Google Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode (aka porn mode)

by Violet Blue on January 8, 2010


Image by Malecution.

Firefox has long been the ruler of the ‘porn mode’ space when it comes to browsers that make protecting your privacy and history easy — especially with Pornzilla. Safari also has a “porn mode” and so does Internet Explorer if you know where to look. I’m currently primarily a Firefox user — as are many of you — and I don’t know about you, but in the past several months, Firefox has become not just a system pig for resources (massive), but it’s also getting the record for crashes. I’m over it, and ready to switch. Still, I know I’m a power-user when it comes to porn; I constantly hunt for the new, safe, sexy and unusual online. I’m tough on bandwidth and browsers alike. And I do enjoy clicking ‘send report’ to Firfeox when my latest porn find crashes the browser; I hope I make things more interesting for someone’s job, somewhere. Right now, many poeple I know are loving Google’s Chrome for a lot of reasons, so I’m pleased to see that they too have built in a ‘porn mode.’ Not with that intent *of course* but Incognito Mode is a porn mode if ever there was one. I’m eager to dig into Chrome. About Incognito Google tells us,

For times when you want to browse in stealth mode, for example, to plan surprises like gifts or birthdays, Google Chrome offers the incognito browsing mode.

* Webpages that you open and files downloaded while you are incognito aren’t recorded in your browsing and download histories.
* All new cookies are deleted after you close the incognito window.
* Changes made to your Google Chrome bookmarks and general settings while in incognito mode are always saved.

Turn on incognito mode: Windows and Linux instructions

1. Click the Tools tools menu menu.
2. Select New incognito window.
* Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+N

Turn on incognito mode: Mac instructions

* Keyboard shortcut: ⌘-Shift-N

Select File > New Incognito Window on the menu bar. You can also click the Page menu if it’s displayed on the toolbar and select New Incognito Window.

A new window will open with the incognito icon icon in the corner. You can continue browsing as normal in the other window. You can also right-click (or control-click on a Mac) any link and select Open link in incognito window.

Browsing in incognito mode only keeps Google Chrome from storing information about the websites you’ve visited. The websites you visit may still have records of your visit. Any files saved to your computer will still remain on your computer. For example, if you sign into your Google Account on http://www.google.com while in incognito mode, your subsequent web searches are recorded in your Google Web History. In this case, to prevent your searches from being stored in your Google Account, you’ll need to pause your Google Web History tracking.

Personally, I like to plan ‘birthday surprise gifts’ that involve pornography, so Incognito sounds perfect for me and my lifestyle.

I asked Chrome users who are geeky and privacy focused about Incognito Mode on Twitter, and got a lot of responses and helpful tips, showing that Incognito Mode is by no means a complete privacy guard unless you know what you’re doing — but it is a handy stopgap for covering your tracks. It does not, however, keep people from seeing your IP address. Neither do Firefox (sans extensions) or Safari — so this seems to be a general privacy fact you might want to keep in mind. Bottom line: just don’t surf porn at work. Check out people’s replies to me about Incognito after the jump.

From Twitter:

“Chrome’s incognito mode is only good for keeping stuff out of history–does nothing for privacy otherwise”

“it’s no different than Safari’s pr0n mode really.”

“as a browser its ok, but if you want privacy, IMO ff [Firefox] with the right extensions would be best.”

“Displays a giant icon indicating mode. Only affects entire windows, not individual tabs. Still better than FF “private mode”.”

“I love Google Chrome. The incognito mode is nice because I can open a coupla facebooks and gmails at once :)”

“Yes, I use Chrome. I don’t use the Incognito mode because I live alone, but it works well. No history, saved searches, etc.”

“I’ve been using Chrome since it came out, often on the computers of others. Incognito is awesome, doesn’t leave a trace except … unless you try to watch video that downloads to the computer.”

“i use chrome’s incognito, basically just leaves no local traces in your history, passwords, etc – sites still know your IP tho”

And Facebook:

“I use it all the time and love it.”

“Same as Firefox, just doesn’t save history, cache pages or use tracking cookies. if I was browsing porn at work I might use it, but I doubt these private browsing modes really help that much if your IT dept monitors data use.”

“Google Incognito only keeps traces of your activity from being stored on your computer, so if you share a computer with a spouse or use one at work it can cover your tracks. But your IP will still show up on the servers you go to, and any proxy server or router you use a work can still track all your Internet activity. Incognito really does not give you the privacy that using a proxy server will. If you want to avoid your work force, ISP, or the government tracking you Incognito is useless. If you own your own computer it has not benefits at all. If anything its an utterly false sense of security. I was able to track all the links to my own blog using Feedjit, which meant that my IP was still sent to the server and still read by Feedjit and any other software that might be on the blog.”

{ 7 comments }

1 Stefan January 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I think we have a common missunderstanding here, since Chrome has no privacy extensions like Tor Button, Ghostery and NoScript which do a great job protecting your online privacy against Google Analytics and other Trackers and Tracers.

If you want privacy, it is not enough to clear files, cookies, search and other histories, it is a litte bit more complex.

