn more” . Instead of doing this, they just automatically sign you into Chrome without A) telling you that they’ve done this and B) giving you the choice to not sign in to Chrome.

They’re playing dumb and insulting our intelligence. Between this and Locationgate, Google’s attitude toward user privacy is disturbing, I honestly never thought the company would become this and I’m a bit depressed by it

Comments (26)

26 responses to “Google insulting our intelligence”

  1. Bats

    You're depressed by that? THAT? Really? PLUS....I don't see how this is "insulting" to one's ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. That's a big and fancy way of saying ..... "intelligence."

  2. Robert-Hostetler

    If you are in a situation where you have to use Chrome on a potentially risky PC, I'm assuming if you use an incognito window, it will not sign you in. Has anyone confirmed if that is true?

    I mostly use Edge, Firefox, and Safari now so it really isn't impacting me. I also minimize the usage I have of Google services.

    My team at work has standardized on creating unique Chrome profiles for each Office 365 tenant we manage to make it easy to have taskbar icons that represent them, but if forced to, we could figure out how to get that going on a different browser.

    I do not work at Google, nor do I have any friends that do, but my perception as an outsider is that security and user experience experts at the company are likely consistently losing arguments against the revenue generating folks in sales/marketing.

    It will be interesting if Google steers Chrome so far off course that many Pro users years later consider it to be as epically horrible as Internet Explorer 6 or Lotus Notes was back in the day.

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for everyone else in the technology space to be leaders in products that are available for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, that also prioritize user experience and security.

  3. lordbaal1

    That's just a big security issue. Someone not know, will sign into their gmail account at work. Then their bookmark, usernames and password will now sync to that computer.

  4. Tony Barrett

    Apparently Google listened to the backlash and have backtracked on this idea. Technically, it made sense maybe, but in practice maybe not. I think the good thing here is that they announced it BEFORE they implemented it. It's a good job MS don't try and make you do the same with Windows - oh, hold on...

  5. Minke

    I am of mixed minds. First, I suspect that the people who designed and implemented this did not have evil intentions, but they also were oblivious to users who would think it was a privacy problem. It shows lack of empathy more than a disturbing trend. Basically, privacy online is just gone, period, and anyone who thinks about this clearly will realize that. So, it comes down to do you want to see targeted advertising or the sleaziest schlock that you get if they aren't targeting you? I have made the decision that I would rather see something I might be interested in, and I have no illusions that my online activities can remain private and not tied to me in some way. With Google you are just one needle in a haystack of billions of people, so there is anonymity. Nobody at Google is actually looking at your online activity and watching you in particular. The humans are just looking at reports analyzing trends of millions of people. Or, use an ad blocker and get rid of the annoying targeted ads. That's all it is about--finding something you might be interested in so you will spend money on it. I don't see the terror that many see.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Minke:

      If you gave them a reason they could look at you specifically. If you believe they are building the tools for China to monitor it's people then you could be very concerned.

      • Minke

        In reply to lvthunder: I know people personally who work at Google. They take an incredible amount of care to make Google stuff in such a way that they feel comfortable using it themselves. There are a lot of people who believe that big tech companies are "evil" and out to spy on everyone. No, they are just trying to figure out ways to make better products that will keep you more engaged with their ecosystem, and that often means personalizing them to suit your desires. That means gathering information about your desires. You don't get a local weather forecast unless your phone knows where you are. You won't get news you want to see unless you allow the app to process the types of stories you are interested in. Just for kicks, try disabling all tracking and take a look at the schlock you end up seeing. When the Internet doesn't know what you want to see they give you the lowest common denominator stuff, which is just awful.

  6. maethorechannen

    In reply to wright_is:

    I'm not seeing the problem, other than maybe it could be worded better.

    Like I wrote in the premium article - I don't mean to offend anyone, but if you have an issue with this sort of thing then why on Earth are using any Google services (including Chrome) at all? They're clearly not the products you should be using and if you have some issue where you have to use Google for school or work then keep it compartmentalised.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      That is the problem. They changed how it works without telling anyone. So it catches people by surprise.

