If you’ve ever used Google’s Incognito mode (you know who you are) then you might be surprised to know that some websites actually know when you’re trying to hide your viewing habits. Don’t worry though, Google is on the case to keep your browsing history private.
Incognito mode has been used by million to access websites more privately than using the standard browser. It automatically prevents your computer from storing your browsing history, cookies and site data, which means that you don’t have to go on a deleting spree every time you browse naughty websites.
It works by disabling certain background features including FileSystem API, which means that you won’t be leaving traces of your browsing activity on your device.
There is a catch though. Websites are able to check whether your FileSystem API is active. Once they realise that it isn’t they’ll receive an error message which basically says you’re in Incognito mode – which means that you really incognito at all. In fact, some websites can provide you with a completely different experience once they’ve found out.
Aside from hiding your sexy searches from your unsuspecting mother, Incognito mode could also be used to dodge paywalls.
There are sites out there that offer a limited number of free content before trying to get viewers to subscribe. Using Incognito mode could just reset the view count. However, now they can see whether you’ve disabled your FileSystem API, they’ve put a stop to it.
Google is set to roll out a solution for this loophole by the end of July. Some websites will be crushed by the news as they already struggle to make money via online journalism.
But the multinational tech company says that change in necessary to protect people under political oppression and those who need to conceal their web activity for reasons like searching for help from an abusive relationship.
Google said: “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”
“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.”
The popular cos-player is now selling her old bathwater. Credit: Instagram/Belle Delphine
Google’s Incognito mode is used by thousands of people around the world. Hopefully that includes the bunch of weirdos who raced to buy Instagram star Bell Delphine’s bathwater for $30 (£24) a pop.