Chrome’s Incognito mode is a bit of a joke that even Google employees weren’t so hyped about it. It’s now going to be less useful for “privacy” reasons, as explained in a new disclaimer change.
An updated warning page for Incognito mode went live on Canary, a version of Chrome primarily used by developers, as first spotted by MSPowerUser on Tuesday. The new text confirms your data will be collected by websites and Google while browsing in this mode. This change has yet to hit the latest version of Chrome, but it’s likely to come soon.
Here’s the updated disclaimer with the new text in bold:
“Others who use this device won’t see your activity, so you can browse more privately. This won’t change how data is collected by websites you visit and the services they use, including Google. Downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.
Google’s update to the disclaimer stems from a 2020 lawsuit the company was hit with over the not-so-private Incognito mode. That $5 billion class-action suit alleged Google’s privacy options didn’t work as described, meaning users were continually tracked while using Chrome. Google settled the lawsuit in late December according to Reuters, but no details of the settlement were made public, and it will still need to be approved by a judge in February.
“We’re pleased to resolve this case, which we’ve long disputed, and will provide even more information to users about Incognito Mode, said Google spokesperson José Castaneda in an emailed statement Wednesday. “Incognito mode in Chrome will continue to give people the choice to browse the internet without their activity being saved to their browser or device.”
Chrome’s Incognito mode has puzzled many users of the browsers over the years. Its main function is to let users browse the internet without having their web history saved locally on either their phone or computer. What it doesn’t do is obscure your activity like say a VPN would.