In Google Chrome, incognito mode enables private browsing, which means that websites you view and download while in incognito mode are not kept in your browsing or download history logs. Cookies are taken out when you shut down an incognito tab; however, bookmarks and related user settings remain saved. Incognito mode is a program feature that, while significant in specific conditions, can, in essence, give the impression of safety.
Incognito mode is a browser-specific tool that can create a private environment while also being useful in some specific circumstances. However, the incognito mode we use to surf the web secretly is not as private as many believe.
Google Chrome incognito mode
Google describes incognito mode as a feature “when you want to surf the web without saving specific information.” Here is a rundown of five things you should know about Google Chrome’s incognito mode.
1. Incognito mode misconceptions
The Google Chrome incognito:
- Do NOT protect your traffic from external parties such as the internet service provider, the government, or your organization’s network administrator.
- Does NOT protect your traffic from hackers, malware, cyber-attacks, and potential weaknesses.
2. Features of incognito browsing
Whenever you browse Google Chrome in incognito mode, the following three things happen,
- The browser’s history is no longer recorded. Most web browsers save your perusing history so that one might get to it later. This feature is turned off in incognito mode, which prevents you and anyone else who uses that device from tracking the browsing history.
- The browser automatically deletes all cookies and site data at the end of an incognito session. When you exit the browser window in incognito mode, cookies and other forms of data created during that session are removed immediately. Cookies are little text files that websites utilize to remember who you are. They save what is in your shopping cart, log you into a portal automatically, and serve or distribute adverts to individuals interested in them. Keep in mind that none of this happens unless you exit the incognito browser window at the end.
- The browser does not keep track of information entered into forms or permissions granted by a website. If you select “Remember me” on a website that requires a login, your browser will overwrite that command in incognito mode. That way, it won’t be able to auto-fill info fields or give search suggestions.
- Read our article for clearing cache and cookies in Google Chrome.
3. When to employ the incognito mode?
Incognito mode is a valuable feature that allows you to rapidly switch between your web browser’s personalized and more impersonal version. The following four points will give you a generalized idea of when to employ incognito mode in Google Chrome.
- Always browse in incognito or private mode if you have to use a public computer. Your personal information will not be saved in a publicly available browser. The same is the case when you use someone else’s PC. Even if you trust a friend or a family member, you do not want to jeopardize the shared data just by using their hardware.
- Incognito mode allows you to search the World Wide Web from a different point of view. You could wish to run a search without allowing your previous search history to influence the results. Alternatively, you might want to check how a personal blog or website appears from the outside perspective. Incognito mode enables a user to see how a website would appear if it were being visited for the very first time.
- One of the primary functions of Google Chrome incognito mode is to visit websites that you do not want to be saved in the browser’s history. Often, users may visit a site that they would instead not want anyone else to know about. You might be arranging an unexpected treat for somebody you share the computer with. Another such application would be to investigate data on delicate wellbeing or monetary issues.
- Google Chrome incognito mode helps block advertisements that are specifically targeted. When you use incognito mode, the browser deletes cookies at the end of each session, which means that sites you visited during that session will not recognize you the next time. This means that you are unlikely to receive any targeted ads from them.
4. Incognito mode limitations & shortcomings
The incognito mode is helpful for all the reasons listed above, but it has some significant flaws. If users are unaware of its limitations, they might inaccurately believe it to be completely private. Following are some principal limitations of Google Chrome incognito mode,
Anonymous until you log-in
After you log into a website, your actions are no longer anonymous. That platform can then easily track all information that it would otherwise do in regular browsing. Moreover, there is no legal binding on that site to not share the respective information with any other source. Google, for example, can follow your actions if you use incognito mode while the Gmail account is linked. Most people are uninformed that going into a record invalidates a significant slice of the benefits you receive with incognito mode.
ISP or local system administrator can still see your online activity
Websites can still see your location. When you visit a site, the internet service provider (ISP) will automatically provide that site with your IP (internet protocol) address, a form of computer zip code. You can only conceal that address with the help of a VPN. Learn how to get a free VPN on your Google Chrome.
Your internet service provider can still see your surfing history. The ISP can still observe general internet behaviors even if you use incognito mode. However, that too can be limited with a VPN.
If you are connected to a local network, your school or employer may still be able to see your browsing history. If the network you are connected to is operated by someone else, such as a workplace or a government organization, they may have straight access to everything as usual.
Not 100% safe
Incognito mode can easily be overpowered by digital fingerprinting. It is a technique for determining your identity based on information about your devices, such as the model and operating system. Because fingerprinting relies on information readily offered by your system, it is becoming a preferred alternative to third-party cookies. This information was primarily developed for displaying graphics accurately on your screens, but it can also be exploited to retrieve data generally concealed by incognito mode.
No protection from malware
There are no warranties on incognito mode to be protected from malware or viruses. Although incognito browsing deletes cookies and site data, it does not clear downloaded files. Therefore, it cannot be used as an antivirus or data cleaner.
5. How to enhance privacy in incognito browsing?
Now that you know the incognito mode limitations learn how to combine it with additional tools to create a genuinely private search and browsing experience.
- Employ a virtual private network for masking your IP address from websites. With the help of remote servers, these networks can allocate a new address every time. When using public internet in a café, hotel, or airport, it is recommended to utilize a VPN and Google Chrome incognito mode. Keep in mind that even if you have opened the browser in incognito, the VPN provider can access your browsing history and data. Due to that, it is of utmost importance to always choose a reliable and trustworthy private network.
- Make use of a private search engine such as Neeva or DuckDuckGo. They usually provide ad-free, confidential web browsing that only uses search history to improve the results rather than spamming you with adware. Besides, these search engines come with incognito modes as easily and proficient as Google Chrome.
- Change your cookie settings to incorporate the incognito browsing. Setting Google Chrome to disable third-party cookies altogether while in incognito mode can help to protect you from being tracked.
Incognito mode hides your identity locally and prevents cookies from being stored in the web browser. However, it lacks a couple of crucial facets when on a network. Still, the incognito mode can provide safe and secure internet browsing for regular users on the go. Please note that selecting appropriate functionality and add-ons is critical for anyone who needs their online presence to be entirely masked.