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Google: to Make Chrome’s Incognito Mode More Powerful

Google aims to make it harder for sites to see that you’re using Incognito Mode, closing the loophole that companies use to track how people were browsing their website.

Let’s all be honest here, we’ve been using the Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode for some time now, and frankly, some sites may still know that you’re trying to access them privately. Worry not as Google is planning to make it more difficult to block Incognito browsing!

When using the Incognito Mode, browsing history is not recorded, and websites cannot use cookies to track internet activity. Since many sites utilize tracking cookies to target users with ads, some don’t like users visiting “secretly” and will even block them.

Some examples are The Boston Globe and MIT Technology Review when in the Incognito browser.

The loophole begins with Chrome’s “FileSystem” API. When a browser is in Incognito Mode, this API is disabled. If a website tries to access this API, the browser will throw an error, which prompts the user to “turn off Incognito.”

9to5Google obtained an internal document indicating that Google is looking into total elimination of the said API in the future updates and versions of Google Chrome.

According to the document, since there is no adoption of the API by other browser vendors, it appears to be only used by sites to detect incognito browsing. And hopefully, soon, Google will be able to close the loophole by deprecating and removing it.

For now, this solution is expected to first arrive as an experimental feature in Chrome 74, to be released in April. Optimistically, this feature will be a standard by Chrome 76.