Google Is Making Big Changes to Incognito Mode

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Google has said it is plugging a loophole in its Chrome web browser in Incognito mode to protect user privacy.

Chrome’s Incognito mode allows users to access sites privately, without saving information, such as browsing histories, cookies and sites information, compared with the usual browsers.

Google will deactivate some background processes, such as one called the FileSystem API that prevents any traces of activity from being saved on a device.

Although, websites can check the FileSystem API accessibility, and if an error message is returned, determine that an individual is using Incognito mode, and provide a different experience.

Publishers can use this feature when people try to escape paywalls.

Some websites offer only a limited number of free articles. However, people could try via Incognito mode to essentially re-set their numbers and access more articles free of charge.

The company said that by the end of July it would resolve the gap, but it tried to reassure publishers of the impact. This move will be seen as a blow to certain news sites which have had a long battle to monetise journalism online.

Google argues that the shift is essential to safeguard individuals who may have significant security reasons to hide their internet activity from political repression or ethnic violence.

“We suggest publishers monitor the effect of the FileSystem API change before taking reactive measures since any impact on user behaviour may be different than expected, and any change in meter strategy will impact all users, not just those using Incognito mode.” the company said.

“Our News teams support sites with meter strategies and recognise the goal of reducing meter circumvention. However any approach based on private browsing detection undermines the principles of Incognito mode.”

Author

Anirudh Muley
Anirudh Muley
Anirudh is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Clickdotme. He does not like describing himself in the third-person and had a hard time coming up with these two sentences!
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