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There are 2 solutions floating on the web for this problem:
Disable the passwords keyring in Ubuntu or put in a blank password. I don't think I understand the full implications of this hack and I would not want to compromise the security of my system to fix this problem. So I'm looking for another solution.
Make Google Chrome use its built in password storage instead of relying on the Ubuntu password keyring.You would do this by locating the Chrome launcher within the system folders and adding "--password-store=basic" to the exec command. None of these edits changes the launcher in the dock, though. Or should I say "dash"? I don't know the proper Gnome terminology but it's the application shortcuts in the left bar. If I click that Chrome launcher it always brings lots of popups that ask me to unlock the keyring.
Editing launchers like this does something, though, because it fixes the launcher in the "Applications" menu. By that I mean the list of installed applications that you see when you click the 9 dots in the bottom left of the screen. (I apologize for not providing the proper name for this menu but I was unable to find what Gnome names all its UI elements).
So if I open the menu and click the Chrome launcher there, everything is cool. But if I click the icon on the desktop or if I click a link in Thunderbird that launches Chrome, all hell breaks loose. Not only do I get a ton of popups that ask for my password to unlock the keyring, but some of the stored cookies are somehow reset too.
I figured that Ubuntu uses 2 separate launchers for Google Chrome: one for the dash/dock on the desktop and a different one for the applications menu. Editing all launchers in all documented locations to append the command with "--password-store=basic" will only affect the one in the applications menu. That launcher will have the correct command and will behave as expected. The one in the dash/dock, however, seems to be kept in a secret location and you cannot get to edit it. This is also the launcher that Ubuntu uses whenever Chrome is launched by another application - like, for example - when Thunderbird launches Chrome to load a URL you clicked in an email.
Whenever that launcher is used, Chrome will try to use the passwords in the Ubuntu keyring, which is locked by default, so this results in a ton of popups that you have to dismiss at every launch. Even more annoying, this action also seems to clear some of the browser cookies that relate to authentication and site preferences. And in some circumstances can lead to losing all your browser stored passwords. Which is really bad because using the browser stored passwords seems to be the only way to avoid the buggy keyring.