In Part 1 of this blog post, we successfully busted our first five incognito browsing mode myths. We also went through some alternatives that can help us protect ourselves better and achieve the privacy incognito doesn’t really provide.
Today, we’ll be going out there once again to hunt down our remaining 5 myths, which I believe are even more common and some of which can cause significant damage to users’ privacy and security if mistakenly treated as absolute facts.
So let’s grab our crossbows and arrows and get back there, shall we?
6. Ads won’t be able to track you in incognito mode.
Fact: During an incognito session, cookies are saved in a temporary folder, then they get purged after the session ends. However, when browsing Facebook and Google in the same session, they both share the same cookies folder which helps send tailored ads to users. This of course means that incognito does nothing to shield you from those Ads.
- Alternative: You can try using an ad-blocker or an adware removal tool. To learn more about how ad blocking works, checkout this useful article by HubSpot here.
7.Incognito prevents Google from knowing your searches.
Fact: You guessed it, not true. We’ve already established that Google can track and record all search queries linked with your IP address (even when you’re surfing in incognito mode). While Google has denied that it tracks users in incognito mode, that does not mean that it can’t.
8. Social Security Numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and personal information are safe in incognito mode.
Fact: Since incognito doesn’t prevent websites from tracking you, it also doesn’t protect you from people who want to steal the data you send and receive on the web. Hence, using incognito mode for online banking, shopping, etc. is actually no safer than using standard mode.
👉Pro Tip: Sensitive data like banking information, SSNs and passwords should always be protected and safely guarded. I mean you wouldn’t walk out on a busy street with your wallet pointing out of your pocket. That’s why you should always have a solid security system in place to protect such information from cyber thieves.
💡Alternative for businesses: GAT is the best tool to protect sensitive information from being stolen or leaked in Chrome and Google Workspace environments in organizations.
- GAT+ notifies Google Workspace admins in real time when a specific SSN or password exists in Drive, Email, Chats, etc…
- GAT Shield allows you to create an alert every time someone in the organization types things like credit card information, SSNs or sensitive passwords. These GAT Shield real-time alerts take milliseconds to be triggered and reported, which helps you stay on top of security threats that target your information.
9. Bookmarks saved in private mode would not show up under standard mode.
Reality: Take it as a rule; any changes made to your bookmarks and general settings in incognito mode will also be saved in standard mode.
10. Signing in from incognito will make it look like I am offline in Gmail.
Reality: That’s absolutely not true. In fact, you can’t use Gmail offline in incognito mode.
Alternative: You can simply enable Gmail Offline without using incognito mode. Remember, you can only use Gmail offline in a standard Chrome browser window, not using Incognito mode.
Learn how to enable Gmail offline here.
The real danger in believing those myths is that relying on incognito mode alone for data protection and sensitive privacy reasons is extremely risky. Unless you have a clear understanding of what incognito really does for you, you can easily fall victim of cybertheft, phishing, malware and other malicious attacks or unwanted troubles.
So if that’s the case, what are the best uses for Chrome’s incognito then❓
Incognito is still a pretty useful feature, it’s just not a full-fledged privacy protector.
Here are a few cases where we find incognito to be very useful 👇:
- Shared devices: If you’re sharing or using someone else’s computer and don’t want to deal with logging out of their email or social media accounts.
- Isolated browsing: If you want to access two accounts at the same time using the same service. For example, if you have two Facebook accounts that you need to use at once. This is called “isolated browsing.”
- Keeping your surprise a surprise: If you want to plan a surprise for someone who has access to your device and want to make sure they don’t find out.
Pro Tip: Booking Airline Tickets soon? Nail the best deal using incognito. Always search for flight offers in incognito mode. It’s an excellent way to find the cheapest fare before actually booking your ticket.
Well, that’s it! We’ve successfully busted the 10 most common and dangerous incognito myths out there. Remember to stay safe online and assess your needs before choosing to go incognito.