Google promises to end loophole allowing websites to see when you're browsing in incognito mode — but here's why you still won't be anonymous

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It’s no secret the incognito feature on many popular web browsing apps like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are not so good at cloaking but Google has announced it’s about to change. A little bit.

With Google Chrome 76 being released on 30 July, Google’s promising the mode will live up a little closer to its name by closing a major loophole, which allows websites to see when someone is viewing their pages in incognito mode.

What is Google changing?

Google explained in a post the exploit came about due to their FileSystem’s API being disabled.

“Chrome’s FileSystem API is disabled in Incognito Mode to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone’s device. Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different experience,” the post said.

“The behaviour of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection. Chrome will likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection.”

Read more: Incognito Mode is not as private as you think (from Lifehacker Australia)

Google also noted how this might affect news publishing sites who restrict internet users to a selected amount of web pages each day.

“Sites that wish to deter metre circumvention have options such as reducing the number of free articles someone can view before logging in, requiring free registration to view any content, or hardening their paywalls,” the post said.

So how do I browse privately?

The short answer is not through Google Chrome incognito.

While this update will stop websites knowing you’re there and who you are, it won’t hide your website browsing from ISPs or your bosses. For that, you’ll need more rigorous measures like a VPN or Tor Browser.

The Chrome 76 update will be available from 30 July, so don’t forget to update once it’s out.

This article was first published by Lifehacker Australia. Read the original here.

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