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4/19/16
Original Poster
JoyHawkins

Does Incognito Mode Remove Personalized Search Results?

I've seen several occasions where my search results change when I'm in Incognito mode and I added &pws=0 to the end of the URL string for a Google Search.  I wanted to confirm if Incognito Mode actually is supposed to get rid of personalized search results automatically or if you have to take an additional step?  

I saw this article that stated "the incognito mode does not actually depersonalize searches." but wanted to clarify further if that's true or not because I found other articles that say the exact opposite. 
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sarjoor
4/19/16
sarjoor
Hi Joy,

I'm pretty sure that article is correct that "Incognito Mode does not actually depersonalize searches".

When using Incognito Mode, you’re most definitely not anonymous; you are exactly as identifiable, trackable, followable, and recordable as a Normal Chrome window.  All browser info, system, plugins, IP connection, location details, etc. are provided exactly the same in Incognito, and the websites and webservices you go to are provided all the same info as a Normal window.  Incognito effectively provides a very quick way to start an empty session; but if you keep using Incognito without ever closing the last Incognito window, you are just as identifiable and trackable as using a Normal window, and you gain nothing by using Incognito.

(If you want true web anonymity, you need to use proxy servers or proxy services.)


The purpose of Incognito Mode is simply after closing the last Incognito window, no permanent history/session info is saved on the local/your computer, so that other people physically using the local/your computer cannot see the previous Incognito sessions.  That’s it; that’s the entire definition of Incognito mode.


But as mentioned, starting Incognito has no saved logins, and no saved cookies nor tracking data.  When doing a Google search with few tracking cookies, the search results may seem more general with fewer tracking cookies to reference.  But that difference is the result of no/fewer tracking cookies, not of Incognito mode itself.  As mentioned, the more work, searches, etc. you do in Incognito mode, the more data, location, and tracking info you are creating for that Incognito session.


4/19/16
Original Poster
JoyHawkins
Thank you so much for the detailed reply. So adding &pws=0 seems to be the easiest way to get rid of personalized results. I'll stick to that unless you have an easier suggestion :)
sarjoor
4/19/16
sarjoor
Hi Joy,

I agree that using that URL parameter in the Google search will be the easiest way.

Again, regardless of browser mode, when accessing Google search all your login status and/or username, system info, language(s), and IP address (which determines location) are always sent to Google search.  Whether or not the search results depend on an URL parameter, or are more or less depersonalized, is entirely in Google Search's control of how they program the search to work and how to show the results.

 
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