DuckDuckGo: Incognito mode is useless when working with Google search engine (Topic)

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DuckDuckGo: Incognito mode is useless when working with Google search engine


The developers of the search engine DuckDuckGo claim that Google continues to personalize search results, even if the user is working in incognito mode. They cite two facts to prove their theory.

Using incognito mode when working at Google to get depersonalized search results is pointless. This is the conclusion reached by the DuckDuckGo search engine development team.

According to Google, the incognito mode in the Chrome browser provides a high level of anonymity, in particular, it does not save the search history, does not record the data on the entered queries and viewed pages in the user's Google account. In other words, when working anonymously on the Internet, a person should receive neutral search results that are not ranked based on previous queries. DuckDuckGo employees assure that reality is very far from theory.

Their statement is based on two observations.

First, when a user enters a query in incognito, and then in the usual way from his Google account, the search results should be different. In the latter case, the search engine must provide results based on information known about the user, his preferences, etc. But, according to DuckDuckGo's observations, these differences are very minor, as if they have little to do with the mode of operation.

Google Chrome

Additionally, the DuckDuckGo staff assumed that all users who work in incognito mode should receive the same results for the same query. In fact, it turned out that the search results can in no way be called neutral: they turned out to be directly related to the search history of a person.

This is not the first time Google has received a ranking claim. Since the Google search engine and the Chrome browser are the most popular tools for browsing the Internet, it is logical to assume that the company has the threads in its hands with which it can manage social thinking. The problem was especially acute during the pre-election periods in the United States, when Google was accused of political favoritism. The search giant denied all claims and pointed to various innovations designed to improve user experience and provide more unbiased search results.

For their experiment, DuckDuckGo employees deliberately selected keywords related to politically sensitive topics - immigration and control of firearms. Keyword selection is not commented in any way in the study, but this is a case in which it can be clearly determined whether the search results are being filtered in any way.

Duck Duck go

This is not to say that the DuckDuckGo study unequivocally proves the use of personal data by the Google search engine in incognito mode. The results may be subject to various aspects that the researchers did not consider, such as the relationship between requests, time of day, and person's location. Also, the features of search results can be explained by the natural processes of page ranking.

Whether or not it personalizes Google search in incognito mode is unclear. But the important thing is that the results of anonymous search are not standardized and do not provide an objective, unbiased picture. And this is worrying.

The Topic of Article: DuckDuckGo: Incognito mode is useless when working with Google search engine.
Author: Jake Pinkman