I don't know what I'd do without Chrome's autofill feature

Autofill Managers Android 11 Galaxy S
Autofill Managers Android 11 Galaxy S (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Ever visit a site that you are registered at but can't remember your password and didn't drop it into a password manager for some reason (like because you were just lazy, maybe)? You find the link that says you forgot your password and click it, dig through Gmail to find the email that was sent, then click through to create a new password vowing you'll put it into your password manager this time.

I love it when a thing works so well it seems like magic.

Or if you use Chrome, whether the browser on another system or on one of the best Chromebooks, you just enter the first letter of your login and the rest gets automagically filled in. Man, do I love that stuff.

Yes, it tells me that Google is keeping track of things I type like user name and passwords unless I have opted out. You probably see an option somewhere if you start using Chrome with a brand new Google account and you can opt-out through Chrome's settings, but this really should be a more transparent option that requires you to opt-in versus something you opt-out of. But that's for another article about Google's not-so-great things it continues to do year after year.

I realized how much I love the autofill feature when I went to buy my wife's Valentine's Day present. It was the scenario I described above that we all have been through — I had an account at this particular website but had no idea what the password was. That didn't matter because all I needed to do was type in the letter "g" and Chrome did the rest for me.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Once logged in and finished shopping, a single click inside the payment method box filled in my credit card and payment information after I provided a CCV number. When I went to provide the shipping address, Google knew that, too. All I had to do was pick out the gift.

I've come to realize that I depend on Chrome's autofill.

Then I realized how much I depend on Google's private information storeroom. I use it to generate and save website passwords, I use it as an address book, and I even use it to make sure my passwords are safe — you're warned if Google's magic web spiders find your data in a breach somewhere.

I take all this for granted and don't really remember when the Chrome browser started doing it. (Turns out it was 2011.) I'm sure I gave it the OK through a prompt somewhere (at least I hope I was asked) but when things just work and I like them, I just use them. There's nothing here that I can't do using a password manager and an address book and my physical wallet, but damn, it's convenient.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Of course, I can't ignore the fact that Google has all this data stored up in the cloud. That's something I really don't like, but the way Google does the storing and the sending makes it pretty darn difficult for anyone to get hold of it, even Google. Google loves to use my data to make buckets full of money, but I trust it to take better care than any other password manager app or online service.

I know that everyone reading this who uses a different web browser like Firefox or Safari is ready to tell me how wrong I am and how Google plans to use my credit card information to do something evil. I also don't care, it's cool that you hate it and use something else; the world would be pretty dull if we all did the same dance, ya know?

But I do wonder how many others love the feature and depend on it as I do. If that sounds like you, give me a shout in the comments to help satisfy my curiosity.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

12 Comments
  • I too love the feature, though I selected the third-of-eight options shown on the phone in the article photo cover. Works the same, which is to say: great.
  • Edge has this too. Even Internet Explorer basically has it (no payment storage) :-/ Although I don't store card information personally. Samsung Pass is also good as you're not forced to sync to the cloud. The average person holds on to a phone 2-5 years.
  • It's awesome and it works so well. I don't think I even have to type in a letter just touch the field and autofill pops up. I dont remember this being the way it is now but just the last few years. Wherever it came from I'm a big fan.
  • Awesome feature. Comes in handy everyday
  • Microsoft Edge does the same thing and it is really handy, almost to the point to where LastPass is on it's Last Legs
  • I remember back when browsers first started doing stuff like this, but stored everything locally and didn't encrypt anything (or didn't encrypt it very well). So I used a local password manager for a while (I can't even remember the name now. It was before the 2021 1 date Jerry mentioned), and later switched to Last Pass. I'd be totally lost online without Last Pass. There would be SO many password resets. I only know a handful of actual passwords. The rest are randomly generated and stored in Last Pass. I only have Last Pass stored passwords, not personal information or credit card information because...I don't know. Arbitrary reasons? I do wish that browsers and password managers had better integration, so that my browser could handle filling in the data, but my password manager could be in charge of the actual data. Probably won't ever happen, but I can dream, right?
  • I really like the Samsung Internet browser but will not use it because it lacks Google Autofill. I am also finding I rely more on Google Autofill more than my password managers which I have become tired of ss they do not preform as well as Google's option.
  • I use Google autofill also. Cumulatively, it must have saved me a tremendous amount of time and stress over 5ye years.
  • Jeesh Chrome. What a cluster ****.
  • Easily in my top 3 for most used Feature. Extremely helpful.
  • Like other Chromium-based browsers, Brave has adapted synchronization to use their own servers. One big difference is that instead of creating an account using your email and a password that you create, you create a sync chain that has a randomly generated 24-word sync code, so even Brave doesn't have a way to readily tell whose information they have on their servers.
  • I've really been trying to get along with LastPass but it's just not as seamless and convenient as Google Autofill is across Chrome and Android.
    I really like the Brave browser and all things privacy focused (I've started using Protonmail too) but I'm starting to wonder if the loss of convenience is worth it when I can't decide if Google storing my data really bothers me or not.