Shopping online or surfing the internet while at work? Incognito mode is what you need!

By Shan Balasuriya Posted Date: 2014-08-29

Shopping online or surfing the internet at work? Incognito mode is what you need!

Web browsers today are loaded with a ton of useful features and extensions, one of these is the Incognito mode. The incognito mode in your browser is the perfect way to leave a smaller footprint while browsing the internet at work. When you use a normal browser window it stores a lot of data about your browsing habits and what you do. This can range from the pages you visit, what you download, photos you upload, temporary files, the amount of time spent on a page, and even in some cases personal information. By using incognito browsing you don't have to be worried about your personal information or log-in details being compromised, nor do you have to worry about erasing your history because none of this data was stored in the first place. This means no stored data in cache or no stored cookies. The incognito mode allows you to browse the web without storing data locally on the machine so it can't be retrieved later.

Incognito browsing or private browsing is not just another way to procrastinate at work without getting caught, there are plenty of other uses as well - some of which are outlined below:

Note: To open your browser in incognito mode you can simply hold Ctrl + Shift + N or click on the browser menu and select the option from there.

  • When you want to get different search results: The Google search algorithm makes use of your browsing data including search history, your interests, friends and networks (like facebook) and other information when they recommend web pages to you for a search query you made. To avoid getting a tailor made set of search results and instead see what a general (un-filtered) search would result in make use of the incognito mode.
  • When using somebody else's computer: There are situations where you have to log into accounts (email, social media or even bank accounts) or cases where you have to fill forms out on someone else's computer. Whether it's at University on a public PC or on a friend's computer, you don't want your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and even auto-fill form fields like addresses and phone numbers being stored. Incognito browsing prevents that and you don't have to be worried about accidently leaving your facebook logged-in because when you close the browser your data vanishes.
  • Get the better of some paywalls: Some websites allow you to view a limited amount of content and have the rest behind a paywall that asks you to subscribe or pay to view the rest. For instance a news site limits you to only 5 articles before you have to pay to continue using the site, in these cases the number of articles you've viewed are stored as cookies on your browser. A simple work-around is to use incognito browsing so no cookies are saved, this way each time you visit such a paywall site you will be treated as a new visitor and so will have your limit refreshed.
  • Testing websites to find bugs: As a web designer or web developer when you need to test a website or web based app that has functionality which makes use of cookies or session data, incognito browsing is ideal. You can even test multiple user levels/types (or user accounts) simultaneously by logging in to them on different incognito windows.  
  • Checking suspicious links: With incognito browsing, you don't have to be concerned about risking your personal info when clicking on those links sent to you by email or shared with you on social media. This mode allows you to open links without being too worried about compromising personal information that can come back to haunt you later on.