Chrome, how does it work?
March 29, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm a recent Chrome user, and so far I'm having a hell of a time with the privacy settings. I like the idea of using the synch feature so I can have my bookmarks and things shared across the three or four desktops I use. However, I can't seem to figure out how to make it so it doesn't sign in automatically when I open the browser - I would like to be prompted to put in a password every time. I feel really stupid, but I can't figure out how to make that happen.

Failing that, every time I try to unsync the chrome and go back to the old way of things (just using it like a normal browser, having to log in to my gmail manually every time like I prefer) my bookmarks get deleted, but it still logs into gmail automatically! (I uncheck the "stay signed in" box every time).

I've also recently hooked up with my google account, so I'm not sure if that site's logging in is overriding another one or what.

So basically, can you walk me through how I can set up chrome the way I want? Please talk to me like I'm an idiot . . . but not disdainfully so.
posted by Think_Long to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You probably want Menu->Settings->Show Advanced Settings, and then things on that menu. Unfortunately, Chrome is not as transparent as it could be, and it is often hard or impossible to get it to work the way you want it. (Curiously, if you look at it carefully, it works the way that allows Google to collect the most data, and most reliably connected to a "real" person. Go figure, right?)

If you take your Gmail password out of saved passwords, it should keep Chrome from being quite as clingy with Google services (don't worry about their data collection, though: I'm sure they have cookies and computer IDs that are good enough to tide them over between the times that you do log in.)

You can export bookmarks from Menu->Bookmarks->Bookmarks Manager, and re-import them manually on a different browser. You could also fake Google's cross-browser syncing (with less, but not nonzero chance of them snooping on your preference changes) by exporting to DropBox and then re-importing from DropBox on a different computer. (Of course, that lets DropBox snoop on you, but perhaps you're an equal-opportunity mark.)
posted by spacewrench at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: but it still logs into gmail automatically!

I was puzzled about this recently as well because I have Chrome set to not remember any passwords, and it was still logging me in to Gmail. It turns out it's storing a cookie which is logging me in every time. Settings->ShowAdvancedSettings->Privacy->Content Settings
You can either set Chrome to "Keep local data only until I quit my browser" or you can use Manage Exceptions for more granularity (to set which sites you would like to remember cookies and for how long).

I can't help you with syncing, as I've been too paranoid to try that for password reasons as well. But, I'll be reading this with interest.
posted by bluefly at 8:13 AM on March 29, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies.

Okay, I switched it to "keep local data only", logged out of gmail manually and closed the browser. I reopened the browser and in the top right it says "you are not logged in to chrome", but then I go to gmail, and I'm still logged in. Does your gmail log out when you shut down the browser?

I feel like I fucked everything up by trying to sync chrome and now it won't let me unfuck it.
posted by Think_Long at 8:51 AM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: Sorry I don't know how to help, but I just wanted to say that I have Chrome linked on 3 computers and while it keeps my bookmarks sync'ed (without entering a password), it always prompts me to enter a password for gmail and other google services.

Do you want enter a password to sync? Or just for google services?
posted by hannahelastic at 8:51 AM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: Think_Long, maybe try manually clearing out your cookies first (History->ClearBrowsingData->"Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data"). Look in "Manage Exceptions" to make sure that Google Accounts/Gmail isn't in there. I just tried quitting Chrome, and reopening, and I had to log in again to both Gmail and Metafilter (Chrome on Mac OS X Lion).
posted by bluefly at 9:06 AM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: I agree, delete cookies.

For me, I log out of chrome and then I alway have to log back into chrome on that machine if I want to be logged in. YMMV.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: I use Chrome and Gmail as well. When I finish with Gmail I click on the little triangle thing at the top right by my login name and the click "signout" and then I have to log in each time, which is what I want.
posted by JayRwv at 1:23 PM on March 29, 2013

Best answer: One of the reasons this is confusing is that you are actually signing in to two separate systems, even though there is only one Google account involved.

When you sign in to the Gmail web site you are using the web sign-in system, which uses cookies to keep track of your session. Deleting the cookies (or hitting the "Sign Out" button in the top right drop-down menu of the web pages) will disconnect that session.

When you sign in to Chrome you are using a different system that allows Chrome itself (as opposed to a web site that you are viewing in Chrome) to access Google services like sync. You sign out of Chrome with the "Disconnect your account" button on the Chrome settings page.

Since the two sign in systems are not connected, you could, if you wanted, sign into Chrome with one account, and sign into Gmail with a different account. I wouldn't recommend that for most people, since it mostly just makes things even more complicated.

Sign-in aside, your bookmarks aren't supposed to get erased when you sign out of Chrome. They're just supposed to stop synchronizing with other machines. If they get erased, it's a bug.
posted by Courage is going from failure to failure at 12:10 AM on March 30, 2013

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