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Google’s Incognito Update: Improved Privacy Warning Amidst $5B Settlement

When users open an Incognito browser in Chrome, they receive a notification. It warns that others won’t see their activity, yet downloads, bookmarks, and reading items will be saved. Google recently updated this disclaimer in Chrome’s Canary channel, following a $5 billion settlement for allegedly tracking Incognito users.

As MSPowerUser observed, the Canary disclaimer now specifies that Incognito mode doesn’t affect how websites collect user data. The revised statement states, “Others won’t see your activity, allowing more private browsing. However, this won’t alter how websites, including Google, collect your data. Downloads, bookmarks, and reading list items will still be saved.” The updated warning is visible in Canary on Android and Windows, and the same language is present in the Mac version of Chrome.

In 2020, Google faced a lawsuit alleging tracking of Incognito users. Plaintiffs claimed Google used tools like Analytics, apps, and browser plug-ins to monitor users. The lawsuit argued that by tracking in Incognito, Google misled users into thinking they had control over shared information. Google clarified that Incognito mode only hides activity on the device, not preventing data collection. The current Chrome disclaimer doesn’t convey this, but upcoming changes may address that.

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