Google’s Incognito Mode is a feature available on its popular browser, Chrome, that allows users to surf the web in private. Apart from your ISP or School Network (if you have one), your search history is not recorded. Recently, however, there has been a number of allegations that there’s more to Incognito Mode than what meets the eye, and that it fails to live up to the promise of keeping our data private.
In June 2020, three users decided to file a lawsuit against Google that accused the company of tracking users’ data even in Incognito Mode. Google fought back, arguing that they had made it clear that the Internet Service Provider (ISP) may still be able to access what content is being accessed and refuting the ‘Invisible Mode’ point that the litigants made. The only way to keep your history completely private, Google claimed, is to use a third-party app or plug-in that the company has no control over.
Google’s Incognito Mode Homepage (above)
The allegations start to get a little more serious, however, when you consider the fact that many of the websites accessed in Incognito Mode personalize the advertisements you see. Personalization involves collecting data, and since these websites use Google services to run their ads, it’s possible that the company does keep some of it.
Google has denied these claims, and it has announced that it will not give in to these allegations. As of now, the lawsuit (worth $5 billion) does seem to be going in their favor.