Google Chrome Incognito Mode Warning Updated After Long-Disputed Tracking Lawsuit


Google Chrome has been updated with an updated warning that is displayed when users open the built-in Incognito Mode, the private browsing feature that is designed to clear user data from the same session after the browser is closed. The new message displayed when Incognito Mode is opened informs users that websites can still collect user data, while other users on the device won’t be able to see their activity. The change comes after a long-disputed tracking lawsuit that claimed Incognito Mode was not as private as advertised.

MSPowerUser spotted a new warning on Google Chrome Canary 122.0.6251.0 that changes the message displayed when an Incognito Mode window is opened. The version of Google Chrome on the stable channel says “Now you can browse privately, and other people who use this device won’t see your activity. However, downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.”

The new message displayed by Google now says “Others who use this device won’t see your activity, so you can browse more privately. This won’t change how data is collected by websites you visit and the services they use, including Google. Downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.”

The warning clearly informs users that websites can still collect data on their browsing activity, even when Incognito Mode is enabled. The other details of items saved by Chrome locally on the device and visibility of personal information to third parties remains the same, according to the screenshot shared by the publication.

The changes made to Chrome come a month after Google reportedly said it was ready to settle a class action lawsuit that began in 2020 and accused the company of “track, collect, and identify [users’] browsing data in real time” even when they had enabled Incognito Mode on their browser. The agreement is expected to be presented by the end of the month and approval could reportedly be granted in February.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.