Chrome 76 blocks sites from detecting Incognito Mode - gHacks Tech News

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Chrome 76 blocks sites from detecting Incognito Mode

Google Chrome 76, the next stable version of Google's web browser, will block sites from detecting whether Incognito Mode is enabled in the browser.

All it took for websites up until now was to use a bit of code, like this one here, to determine if Incognito Mode was enabled in Google Chrome. The same detection worked in several other browsers including Opera and Safari.

Sites are using the information to block users from accessing content. When you open any article page on the Boston Globe website you are greeted with a "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode. To continue reading articles in this mode, please log in to your Globe account".

chrome incognito mode private browsing detection

In other words: the site prevented Incognito Mode users from reading articles at all unless they would have an account and sign in to it.

Incognito Mode or Private Browsing Mode is a popular option to read articles on newspaper websites, especially those with free article read limits. Data such as cookies is not stored locally in the mode so that sites cannot use cookies to keep track of the read articles.

There are other methods to bypass paywalls, for example by masquerading as Google Bot, changing the referrer, or using browser extensions (which come and go quickly usually).

Starting with Chrome 76, out soon, sites cannot detect whether the browser is in normal mode or Incognito Mode. While that does not guarantee that sites won't put other obstacles in the way of users who visit them using Incognito Mode, it at least deals with the easy detection of the private browsing mode.

Sites may still request users to sign-in regardless of the mode they are in but they cannot single-out users who use Incognito Mode anymore.

Chrome 76 Stable is expected on July 30, 2019. The new browser will introduce other changes, including one that makes Flash use even more annoying in the browser.

Now You: What is your take on the change?

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Chrome 76 blocks sites from detecting Incognito Mode
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Chrome 76 blocks sites from detecting Incognito Mode
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Google Chrome 76, the next stable version of Google's web browser, will block sites from detecting whether Incognito Mode is enabled in the browser.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. ipnonymous said on June 14, 2019 at 9:34 pm
    Reply

    Sweet. Will this feature be in the chromium browser too?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 14, 2019 at 9:59 pm
      Reply

      Yes it appears that way.

  2. John Fenderson said on June 14, 2019 at 10:03 pm
    Reply

    This is a great change. I don’t have that many opportunities to say this, so good job, Google!

    1. ilev said on June 15, 2019 at 7:20 pm
      Reply

      I don’t need Google for that. I use Chrome’s extension ‘bypass-paywalls-chrome’ (for Firefox too)

      1. hg said on June 16, 2019 at 5:48 am
        Reply

        You don’t get it. There is a difference having something like that native and having it through addons. Native will make all these sites to comply. An exotic addon installed by few people won’t. Soon because of this being native you won’t need an extension to bypass anything. God job Google.

  3. cfbcfb said on June 15, 2019 at 2:18 am
    Reply

    Isn’t there a privacy issue with web sites doing something to determine MY software and settings, or detecting when I’m moving the mouse towards the ‘close tab’ button to give me a “before you go!” pop up?

  4. Anonymous said on June 15, 2019 at 6:15 am
    Reply

    Is there a Firefox equivalent that will stop sites from detecting private browsing too?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 15, 2019 at 6:30 am
      Reply

      I don’t even know if Firefox reveals the info to sites. A quick check using Firefox’s private browsing mode on the Boston Globe site displayed it fine without the “you are using” message.

      1. Anonymous said on June 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm
        Reply

        Try viewing the New York Times site. If you go to any article there, it will say “You’re in private mode” and then require a login to continue. It never used to do that before.

  5. chesscanoe said on June 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    Chrome Version 76.0.3809.25 (Official Build) beta (64-bit) works well in Incognito mode, and I have chosen the option to never allow Flash at all, as nothing I care about uses Flash anymore. Three cheers for Google.

  6. ULBoom said on June 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm
    Reply

    I’ve seen a similar block on Washington Post claiming I’m in private mode but I’m not. FF ESR 60. My woolyss chromium v.67 shows the same block, not in private mode either.

    Both browsers have many privacy settings turned on; third party cookies are enabled.

    Wonder what that site is detecting as private? Hmmm…

  7. lux said on June 17, 2019 at 5:22 am
    Reply

    intelligent improvements are welcome.

  8. Derek said on July 22, 2019 at 5:11 am
    Reply

    How is Incognito detection still working on https://www.deviceinfo.me ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 22, 2019 at 6:07 am
      Reply

      Someone found a workaround, I read about it this weekend but cannot find the article anymore.

  9. anonymous said on July 31, 2019 at 5:07 pm
    Reply

    Version 76.0.3809.87 (Official Build) (64-bit) still able to detect private mode from Washington Post.

  10. Disappointed said on August 14, 2019 at 3:36 pm
    Reply

    Clearly, this feature was not implemented after all. Incognito mode is still being detected on all paywall sites.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm
      Reply

      It was implemented but there are workarounds to still detect the mode.

  11. PK said on August 22, 2019 at 5:16 pm
    Reply

    The anti-blocking worked for a couple of weeks. No more. Getting the “private mode detected” message again.

  12. Bart Samson said on September 19, 2019 at 5:02 am
    Reply

    This isn’t true. I’m on Version 77.0.3865.75 and nytimes.com is detecting incognito mode and blocking their article.

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