If you don’t worry about all the little metrics taken, you shouldn’t worry about some rauchy search terms or some cookies from explicit sites on your harddisc, anyway you can remove them with firefox, chrome or whatever tool, but the web mectrics taken aren’t so easy to remove.

If you are a guest on a hosts notebook and insist on privacy, the so called privacy or porn mode is a nice idea, but your host could also eavesdrop in the lan or wlan or with surveillance software, so there is no privacy in that scenario.

Maybe you like to explain your need for privacy or secrecy a little bit more, to give qualified assistance.

YT

2 Viviane January 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

My office relocated to a new building, and the network can be inconsistent. Chrome and IE (gasp!) work much better than FF on it. I love the Google Incognito mode but the lack of a master password function is probably the one thing that keeps me from switching off of Firefox.

When I am at the reference desk (a public workstation)., I always use FF Smart Browsing or Chrome Incognito mode. I’m not worried about who sees my IP, I’m worried about what my colleagues who use this same workstation see. I’ve also got a USB with the PortableApps version of both Google Chrome and FF installed and will sometime use that.

3 ttttt January 9, 2010 at 4:28 am

Violet! You should stick to Firefox! It’s better for the internet’s health! It even has the “delete latest history” button, which is great because many times you just don’t intent to go NSFW, and this helps to keep “the dirt” out of your important user profile.

Also, out of first hand I know that the problems that cause FF3.5 to crash were solved in FF3.6beta. The main reason was external software that directly installed into the FF install directory. When the new FF version came out, that software was still there, but didn’t work with 3.5 anymore. This caused the crashes. Now they use whitelists -> problem solved. Another problem is/was Adobe Flash, but we (the internet) is working on it’s replacement right now. (e.g. open video, html5, processing.js ).
And I don’t think FF is bloated. Probably the best thing to do is erase your complete Firefox folder and install it all new. It’ll be as fast as Chrome!!! And remember – FF is made for the internetz and NOT for the moneyzzz.

4 etherealink January 9, 2010 at 3:24 am

if you really want secure browsing, use vmware. it’s been so simplified now that a monkey with a cocaine habit could use it so there’s no reason that the non-geeky should be saddled with guilt and stuck on the sidelines anymore.

First stop on your porn adventure http://www.sandboxie.com – simple to run, right click the tray icon and run the browser then delete everything from it after. Nothing leaves the sandbox, not even spam! One downside though, you have to memorize your bookmarks again (just like any true porn surfing legend!).

For the concept of using Chrome there is a very serious problem with it’s RAM-whorage. Every tab will be called upon like a seperate instance of the program. Just as though you’d opened 12 seperate instances of the application itself, the beginning tab and each subsequent one will be using independant amounts of RAM depending on the site and the active scripting or “fancy, blinky things” that are there. For video sites, even with a 3d-animator’s computer this can be a bit much so avoid multiple tabs if possible.

If you’re going to go the full incognito route and use vmware of any kind (Sandboxie & etc.) Try for a tabbed browser that’s like Firefox but without all the bloat; yes they do exist.
Flock (http://www.flock.com) has a nice version that’s only slightly lacking in the plug-in department; other than a quick flash update it’s like Firefox only less mess. For the fashion conscious, there’s Opera (http://www.opera.com); it’s been a mainstay for those who wanted to seem geeky without sporting a penguin tattoo of their favorite distro. Just a note from a long time user though, ignore the “web accelerator” it’s pretty much useless if you’re not on dial-up.

5 Jordon January 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I’m not techy enough to explain the why’s of the problem, but Chrome–even out of “Porn Mode”–has problems loading certain quicktime clips (mostly those of the cheesy free porn variety that come in sets of four). As for “Porn Mode,” it works fine for keeping things out of your history.

6 flowerotic January 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Hey I got quoted! I’m famous! :P

But more seriously, one of the quotes mentioned the “right firefox extensions”. I just wanted to point your readers at some of these – namely Tor, Privoxy and Vidalia. I believe Tor can be run as a standalone browser. These take a bit to configure but can offer a high degree of anonymity as your traffic is shuffled through a network of proxies. On the downside, this means much slower browsing, which sucks if you’re trying to browse HD quality porn pics and clips. More info here: https://www.torproject.org/overview.html.en

7 Tom Allen January 8, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Although I’m familiar with Pr0n mode in Firebox and Chrome, I want to point out an alternative.

I use Mozilla Seamonkey ( the revamped version of Netscape) for my NSFW browsing. The advantage is that while everybody recognizes IE or Firefox icons, you can assign different icons to SM and nobody will think to open it as a browser.

Additionally, it has a built in email reader, so you can send and receive emails under your alias accounts (c’mon, everybody has a couple of them, right?) and you won’t leave a history trail in the more obvious spots.

And while SM does not have a stealth mode, it can be easily set to delete history and cookies when you shut it down. The new version (2.01) is built on the Firefox engine, and does a good job in handling graphics, Flash, and video.

You might not want to install this on your office PC if you have a snoopy IT department, but it’s an excellent alternative for small offices and home PCs. My kids and friends will often plop themselves into my chair and instead of logging into their own accounts, will just use my browser (usually FF or Chrome). By doing all my X-rated work in SM, I don’t have to worry about an inappropriate site coming up.

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