Google I/O 2019: Google won’t be stalking you anymore with Google Maps' incognito mode

Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, as he delivers the keynote address during Google's annual developers conference, Google I/O 2019YouTube/Google I/O 2019 live stream

  • Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, announced that the 'incognito mode' capability will be coming to Google Maps "soon".
  • In incognito mode, map searches and routes taken won't be linked to a user's profile.
  • It is the latest measure by Google to ensure that users feel like they're in control on their own data.
  • In the past, Google has come under the gun for 'secretly' tracking their users and collecting data despite the restrictions of the 'incognito mode'.
Google Maps is joining the league of Chrome and Google search with its new ‘incognito mode’ capability. Users will now have the option of switching off the app’s tracking capability.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, announced that the feature will be “coming soon” during the Google I/O 2019 keynote.

Incognito mode has been a popular feature in Chrome since it launched, and we are bringing this to Maps.

Incognito mode has been a popular feature in Chrome since it launched, and we are bringing this to Maps.

Sunder Pichai, Google CEO

You’ll still be able to search for locations and map routes, but none of the data will be saved on your phone — nor will it ever show up in your search history.

All you have to do is click on their profile picture on top of the app to pull up the menu screen where they will see a toggle to switch on the incognito mode.


You should be wary though. Even though the data would be linked to your profile, it’s probably still going into the data banks of the website that you visit.

A study by the Vanderbilt University and Digital Content Next was able to determine that Google can still collect personal data from users, even with the incognito mode switched on.

Google discredited the study saying, "This report is commissioned by a professional DC lobbyist group, and written by a witness for Oracle in their ongoing copyright litigation with Google... So, it's no surprise that it contains wildly misleading information."

Google was also hit with a lawsuit for 'secretly' tracking the location of its users in August, 2018. The complainant alleged that Google was still tracking and storing his location even when he had his 'Location History' turned off on the phone.

With the number of times speakers mentioned the importance of privacy during the Google I/O keynote, it seems the company is steadfast is ensuring that you at least feel like you’re in control of your own data.

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