Google Chrome has reportedly updated the message users see when utilizing “incognito mode” following the settlement of a $5 billion tracking lawsuit. The revised text, seen on Chrome’s “Canary” build version 122.0.6251.0, clarifies that while others using the same device won’t see the user’s activity, it won’t change how data is collected by the websites they visit, including Google.
The previous message, still used in current stable versions of Chrome, stated that users could “browse privately,” and their activity wouldn’t be visible to others using the device. It also mentioned that downloads, bookmarks, and reading list items would be saved, and users had the option to block third-party cookies.
The class-action lawsuit, settled on December 28, alleged that Google used private browsers to track internet use. Although the verbiage update is visible on the Canary build, considered an early-release, experimental version for advanced testing, it may indicate a forthcoming change in how Chrome communicates the privacy aspects of its incognito mode.
A federal judge still needs to approve the settlement on February 24. Google has stated, “We’re pleased to resolve this case, which we’ve long disputed, and will provide even more information to users about Incognito Mode.” They emphasized that Incognito Mode in Chrome will continue to give people the choice to browse the internet without their activity being saved to their browser or device. However, Google has not yet responded to inquiries regarding the specific changes made to the incognito mode disclaimer.