An extra line has been added stating “This won’t change how data is collected by websites you visit and the services they use, including Google.” The refreshed wording was initially discovered by tech news site MSPowerUser on the latest Chrome Canary update for desktop and mobile. We installed the browser onto our devices to double-check and we can confirm the line is indeed there.
The bullet points below the disclaimer are mostly the same. One of the headers does have a few extra words with it now stating “Chrome won’t save the following information” followed by the list instead of simply “Chrome won’t save”.
Although it’s unconfirmed, the language update is likely to be the result of a recent lawsuit settlement. Back in 2020, Google was hit with a $5 billion class action lawsuit accusing the tech giant of collecting user data from “web browsers operating in private mode.” The company argued that every time someone opened an incognito tab, Chrome clearly informed people it or other websites may collect information on users.
However, the judge presiding over the case didn’t buy the argument stating “Google never explicitly told users that it does so”. The two parties involved eventually agreed to a settlement on December 28, 2023 for an undisclosed amount.
It’s unknown when the wording will make its way from over from Canary to the stable version of the browser.
If you’re not familiar with it, Canary is an experimental version of Chrome primarily meant for developers looking to try out upcoming features before they launch. It’s not meant for the average person as it is unstable and capable of crashing at random times.
Canary features can take a long time to launch, but given that it’s only a few lines of text, we could see the Incognito Mode refresh come out fairly soon. According to an Ars Technica report from late December, the settlement will need to be “presented to the court by the end of January”. That court will have to approve the deal by the end of February.
So we could see the new wording sometime in March at the earliest. We reached out to Google for more details. This story will be updated at a later time.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t change the company’s behavior. It will still collect data on you. The only difference now is that Google is telling people it’s collecting data. To maintain online privacy, be sure to check out TechRadar’s massive list of the best privacy tools for 2024.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.