Google changed how logging into the browser works earlier this month: logging into any Google app now logs you in with Chrome as well.
The change, released with Chrome 69 earlier this month, does not enable Chrome’s browser syncing feature. Matthew Green, writing on his personal blog, argues this is a betrayal, even if sync isn’t enabled:
For ten years I’ve been asked a single question by the Chrome browser: “Do you want to log in with your Google account?” And for ten years I’ve said no thanks. Chrome still asks me that question—it’s just that now it doesn’t honor my decision.
I understand where Green is coming from, particularly after he clicked no for so long. But if this is the moment that Google leverages its browser in an unseemly way, I’m not seeing it. Sync isn’t enabled by default, meaning there’s not much of a change for users from a practical privacy standpoint. Green disagrees, because he’s seeing settings now that he didn’t have to think about before. But Google isn’t seeing any more or less of his data now than before, and won’t unless users opt in.
To me this isn’t something the average Chrome user should spend much time worrying about, if only because most of them signed into Chrome years ago. If this kind of thing bothers you, consider not using Chrome.