Google’s Incognito mode was introduced to the world many moons ago. Its aim was simple, to keep your internet browsing on the Chrome browser private.

Three cheers for Google, thinking of its user’s privacy.

But late last year a Google developer revealed that even when using the Incognito mode on Google you can still be tracked.

Here’s what you need to know:
  • Incognito Mode is a feature that lets you hide your browsing habits from your online history
  • It's a feature that's built into the browser, no matter if you're using it on PC, Mac or your smartphone.
  • Incognito Mode is designed to (partially) conceal your internet activity, and the websites you visit.

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What does Incognito Mode do?

  • Incognito Mode is extremely useful, because it can stop your browser saving information about what you browse online.
  • For instance, any websites you visit while in Incognito Mode won't show up in your browsing history.
  • You also won't store any new cookies which are small computer files that let websites know if you've been on their page previously.
  • It also won't save any site data – for instance, if you're logged into a website, you'll be logged out in Incognito mode.
  • Information won't be stored for later used in web forms that you fill in.

All of this makes Incognito Mode really useful, particularly if you're trying to ensure privacy.
  • For instance you may be looking for a birthday present for your partner and by using Incognito Mode will mean they won't be able to see what you've been looking at. 
  • If you want to search for something on the internet, but don't want websites to constantly serve you ads for that product in the future, Incognito Mode will prevent those sites from knowing you were interested in an item.

What doesn't Incognito Mode hide?

  • Anyone on your Wi-Fi network could potentially use special spy software to view what you're browsing, regardless of Incognito Mode.
  • Your employer will be able to use similar technology to see what you're browsing at work, too.
  • Your internet service provider will also be able to see what you're doing online.
  • The websites you're using will also be able to track that you're online on their page, too.
  • For instance, Google will know where you're browsing from, and what you're looking at.
  • If you log into a website, they'll also be able to keep track of information about you.
  • So when you log into Facebook in Incognito Mode, details about what you do on the site will be recorded – just the same as if you were using it in a normal web browser.

The key point is that Incognito Mode is not a great method for ensuring privacy, because it's still very easy to track what you're doing online.

It's only really useful for keeping websites out of your browsing history, or logging into a single website on multiple accounts in the same web browser.