Google Claims It Does Not Track Users Using Incognito Mode

Google had to deal with some harsh claims. DuckDuckGo is a search engine focused on privacy, and one of Google’s rivals. A study made public by DuckDuckGo claimed that Google is tracking users even when the incognito mode is on.

These editorialized results are informed by the personal information Google has on you (like your search, browsing, and purchase history), and puts you in a bubble based on what Google’s algorithms think you’re most likely to click on.

We saw that when randomly comparing people’s private modes to each other, there was more than double the variation than when comparing someone’s private mode to their normal mode. We often hear of confusion that private browsing mode enables anonymity on the web, but this finding demonstrates that Google tailors search results regardless of browsing mode.

According to the study, logging out of Goole or browsing privately offers very little protection. DuckDuckGo also observed that political searches influence the results as well. For example, a Wall Street Journal article claimed that Google “often customizes the results of people who have recently searched for ‘Obama’ — but not those who have recently searched for ‘Romney.’”

The response

Google did offer a response to the claims made by the article. The company claims that the “study’s methodology and conclusions are flawed”. It also argues that rationalization is not the cause for the differences in search results. Google also explained that the study did not take into account other factors. These include the location or the time of the search.

Google has been accused in the past that it continues to track users who use the Incognito mode. This happened after the Chrome 69 browser was updated. Back then researchers observed that use of cookies could allow Google to track your Internet activity. Google denied these claims.

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