Chrome’s Incognito Mode has not been working as well as promised lately; some websites now check for private browsing and insist users to first sign in before reading any article.
For Google, this is a flaw, though, and it intends to set things right. The July 30th release of Chrome 76 will be used by the company for closing a loophole where sites could check for Chrome’s FileSystem framework (disabled in Incognito Mode) and use its absence to detect a private session. Google will also modify any other methods of detecting Incognito going forward.
The internet giant also says it’s a matter of respecting the very purpose of Incognito mode: maintaining privacy. While users do use private browsing to dodge site paywalls, many may have far more serious reasons for staying anonymous. They may be trying to overlook an abusive partner or political oppression, for instance. Google recommended that publishers avoid knee-jerk reactions to the Chrome change and instead consider either more generous free view allowances or requiring a free registration for all content, not just under certain articles or conditions.
“Chrome will likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection,” wrote the company.
One effect of the modification is that sites using metered paywalls—as in, those that let people read a certain number of articles before requiring they subscribe—will no longer be able to identify if the incognito mode is being used to dodge this policy. Google suggests publishers avoid “reactive measures” in response to the change. It instead advises requiring free registration for all content, offering more “generous” free allowances, or hardening their paywalls.
According to a piece of recent news, researchers had found 93 percent of the 22,484 porn sites they analyzed leaked data to third parties. The authors added that using incognito mode did not stop online trackers from recording a user’s porn-viewing habits.
This move could please users concerned that private browsing modes are losing their value.