The Incognito mode of the browser is designed to allow users to view certain pages without leaving traces. However, leaving no traces does not mean that the Incognito mode is safe.
In fact, Google still tracks the user’s activity data in the Incognito mode of the Google browser, at least for Google, it does not make any difference whether the user uses the Incognito mode.
It is exactly this that some users started to initiate a class-action lawsuit accusing Google of deceiving consumers, and Google said that the class-action lawsuit was totally unreasonable and should be dismissed.
The court has now rejected Google’s request for rejection, and the court believes that Google does have improprieties in this matter, so the class action is still valid.
Most websites and mobile applications use scripts to count the number of uses of websites and applications, and of course, the web addresses visited by specific users will also be counted.
The most popular statistical tool is the Google Analytics service. At least 99% of websites use Google Analytics to count website visits.
Although the browser itself does not report data to its developers in the incognito mode of the browser, the website will also load statistical codes for tracking in the incognito mode.
That is to say, no matter what browser the user uses, whether it is in normal mode or incognito mode, the visited URL will still be uploaded to the Google server.
Although the statistical data cannot be attributed to the real identity of a specific user, the unique visitor ID set by Google for the user can aggregate all tracking data.
In addition to Google Analytics, products provided by Google, such as advertising management systems, also collect such data, which makes the incognito mode seem not so reliable.
Google Chrome has never said that using incognito mode can circumvent ad network tracking, so Google believes that user class actions are nonsense.
Simply put, Google believes that it does not need to bear any responsibility for this situation, and if users have to sue, they should also go to the webmasters.
Therefore, Google applied to the court to directly dismiss this class action, but after a preliminary hearing, the court held that Google was obliged to inform users that the privacy model would be tracked.
So the current result is that the court rejected Google’s application, this class action will continue to be heard, and consumers who initiated the class action claim up to 5 billion US dollars.
There are also researchers who believe that the original intention of the browser incognito mode is not a high-security environment, so the use of the incognito mode is basically meaningless for anti-tracking.
It is also true that the current Google browser has improved the incognito mode, and by default anti-tracking strategies will be enabled to automatically block potential ad networks.