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Opera VPN leaking data to google?!?

  • Something is really troubling me:

    If I open a private window, enable VPN and google search from the omnibar, I get google search results that are evidently tailored to my google ID). However I'm positive that I haven't logged onto my google account from within the private browsing window. If I hit I appear to be someplace in Ukraine and / also show me logged out. What-is-my-IP? websites also report the vpn's assigned IP.
    Using safari (that of course doesn't have VPN) seems to work properly, google doesn't track me!
    I don't have any extensions on Opera and the google search engine query is the default one (search?client=opera&q=STRING&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) so no extra identifiers in that string!
    Can anybody explain why this is happening? It's freakish!


  • Did you disable the option to bypass the VPN for search engines?

  • Thank you @leocg for the tip! It seems related but after disabling it I still have the same issue.

    FWIW it took me some time to locate the option since it is not visible until after one explicitly enables VPN for non-private windows too. Are we talking about the same feature?
    0_1539314076470_Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 06.13.37.png

  • Yes, that is what I was talking about.

  • @leocg said in Opera VPN leaking data to google?!?:

    Yes, that is what I was talking about.

    I see, pity it didn't work for me 😕

  • Amd what make you think it's not working? Why do you think your data is being leaked?

  • I just realized the leak doesn't happen because of the VPN, but happens in Opera's Private mode regardless even with the VPN off:

    If I enter private mode, type in the URL bar and then search something, despite appearing logged out from the google services (I even get the Privacy Reminder from Google that new users get), I get the same search results as if I was logged into the google services! It's the results I get from my android phone, and the non-private window of Opera.

    The same query in Safari (which I don't use, so no google cookies and whatnot) and from a few other devices (my iPad, and windows PC) on my network that are not associated my googleID, yields results less personal.

  • Maybe Google is just recognizing your computer? Try check if it happens with a clean Opera profile.

  • Thank you @leocg, I just tested and it happens with a clean Opera profile too!
    I deleted my opera profile folder and started Opera. Right away, searching brought up personalized results - without logging-into any google services whatsoever.

    What is puzzling is that this happens only on Opera - For instance Google doesn't recognize my computer when I'm running Safari instead!

  • What do you call personalized results? Maybe it's just a coincidence?

  • At first I thought it was a crazy coincidence that one of my friends' facebook profile page would appear topmost at the google search results when I was searching for... pizza via private browsing (don't ask why 😛 ). And that got me wondering - how popular can this person be? What are the odds that this person is related to my Pizza query? So I checked the same query on other devices, browsers and I even had friends run the query (while we were waiting for the pizza) on their phones and indeed I was the only one seeing this results, and only the browser sessions that where logged onto google services would I get this particular mix of results. The rest would simply display Pizza related results.

    Now I can recall seeing on one of "my" devices and under this particular friend's profile a message similar to "you are seeing this result because you have visited this page on XX/XX/2018" but I can't seem to find this disclaimer anymore - I even checked if this personalization was perhaps related to my public IP or location services, or perhaps something identifiable in my router, but those other people on my WiFi network would get vanilla Pizza results not to mention that Safari on the very computer, that isn't logged-onto any google services would also get plain pizza related results.
    I even checked for extensions on Opera that might be leaking (not that private mode allows extensions but anyway) but I don't have any installed!