Google Chrome's Incognito Mode Isn't That Incognito

Yes your boss can probably still see your browsing history.

A developer for Google’s Chrome browser has finally confirmed some bad news, Incognito Mode on Chrome isn’t actually that Incognito.

In fact most browsers who offer a ‘private browsing’ mode won’t be able to keep the websites you visit hidden from your internet provider or your boss.


Speaking to Thrillist, software engineer at Google Darin Fisher revealed the realities of Incognito Mode.

Turns out that while Chrome’s secretive browsing feature is still very useful, it’s absolutely not going to be keeping your employer from seeing what you do, which is in fact why it’s only called Incognito Mode and not something more definitive.

Instead what Incognito Mode actually does is ‘pause’ the recording processes that go on from cookies to browsing history and even searches.

This makes it perfect if you’re looking for gift ideas on a shared laptop but not so good if you’re trying to mix business with personal at work.

The issue here lies in the what websites secure themselves. If you visit a website that doesn’t start with ‘https’ then it’s probably not that secure and your admin is still going to be able to see it.

If it does start with ‘https’ then you’re in better luck, but again this is only going to give you some element of protection. In some countries ISPs are required by law to have some record of your internet usage so while they might not be able to see the messages you sent through that browser, they could see when you logged on and potentially even the website you visited.

For those of you who are keen to exercise your right to privacy then experts have long recommended that you utilise a VPN.

This, combined with a browsing mode like Incognito Mode or Safari’s Private Browsing should give you a solid amount of security against advertisers, hackers and to some degree your employer (if you so wish).

Of course VPNs come with their own downsides which is that if you’re thinking of using them to watch Netflix from another country then you’re going to be sorely mistaken.

One particularly good side-effect of private browsing modes, and in particular Apple’s is that they can prevent advertisers from learning too much about you.

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

In the new version of Safari Apple has given its browser the ability to automatically stop those videos that will automatically start playing the moment you open a browser.

It’ll also be able to remove the tracking identifiers that although small are the reason you always see a product advertised on another site after you considered buying it.

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