The newest versions of Google's Chrome browser forcibly logs you in to Chrome. Logging into a Google service now automatically signs you in to Chrome.
Update (Sept. 26, 2018): Google announced they are "adding a control that allows users to turn off linking web-based sign-in with browser-based sign-in—that way users have more control over their experience. For users that disable this feature, signing into a Google website will not sign them into Chrome".
This feature will be available in the next release of Chrome (Version 70, released mid-October).
Note: I just downloaded and installed the beta version of Chrome 70 (70.0.3538.22).
I signed into Google using the profile icon. The good thing is that I wasn't logged Chrome browser automatically.
Logging in with the profile icon automatically turns on Sync. Logging into Gmail didn't log me in to Chrome and didn't turn on Sync.
When you log into a Google account or Google service, you are now logged into Chrome, whether you want to be or not.
Previous to the release of Chrome 69 (version 70 is the current release), logging into Gmail (or other Google service) and logging into Chrome were two different things. You could visit Gmail, YouTube or other Google services without being logged into Chrome. With the new version, when you sign into a Google service such as Gmail, you are also automatically signed into Chrome using that account.
The difference between being logged into Chrome browser and a Google service like Gmail is that logging into Chrome allows users to sync information like browsing history, tabs, bookmarks and passwords between devices - Google uploads and stores the data so it can be accessed from any device. Sync requires an additional step to be activated - being automatically logged in to the browser doesn't activate the sync feature.
One of the issues here is that if a user doesn't know that logging out of a Google service like Gmail no longer logs you out of Chrome, there's nothing to stop users from accidentally using someone else's account on a shared computer. If you log out of Gmail or other service, the next person to use the computer could have access to data stored in the browser. The only indicator that you're signed in to Chrome is a profile icon to the right of the address bar.
If you use Chrome and Google services all the time this may not be of any concern, and you're probably not going to be looking for alternatives.
If you want to use Chrome and not be logged in automatically when you sign in to any Google account or service, there are a few options:
Disable the Auto Sign-in Feature in Google Chrome
You can disable the auto sign in by going to chrome://flags/#account-consistency in the address bar and and disabling Identity consistency between browser and cookie jar flag using the drop down menu to the right.
Google regularly changes flag options, so the option could be removed at any time.
Use Ungoogled Chromium
Ungoogled Chromium is an open source version of Google Chrome that has most of Google's services stripped away. Chrome Web Store extensions don't install on Ungoogled Chromium. If you use extensions you might want to pass. The project page on GitHub is here, download links for Linux, Mac, and Windows (32 and 64 bit) are here.
Use a different browser:
I like Firefox, but I've been using it since it was in beta, many years ago. The newest version, Quantum, gets high marks for speed. Firefox is highly customizable. Chrome and Firefox share many of the same popular add-ons. There are often viable alternatives in Firefox add-ons, and if you can't live without a particular Chrome extension, here are directions to install Google Chrome extensions in Firefox.
Opera has been around many years and is a popular choice. Revamped to run on the same base as Chrome, it's snappy and easy to use. Opera has a built in ad blocker, and a VPN that can be turned off and on in the address bar. There are many extensions available at the Opera extensions site, but if you have favorite Chrome extension here's how install Chrome extensions on Opera.
Vivaldi is the creation of one of the former members of the Opera team. It runs on the same engine as Chrome, and as far as I can tell, all Chrome Web Store extensions work on Vivaldi. In addition to Firefox and Opera, I have Vivaldi open and in use all the time. You may want to take a few minutes to change the interface and some options when you first fire it up. It was slow in its early releases but it's on par with Firefox, Chrome and Opera on my system now. Vivaldi is in active development and has been improving since it was introduced.
Run an earlier version of Chrome:
You can run an earlier version of Chrome, but security becomes an issue with older versions. You can download older versions here. Forced log in to Chrome began with version 69.
If these don't work for you, here's a recently updated list of browsers. Many are popular in other parts of the world and are in other languages. Some are fairly new, and some have been around for some time.
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