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There's nothing clandestine or hidden behind the scenes. It's simply the case that your YouTube account and your Google account are the same thing.

My smartphone seems to know who I am. I never signed into YouTube ever. I had this Galaxy S for one year and it signed me into Youtube and knew my various subscriptions. How did it do that? I use unique passwords for most accounts. I don't see this happening unless some clandestine spying something is going on. My record is totally clean. Thanks.

In this excerpt from Answercast #66, I examine a mysterious instance of a phone logging its owner into YouTube.

YouTube spying

No, there's nothing clandestine going on here. What it boils down to is: I'm guessing that you have, somewhere, logged into your Google account. In other words, in using your Galaxy S (which I believe, is an Android based phone), at some point, you've entered your Google account into the phone.

Well, guess what... your Google account? It's your YouTube account! In fact, when you sign on to your phone, you probably end up using your Google account for things like email; probably your contacts; and maybe even your calendar. I know I do all three.

Google shares accounts

As it turns out, that account can then be used by your phone for any Google owned property that happens to use the same account sign-on technology.

And guess what? YouTube is wholly owned by Google. And that means that whenever you go to YouTube, you're logging into a Google property.

Or the other way around: if you're already logged into a Google property (like Gmail) then you're effectively logged into YouTube, and your phone can use that information to personalize your YouTube experience to what you're used to on your desktop.

So that's all that's going on here. There's nothing underhanded, nothing hidden behind the scenes. It's simply a matter of the side effect of the fact that your YouTube account and your Google account are the same thing and you've probably already logged into your Google account on your phone.

Article C5977 - October 31, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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