It took Google 15 years (Incognito was launched in 2008) and a $5 Billion lawsuit to finally accept that it tracks you in incognito modes. Of course, we have been screaming the same thing for the past decade over here at Updateland.
Back in 2020, a lawsuit was filed against Google that stated Google invaded the privacy of users by tracking them in the incognito mode. Google of course said that the Incognito window displays a disclaimer that states users may still be tracked by websites they visit and any third-party tools they may be using.
The court proceedings didn’t convince judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of Google’s innocence. Google has now agreed to a settlement with the involved parties.
Amidst all this, Google has quietly updated the disclaimer on its Incognito window.
So, here’s the old (current) disclaimer:
“Now you can browse privately, and other people who use this device won’t see your activity. However, downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.”
And, the updated disclaimer reads:
“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.”
Yes, this disclaimer may not be visible for the majority of you as it’s only visible in the Google Chrome’s Canary build, version 122.0.6251.0. It’s still not out for the stable and more public versions of Chrome yet.
Do note that the disclaimer doesn’t change anything. Google STILL collects your data! It’s simply letting you know that it does now! In simpler words, only your “browsing activity” is hidden from other users on your device. Nearly everything else can still be traced.
How to protect yourself:
So, how do you protect yourself from absolutely any and all tracking? For starters, enable the “Block third-party cookies” slider on the incognito page.
Then, get yourself a really good VPN. The VPN makes you truly invisible. It’ll make sure that none of your clicks, website visits, activities, or anything else can be linked back to you. Each time you restart a VPN session, your IP is changed. Google and websites you visit still have your information from the last visit but they just don’t know who to attach that information to!
Do note that the lawsuit hasn’t been settled yet. Hence, this update seems more like from Google than having been ordered by a Judge. This also means the exact amount of the settlement isn’t disclosed. For the exact amount agreed upon, and how to collect your share (if any); bookmark us and come back to this page on 25th February 2024.