    • wright_is

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      You sign in on someone else's computer to quickly check email, show them a video from you subscription list, whatever. You then select delete cookie afterwards, to ensure that there is no trace on the computer. Yeah, good luck with that... Oh and you'll also be logged onto Chrome, so remember to log off there, because you didn't log on to Chrome either.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to wright_is:

        Again, not seeing this as a problem with what Google's doing. It's an odd use case, and one where you're not really using the tools properly. There's a reason why operating systems have multiple user accounts, and if you're going to take shortcuts (ie, not use a guest account) then potentially bad things can happen.

        • lordbaal1

          In reply to maethorechannen:

          You don't see a problem? Come yo my house and login into your gmail account. Give me a couple days, I'll show you how much of a problem it can be.

          You bank account. I just transferred everything to the caymans.

          You now owe hundreds of thousands to your credit cards.

          Your friends. They're now your ex friends.

          That's just a couple ways where it can be a huge problems.

          • maethorechannen

            In reply to lordbaal1:

            Leaving aside, the basic "why on Earth would I login to gmail on yours (or anyone else's) PC?", you won't get access to my bank account or anything else you mentioned, thanks to multi factor authentication.

            But going back to the basic "why on Earth would I login to gmail on yours (or anyone elses) PC?", using a PC you don't control and even worse with a shared account (which is what you're actually doing when you login to your gmail account while logged into a PC as someone else) at anytime is a massive security risk and if you think clearing cookies will keep you safe from whoever you're sharing the PC and/or account with you then you're an idiot.

            Come over to my house, login to gmail using whatever browser you want running on a machine I control and I will pwn you, cleared cookies or not.

            • lordbaal1

              In reply to maethorechannen:

              Not everyone uses multi factor authentication.

            • wright_is

              In reply to maethorechannen:

              There are some circumstances, where you have "no" choice, such as a friend of mine working on the rigs. They have 1 PC set up with a satellite internet connection that everybody uses. If you need to check mail etc. whilst on the rig, you don't have a lot of choice, you either don't have any email/internet contact for the duration or you have to accept the risks of using the common PC.

        • wright_is

          In reply to maethorechannen:

          Users can't generally add new accounts to computers, you need an administrator to do that, and it is a lot of hassle for a one-time use.

          And most administrators aren't usually happy to add a temporary account for a visitor.

          It also doesn't negate the necessity to log off and clean up afterwards, because the administrator could still reset the account password and access your accounts.

          • maethorechannen

            In reply to wright_is:

            Yes, it's a lot of hassle (especially on Windows 10). But it's probably a lot less total global hassle then if Chrome did log people out of Google (and by extension Chrome, as it's the same thing) when they wanted to clear cookies.

            • wright_is

              In reply to maethorechannen:

              If you decide to clear everything, then it should clear everything. I have chosen to do that, so that is what it should do.

              I'm currently trying to get something on Google to work and I am working with 5 different Google accounts, so it is a real pain that it keeps logging accounts into Chrome and I can't delete the cookies and try again from scratch.

              • maethorechannen

                In reply to wright_is:

                I am working with 5 different Google accounts

                Which is probably not something the average user is doing. Which is kind of my point - kicking people out of Google when they clear cookies will cause more people issues than if you did not kick them out,

                Maybe have an advanced setting that lets people really clear everything, but for the average user who wants to remove all traces of their accidental visit to a porn site while keeping Chrome sync working then Google's default is the better option.

  7. StevenLayton

    Okay, so please try and be polite, but treat me like an idiot. Why is this bad? How does it impact my life? How does Google making me log into Chrome when I want to also log into Gmail, Maps, Youtube etc hurt me? I've never really understood what risk I put myself in if they know my browsing habits. Is it just a case you rather them not know? Or is it more than that?

    • jprestig

      In reply to StevenLayton:

      I clear my history each day when I leave work. I noticed with Chrome 69, I'd clear my history and then come in the next day and still be logged into my Gmail, YouTube, etc. This is an issue. Clearing all history, cookies, etc. should log you out of ANY web pages you're logged into.

      At home, it's fine. I stay logged into Chrome across all my personal devices. But this is a huge issue when using public computers.

    • wright_is

      In reply to StevenLayton:

      You do it on a strange PC (work, customer, friend, family) and afterwards, you sign out of GMail, but you fail to see that Chrome also logged you onto the browser in the background.

      In such situations, that is a big security issue. Likewise it not deleting cookies, when you tell it to.

  8. irfaanwahid

    I am thoroughly enjoying Brave these days.

    I am trying to make it my daily driver and for the most part works well.