MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – While I can read at a level higher than some second graders and most college athletes, there are some circumstances in which a guy just shouldn’t be expected to read. You know, like when you’re agreeing to end-user license agreements on software or signing an employment contract or taking a college literature course – or firing up Chrome in its so-called “Incognito Mode.”
That last one is pissing me off today, because I think if you call something incognito mode, your customers have a right to think they’re getting away with shit, especially shit like watching porn on the internet.
This isn’t how Google sees things, though. To hear them tell it, they didn’t mean to imply anything relating to privacy or hiding one’s identity or any of the other stuff spy movies have led me to believe are involved with being “incognito.”
A guy from Google named Darin Fisher told Thrillist the company “agonized” over what to call Incognito Mode, and wanted to avoid using the word “privacy” because they didn’t want to overstate the capabilities of the mode.
“When you launch the Incognito tab, there’s this disclaimer there where we really try to help make it really clear to people that your activity is certainly still visible to the websites you visit and could be visible to your employer, to your school and to your ISP, of course,” Fisher said.
Oh sure, now you tell me.
I’ll admit, when I open Chrome in Incognito Mode, it does have a disclaimer that lists a bunch of shit “incognito” doesn’t mean in Google’s lexicon – including “downloads and bookmarks will be saved.” But above that disclaimer, in a significantly larger font, it also says “You’ve gone incognito.”
Here’s the thing, Google: The word “incognito” means something. While I’m not sure what it means, precisely, because in addition to being too lazy to read disclaimers, I’m also too lazy to use your primary product, I’m pretty sure it means being in disguise or otherwise concealing my identity.
Personally, I believe if my identity is concealed, this should mean my ISP, my school and my employer shouldn’t know I’m watching porn – or at the very least, they should be under the impression someone else is using my computer to watch porn.
Granted, I’m not in school, I don’t have a job and my ISP doesn’t appear to give a shit whether I’m watching porn, but I’m still outraged about this whole incognito imbroglio.
It’s not just the large text declaring I’ve gone incognito that gave me a false sense of security and privacy, either. There’s also the matter of the little invisible dude with the hat and sunglasses. I took this logo to mean I was being transformed with respect to cyberspace, instantly rendered a sneaky cyber-spy, free to watch porn without fear of being tracked, traced or bothered by the head librarian.
So, if it wasn’t made for watching porn undetected, what is Incognito Mode for?
According to the article, “(A)s Fisher describes it, the scenario Google envisioned involves a boyfriend searching for engagement rings who doesn’t want his soon-to-be-fiancée – with whom he shares a computer – to get any hint that he’s about to propose.”
You mean to tell me Incognito Mode was designed to keep women from finding out they’re about to be proposed to by some guy who can’t even afford his own computer or smartphone? With all due respect, Google, that’s even worse than preventing women from finding out what kind of sick, perverted, possibly senatorial porn their potential husbands are watching.
To be fair, Incognito Mode allegedly serves another purpose, as well: enabling travelers to get better deals on their flights. “(S)ome old-hat flight deal searchers claim they’ve found cheaper fares while doing repeat flight searches in IM, so as to prevent airlines from keeping tabs on their activity and freezing or jacking the price,” Thrillist reported.
OK, so I can shop for a wedding ring and plan my what-if-she-says-no getaway at the same time? That’s pretty cool, I guess – but I’ll bet it still leaves me with no solution in terms of preventing my (admittedly fictional) boss from finding out I’ve been using work time to shop for wedding rings and flights, right?
So what is a guy to do if he wants to shop for rings, flights and porn, all from the same workplace terminal?
“The truth is, the only way to be truly invisible online these days is to use a browser like Tor on the Dark Web,” Thrillist noted.
OK, got it. That sounds easy enough.
Wait a minute, though. Do they even have Expedia and Jared on the Dark Web?
Image © Brad Martyna