Google’s Incognito Mode offers a way to browse without saving your history, but many misconceptions about its use have sprung up since its release.
Google’s Incognito Mode has become a favorite tool for internet users that don’t want to have their search history known. With Incognito Mode, the entire idea is that it won’t show up on your regular search history, which, for many, may be attractive. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of myths surrounding this Google feature, and those myths can quickly lead to embarrassment if you aren’t aware of the reality behind Incognito Mode. Here’s what you need to know.
- Incognito Mode doesn’t protect you from government surveillance. If you’re searching up illegal stuff on Incognito Mode, stop it. This is not going to protect you if police decide to search your browsing history. Google still catalogs what goes on in Incognito Mode specifically because of this reason.
- If you’re trying to surf the net at work, Incognito Mode won’t protect you from software the boss may have installed. This is a myth that continues to be believed, despite the fact that Google actually posts the truth about it on the Incognito Mode window. It will not keep you from being fired if you’re being monitored!
- Incognito Mode still allows search engines to log what sites you’ve visited. At this point, it’s basically what search engines do. They still will keep track of what sites you visited as a way to improve their algorithm and get a better idea of what you’re about.
- What Incognito Mode does is delete your cookies once you’ve closed out of the window. This basically just keeps your roommates and other casual observers from seeing where you’ve been. Really, that’s basically all it does. There are a lot of different ways to track where you’ve been online, and cookies are just one.
- ISPs also can see where you’ve been browsing, too. This is not too surprising, considering that your IP will always be logged while surfing the net.
- This means that even when you’re in Incognito Mode, advertisers can still target you and tailor ads to your profile. If you’ve been trying to get away from targeted ads by choosing to use Incognito Mode, then you might have noticed that surfing the net still involves getting targeted ads due to Big Data. Congrats! You can’t escape!
- The bottom line is that you can still be tracked by just about anyone, and Incognito Mode really doesn’t do much to protect you from it. It’s just a little bit more private, but it doesn’t actually do much of anything. The only way to get around the tracking is to use a device or a specialized program that doesn’t track you by default. (And, if you use it, make sure not to use Google!)
While we like to think that our browsing history is safe and private, the truth is that the internet is going to know where you’ve been browsing unless you really make a point of it to avoid any common technology that you’d typically use. It’s not exactly nice, and it may even be a little bit creepy, but there’s not much that you can do about it.