Bernard Hastings | 14 May 2019
After a tumultuous 2018 filled with numerous data leaks, scandals and other issues for the big tech companies, Google has made it clear that their new focus is on ensuring the safety and anonymity of their users.
At this year’s I/O Conference, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai outlined how popular the company’s Incognito features have been within Google’s Chrome browser and that because of this, Google will now bake Incognito Mode into Google Maps.
These changes are excellent news for everyone, especially Australians who are subjected to the Government’s strict data collection laws. These laws require the tracking and monitoring of just about all online activities, which can result in leaks of personal data and more.
As you’re likely aware, the world’s largest technology companies make an income from advertising, however their other earners are collecting and selling user data.
Considering this data collection brings with it a suite of privacy issues, many Australians choose to browse through VPNs. However, Google’s move to include an Incognito Mode in Maps might just reduce the anxieties that come from making sensitive location searches. You’re able to freely use the service without the thought of someone tracking your movements if data leaks, or if someone else has access to your Google account.
We’d argue that in Australia, Incognito Mode for Google Maps provides an essential protective ‘layer’ to your activities online which may be extremely important to you.
If you or your children are searching friends and family home addresses, you deserve to know that these searches are protected. Incognito Mode for Maps does more than just protect these searches from prying eyes; it essentially erases them from ever happening – at least on your device.
You’ll be able to find the Australian Government’s eSafety recommendations when it comes to Incognito Mode on the eSafety.gov.au blog. It outlines that to browse more safely you should enable Incognito Mode or Private Browsing, which Google has now provided for their Maps services.
At the time of writing, Google’s Incognito Mode for Maps is currently listed as ‘Coming Soon’ though we don’t expect the rollout of the feature to happen too far into the future. Several tech bloggers and news sources have suggested Incognito Mode for Google Maps to either become available in June, or at the same time as the final release of Android Q — sometime in Q3 2019.
To enable Incognito Mode when it becomes available, all you’ll need to do is head into Map’s settings on Android, or to your Google profile on a laptop and select ‘turn on Incognito Mode.’ This will activate the feature across all of the Google apps connected to your profile if you so choose, which includes Search.
Google’s CEO also made it clear that once a user does enable the new Incognito Mode feature, they can use all of Map’s typical features without any of the activity being connected or stored on their Google account.
If you’re wondering whether you’ll still need a VPN to keep your online mapping or other activities secure, then the short answer is yes.
To ensure all of your online searches and other activities remain anonymous, you’ll need to have a VPN installed on your smartphone, laptop or tablet. To the surprise of many, Incognito Mode doesn’t actually provide any encryption or significant security benefits, other than the prevention of tracking and the concealment of search history.
We suggest taking a look at our best vpn for Australia article to view our recommendations for Aussies looking for a solid vpn service provider.
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