In short: Google will be making considerable changes to its Chrome browser's cookie collection and account sign-in behaviors in version 70, the company revealed in a recent blog post. The biggest of those changes is a new toggle called 'Allow Chrome sign-in' that will be found in the browser's 'Privacy and Security' settings. Toggling that off will allow users to opt-out of signing into the browser itself when they sign into a Google website. Along those same lines, dropdown UI for user accounts – located in the top-right corner on Google websites – will now clearly inform users whether they're currently syncing their data with Chrome servers across multiple devices from the browser they're signed into. When not signed in, or when signed in but not syncing, a blue button is being added to indicate that syncing is not active. Finally, Cookie handling is being changed as well. From now on, all cookies will be deleted, the search giant says, and users will be signed out when they clear those.
Background: The new version of Chrome is scheduled to be released in mid-October and each of the changes is intended to address recent blowback from users who were upset with changes made in Chrome 69. Namely, users discovered that clearing cookies did not delete all the data stored by Google sites or log them out of the browser. Google says those were saved to allow users to remain signed in after clearing the data but plenty of users were also unhappy that Chrome was signing them in, to begin with. Prior to Chrome 69, users had the option to sign in and sync or not whenever they signed in to a Google service or website in the browser. That changed with Chrome 69, with sign-in occurring as soon as any user logged in to a Google service. The company claimed it didn't affect sync settings at all, but the response was not satisfactory for many who use the browser across multiple devices or accounts.
Impact: Whether or not any of these changes sates the tempers of annoyed or concerned end users, it does appear to be a step toward more meaningful transparency for Google. However, as seen in at least one image associated with the above-mentioned UI, there is still no clear way to disable sync without navigating through a plethora of menus. While users now have the option to enable it via their account avatar, the button simply disappears once sync is enabled. The decision to exclude an easy way to stop syncing from the same place as starting it in the UI is most likely going to raise additional questions from users. In the meantime, there's still plenty of time for that to change before Chrome 70 rolls out.