More and more people are investing in cybersecurity by purchasing anti-virus software or paying subscriptions to genuine online firms to access data that they would otherwise download from other (risky) sites. Google Chrome incognito naturally became a part of our internet surfing. But, is Google Chrome incognito really private?
Shortly, it’s having one’s identity concealed; a useful feature which enables users to keep their browsing history private. The concealed data cannot be retrieved afterward making it an effective tool in local computing. Yet can Google Chrome incognito be really private when an ISP has all the power to see your internet activities?
Bypassing restricted access with incognito
In most organizations and institutions, internet access is limited to specific sites. In fact, some software such as torrents are disabled and to use them, you need to bypass the security. Bypassing restricted access and private browsing are two different terms, and so you may ask, what is Google Chrome incognito used for? Well, in incognito mode you can only hide your browsing history from users accessing your computer or mobile device, but not from the employer or institution who is the internet access provider. Also, the websites that you visit know your IP address as well.
Will incognito hide my IP?
Unfortunately, it won’t and this ranks as one of the core disadvantages of Incognito Mode. You can only hide your browsing history.
When using the internet, you might encounter a site which has been banned by the government or rather the network security has restricted its access. To bypass such restrictions, you need a VPN which hides your IP address.
An incognito setting, on the other hand, is more useful when using a cyber cafe for instance. You would not want to leave your Facebook or Twitter account logged in at the cyber cafe because a stranger might steal your identity. In such a scenario, it is better to use the incognito mode which will save you the hustle of erasing all the history from the computer.
In some cases, some computers or software might not effectively clear all the data as required. So, is Google Chrome incognito really private? Not really, because if you use it at work or at school, the internet service provider and your employer have access to your browsing history. It is one of the few disadvantages of incognito mode where it is not possible to be anonymous or hide your identity (IP address) while surfing the internet.
Safari private browsing vs Chrome incognito
To better understand private browsing, we need to look at the two most commonly used browsers; Chrome and Safari.
The Safari browser is developed by Apple, while the Chrome browser is developed by Google. Chrome can run on multiple platforms such as MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows. Safari is only exclusive to MacOS and iOS devices. It is considered the pioneer of private browsing having been developed in 2005 for the Macintosh while incognito mode was made available to Chrome users in 2008. Not only did the earlier Safari 6.0 version had the ‘private browsing’ feature, but it also had the ‘Ask Websites not to track me’ setting.
The downside of Chrome incognito
One advantage of Safari private browsing vs Chrome incognito is that it supports private browsing on a single tab, alongside other normal tabs. That’s a disadvantage of the incognito mode – you are required to open a separate window when browsing. It is not possible to open a Google Chrome incognito private tab alongside a normal one. Both features are separate unlike in iOS devices where you can run both in different tabs albeit on the same window. So what is Google Chrome incognito used for?
Advantages of the Google Chrome incognito private setting:
- Making pure searches which are not influenced by previous browsing history.
- Preventing accidental saving of login credentials.
- Signing of multiple accounts simultaneously via multiple tabs.
- Minimizing the role of the autofill feature in sites that are occasionally accessed eg. Facebook.