Google has announced it is rolling out an update to the Google Maps iOS app that adds an incognito mode. Famously part of the company’s Chrome browser, the mode has integrated into the Android version of the app since November.
In a blog post, Google outlined the main features of incognito mode for Maps, stating:
“Incognito mode on iOS works the same way it does on Android. While in Incognito mode, the places you search for or navigate to won’t be saved to your Google Account and you won’t see personalized features within Maps, like restaurant recommendations based on dining spots you’ve been to previously. Using Incognito mode on your phone will not update your Location History, so the places you go won’t be saved to your Timeline.”
It’s a way to see a clean version of Maps without all Google’s add-ons, plus a way to keep journeys out of your timeline.
There’s room for scepticism here – the classic example of a reason to use incognito mode on Chrome is to shop for gifts without people knowing. This would only prove a problem if on a shared device.
Incognito mode doesn’t save search history to your Google account but, just like the mode for Chrome, it does not hide your search history from your internet service provider, so everything you do is still technically traceable.
Google also announced the new ability to bulk delete Timeline data from your Google account by date. Timeline is a granular tracking of where you’ve been with your phone, even if you didn’t get thee using Maps. It’s a little creepy as well as being quite useful to retrace steps. Whether or not you want it on is a personal choice.
You should read up on Google’s Location History policy page if you want to better understand what the company does with your data.