Google - is this feature new? Can it be disabled?

I signed up for gmail early. I’ve been a big fan and proponent.

However, there’s something that I noticed a couple of weeks ago that annoys me to no end.

When I log into gmail, it creates a cookie that allows me access from this terminal until I log out. Problem is that it also logs me into the Google home page. I see my email user name in the upper right corner of the Google home page. There is an option to log out of the Google home page, but logging out also logs me out of gmail.

I don’t like this. I don’t want Google to associate me the user with my search engine usage. At the same time, I’m not prepared to log out of gmail so that I can do a web search.

I don’t recall seeing my gmail user name on the Google page until recently. Anyone know if this is new? I searched the settings and there doesn’t seem to be anything that allows me to separate gmail use from Google use. Have I overlooked something? Is anyone OK with this set-up?

At this point, I’m just about 3 years into gmail as my primary personal email address. The idea of changing email services is not something that I want to entertain, nor is this necessarily a deal breaker. But colour me disappointed.

Google has always used cookies to associate searches with users. The new part might be associating that with a Gmail account as well where possible.

I’m confident that it’s always been this way…just not visible.

I suspect you’re right. I just preferred being ignorant to it.

It’s admittedly a fine line, but the cookies only identify the computer which leaves a degree of anonymity as to who the user is. Using my gmail user name narrows it down more specifically to me.

If you use Firefox, this might be an option:

I suspect that it is to facilitate the easy use of Google Documents, etc. and avoid lots of logging in and out.

A workaround would be to use a different browser to use plain old Google with.

This might be of use too,
Anonymizing Google’s Cookie Bookmarklet.