I'm not sure which browser implemented the so called private browsing mode first, but what is clear is that all major browser developers must have thought that it is a good idea as it is now a feature in all of them. The implementation on the other hand differs a lot. You can for instance spawn multiple incognito windows in the Chrome browser without affecting other open windows and tabs in the browser, while Firefox users on the other hand were not that lucky up until now. When you start the private browsing mode in the browser, all other windows and tabs get closed, which means that you start with a single blank window and nothing else.
And since we like all browsers here: Opera users can comfortably open private tabs in the active browsing window, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer uses the same methodology as Google's Chrome browser.
When you open the private browsing mode in Firefox, for instance with a click on the Firefox button and the selection of Private Browsing Mode from the menu (or by using the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-P), you will notice that all existing windows of the browser get closed, and a new blank window gets opened that is informing you about the mode you have just entered.
All private browsing modes have in common that the browser does not record the browsing history for the tabs or windows that you open in private browsing mode. Websites you open do not get added to the browsing history, the web form history, temporary internet files or cookies do not get stored permanently as well.
And while it is not a 100% anonymous mode, as Internet servers and your ISP may still track what you are doing on the Internet, it is an effective solution to avoid this from happening on the local computer. It can be helpful if you are at a friend's house and want to use the computer to check your email account, or if you want to do the same on a public PC.
Mozilla's implementation so far has been far from optimal, and ever since the feature had been introduced in the browser, a request was made to switch from the all or nothing approach to a per-window approach instead that browser's such as Chrome or Internet Explorer are already offering.
Why a per-window private browsing mode and not a tab-based private browsing mode like that of the Opera browser? Mozilla believes that it is too difficult (for users) to keep an overview of private browsing tabs and regular tabs. Up until now, code prevented Mozilla from implementing a per-window private browsing mode. If you look at the Bugzilla listing linked above, you will notice many dependencies and blockers that prevent the feature from being implemented.
Josh Matthews, who is the lead currently working on resolving the dependencies seems to be making good progress, and while there is no fixed date yet for the implementation of per-window private browsing in Firefox, it is certain that it is coming sooner than later.
Which private browsing mode do you favor and why? Or are you someone who does not use the feature at all? (via Techdows)
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