Google Chrome’s Incognito mode is designed so that you can browse the web freely without sites tracking your information, providing a clean slate. According to a new study, however, Google themselves reportedly have continued to provide personalized results regardless of how you browse the internet.
DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, released a study detailing how Google influences people based on what they click. The study notes that Google’s filter bubble, which personalizes results for different Google accounts, still existed for people even when they logged out of their account. People who entered the same search results didn’t see much difference whether they were logged into their account, logged out of their account, or entered the private browsing mode.
The study also showed that the News and Video infoboxes found on the site saw significant variation between people even when they weren’t logged into their account.
Google dismissed the study, saying that their results were inaccurate:
“This study’s methodology and conclusions are flawed since they are based on the assumption that any difference in the search results are based on personalization,” Google said in a statement. “That is simply not true. In fact, there are a number of factors that can lead to slight differences, including time and location, which this study doesn’t appear to have controlled for effectively.”
Google has since posted a tweet thread detailing why different people may be getting different results even if they use the same search term, citing localization and language differences. They stressed that if someone doesn’t want personalization with account-based activity, they can disable it with the Web & App Activity setting within their account.
Many internet-based companies have been under fire this year for failing to provide privacy to consumers. Just today, British lawmakers released hundreds of internal emails that show how Facebook sacrificed user’s privacy for growth.