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Google Chrome updates Incognito mode to include new tracking disclaimer

The disclaimer further clarifies how Incognito mode actually works.

Published onJanuary 16, 2024

Google Chrome Incognito Mode with background
  • Google Chrome Canary is showing a new disclaimer for Incognito mode.
  • The new disclaimer warns that Incognito mode won’t change how data is collected by the websites and services you use.
  • The change comes shortly after Google settled a class-action lawsuit about its lack of transparency around how Incognito mode works.

In 2020, Google was sued for allegedly violating federal wiretap laws. The issue stemmed from Chrome’s Incognito mode, with plaintiffs arguing that the mode does not fully protect users from internet tracking. After settling the case last month, Google has now changed Incognito mode’s disclaimer to be a little more transparent.

First spotted by MSPowerUser, Google seems to have slightly altered the disclaimer that appears on the new tab page in Incognito mode. The new disclaimer appears in Chrome Canary version 122 and better clarifies how Incognito mode works. Canary is the experimental version of Chrome that’s meant for accelerating iterations and bug-tracking.

This warning found in Canary adds a new sentence to the existing disclaimer. The warning now says, “This won’t change how data is collected by websites you visit and the services they use, including Google.”

What the disclaimer is explaining is that when other people use that device, they won’t see your activity. However, your activity is still being tracked and collected by the websites you go to.

In December 2023, Google agreed to settle the Incognito mode lawsuit for $5 billion. As a result, the tech giant did not have to admit any wrongdoing and the terms of the settlement were never disclosed.

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