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Google potentially renaming 'Incognito Mode' to 'Private Mode' in Chrome

There's not much solid evidence yet, but it does seem that Google is at least thinking about the change.

Published onSeptember 20, 2018

Google Chrome on the Pixel 2 XL.
  • A few Chrome users are reporting “Incognito Mode” references are gone, with “Private Mode” in its place.
  • It appears that only a small subset of users can see this change, suggesting a Google server-side test.
  • If Google really is abandoning Incognito Mode, it will bring it in line with other browsers which mostly use Private Mode.

Over at Android Police, a couple of tipsters reported that they surprisingly saw references to “Incognito Mode” missing in their Chrome browser. Instead, the browser used the term “Private Mode” to describe the usual Incognito Mode functions.

We here at Android Authority couldn’t see the change on any of our own Chrome browsers, and Android Police staff couldn’t either. This suggests that Google is doing a small server-side test to see if changing the name works or doesn’t work, and these tipsters just happened to see it.

How to protect your privacy using Android

If Google does end up changing the Incognito Mode term to Private Mode, it will put it in line with other rival browsers, such as Apple Safari (“Private Window”), Mozilla Firefox (“Private Browsing”), and Microsoft Edge (“InPrivate”).

For what it’s worth, the Google Chrome support page that describes Incognito Mode uses the term “private” much more than it does “incognito.” In fact, the headline of the support page itself is “Browse in private.”

In the past, Chrome’s Incognito Mode has caused confusion for users who think that by using it they are hidden from all online trackers, which is not what Incognito Mode does. It might be that switching the name to Private Mode will better clarify what exactly happens when you use it (i.e., anything you do is not locally saved to your computer).

What do you think? Are you attached to the Incognito Mode moniker, or would you welcome a name change? Let us know in the comments!

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