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Google engineers joked that Incognito mode isn’t very incognito

Google engineers joked that Incognito mode isn't very incognito
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“We need to stop calling it incognito and stop using a Spy Guy icon.”

And spy

Google is at the center of a disgusting lawsuit, filed in May, which alleges the Silicon Valley giant misled the public about how much data it collects from users, even when they’re in its Chrome browser’s private “incognito” browsing mode. And while these allegations are worrying, one of the more startling details to emerge from the lawsuit is the potentially compromising jokes made by Google employees on the matter.

But what was also revealed in court was a very serious email sent to CEO Sundar Pichai by Google chief marketing officer Lorraine Twohill.

“Make incognito mode really private,” Twohill wrote in the email last year quoted by Bloomberg. “We’re limited in how we can market Incognito because it’s not truly private and so requires really fuzzy, protective language that’s almost more damaging.”

jokes don’t lie

The email was revealed along with many other communications in court documents related to the pending trial. Many of them show that Google’s engineers found the company’s outward stance on incognito mode suspicious and misleading.

Sharing a study that showed users misunderstood the limited privacy of incognito mode, a Chrome engineer wrote to colleagues in a 2018 group chat that “we need to stop calling it incognito and not a Spy Guy icon.” more to use,” referring to the goofy incognito mode icon, which depicts the silhouette of a cartoon spy wearing sunglasses and a fedora.

Another engineer responded by linking to a wiki page that brought up a character on The Simpsons guy incognitowho looks just like Homer Simpson – if he were badly disguised.

“Regardless of the name,” the employee continues, “the incognito icon should have always been there [Guy Incognito]…which also accurately reflects the level of privacy it offers.”

Been made

All in all, yikes. That’s a pretty damning — and funny — glimpse of how much belief Google’s own employees had in browsing mode privacy, that’s not saying much.

Google argues in its defense that it makes it clear to users that incognito mode is not completely private and that its users have already consented to their data being tracked by the company. No date has been set for the study, but it could potentially reveal what kind of data Google collects from Incognito. It will be fascinating to watch as it unfolds.

Continue reading: Google’s “incognito” mode inspires employee jokes – and a major lawsuit

More he: Google won’t release new video-generating AI because of minor gore, porn, and racism issues

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