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Google to disable Sites from detecting you’re using Incognito Mode

by Felix Omondi
chrome incognito mode

When browsing on Chrome under the Incognito Mode, websites should not be able to read your cookies in order to ‘serve you with better-curated content designed to meet your interests.’

Ideally, that is how it should work, but in reality, sites have long found workarounds to establish if you are using Incognito Mode or not. Google has now decided it is time to do something about that; make Incognito Mode Great Again (IMGA).

As things work out currently, Chrome places sandboxes on each open tab, and when you use it in Incognito Mode, there should be an extra layer of security on your data. All cookies and any other locally-stored data on your browsing history should end immediately you end a session. That also includes your browsing history, but like we said, we need IMGA since sites have long found a workaround.

The Google Incognito Mode Fix

In 2010, Google introduced the FileSystem API, which allows websites to create their own virtual file systems for reading and writing local data. This feature never quite took off as most mainstream browsers did not warm up to it.

To this date, it is only Chrome and Opera that have consistently supported FileSystem API. When a user is using the Chrome (or Opera for that matter) to browse in Incognito Mode, sites are restricted from accessing FileSystem API.

However, this is a double-edged sword, since while the sites will not be able to access the FileSystem API. The sites will be able to establish rather quickly that a particular visitor is browsing in Incognito Mode.

Google is Modifying the FileSystem API

To fix this problem, Google has finally resolved to modify how the API works under Incognito Mode. The new API will be storing files in the RAM.

Since there’s no adoption of the FileSystem API by other browser vendors, it appears to be only used by sites to detect incognito mode. By making this harder, hopefully, the overall usage of the API goes down to the point that we can deprecate and remove it.” – reads in part the design document Google has released to news outlets.

In a nutshell, if a site has all along been able to tell when you are visiting with your browser set in Incognito Mode and when it is not. With the Google fix, this issue should be a thing of the past.

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