April 16, 2024 at 9:28 am

Google Says It’s Finally Deleting All Of Its Incognito Browser Searches

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Listen, I doubt there is one human being among us who doesn’t wish there was a way to make our browser history completely go away… for various reasons.

Now, Google says what you’ve searched for incognito is officially gone for good.

Sure, it’s in response to a lawsuit, but it’s still happening.

There was a class action suit against Google filed in 2020 and settled in December of 2023. The settlement requires the company to delete Incognito data and also to upset its disclosure about the data it collects.

Source: Shutterstock

They will also allow users to opt out of the cookies that record your search terms.

Google claimed the Incognito browser data was never associated with individual users, but those users claimed the marketing made them believe the mode allowed no tracking at all.

But internal communications between Google employees seems to indicate that they always knew the marketing was misleading.

“We need to stop calling it Incognito and stop using a Spy Guy icon,’ says one employee.

“Regardless of the name,” said another, “the Incognito icon should have always been [Guy Incognito]…which also accurately conveys the level of privacy it provides.”

Even C-Suite at Alphabet, Google’s parent company, wasn’t oblivious.

An email from Google’s chief marketing officer, Lorraine Twohill, sent to Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai seems to confirm this fact.

“We are limited in how strongly we can market Incognito because it’s not truly private, thus requiring really fuzzy, hedging language that is almost more damaging.”

Source: Shutterstock

The initial suit proposed payouts of up to $5k for users who had their data wrongly collected, but the latest settlement doesn’t provide any monetary payouts to individual plaintiffs.

Individuals can, however, sue for their damages and I’m sure that some will.

The rest of us, though, can rest easy that our Incognito searches are just that.

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.