February 26, 2024

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Google now admits it “can collect data in Chrome's incognito mode” – Google

Google now admits it “can collect data in Chrome's incognito mode” – Google

When Chrome's incognito mode is turned on, users see a specific notification.

This notification lets them know that even though their activity will remain hidden from other device users, their downloads, bookmarks, and reading list items will be preserved. Google recently revised this disclaimer in the Canary beta version of Chrome. This change comes after Google agreed to settle a $5 billion lawsuit that accused it of tracking users who used incognito mode. As first discovered by MSPowerUser, Google has modified its disclaimer in the beta (Canary) version to include a statement clarifying that Incognito Mode does not change the data collection practices of websites users visit.

The updated disclaimer states: “Others using this device won't be able to see your activity, so you can browse more privately. This won't change how data is collected from the websites you visit and services they use, including Google. Your downloads, your Bookmarks and reading list items.” The same wording is now present in the Canary version of Chrome for Android and Windows and also in the Mac version of the popular browser.

In 2020, Google was the target of a lawsuit that claimed it was tracking users' activities even when they were using incognito mode. Prosecutors argued in court that Google used various tools, including its analytics product, applications and browser plug-ins, to track users.

They also claimed that by tracking users in incognito mode, Google was giving users the false impression that they were in control of the information they chose to share. A Google spokesperson explained at the time that the incognito feature could only hide a user's activity on the device he was using, but it did not prevent the collection of his information. This point is not made explicitly in the current disclaimer for the public release of Chrome, which looks like it may change in the near future.

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