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".
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.
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.
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