Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Chrome Incognito Tracks Visited Sites

While using Google Chrome's Incognito Mode I've noticed that some information about visited sites is stored.  Certainly it doesn't store cookies or the URL history (as it appears in the URL bar).  However, follow these simple steps to confirm for yourself that some history is preserved:
  1. Start an incognito window
  2. Visit a URL you have never visited before, maybe http://www.elephants.com/
  3. Increase the zoom by pressing the Control key and + at the same time
  4. Close the incognito window
  5. Start a new incognito window
  6. Re-visit your URL (notice that it doesn't appear in the URL history)
As the site loads at step 6 you should now notice that the zoom level you previously chose has been remembered and reapplied.

I'm currently using Chrome 6.0.401.1 dev and reported this issue to Google a month or so ago and no fix has yet appeared.  It does also work with  5.0.396.0 dev.

57 comments:

  1. Didn't work for me using 4.1.249.1064

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  2. just tried this in 5.0.375.38 beta
    and it didn't happen. did you have other incognito windows open as well?
    all incognito windows appear to be in the same session, so unless you closed them all, it probably still had the zoom data in the session information.

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  3. Yep that worked for me too, very odd. May be it's the Elephants, they never forget!

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  4. Just tried this in 4.1.249.1064 (45376) and didn't see it.

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  5. Yup, incognito remembered.

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  6. It works until you close all Chrome.exe instance. After than, it returns to normal.

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  7. Older versions of Chrome actually don't store zoom levels. I'm on 5.0.375.38 beta - I don't remember which version I was on before, but I know it didn't store zoom levels.

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  8. Why do you need privacy when looking at pictures of elephants? Pervert.

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  9. 6.0.407.0 (47392) Ubuntu remembered the zoom even after restarted the browser.

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  10. Also, if you have the same website opened in both incognito and in normal at the same time, they both zoom at the same time if you zoom in one page or the other.

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  11. Elephant never forget. You haven't forgot, so is Chrome. Bugs are common. Don't worry.

    Go get your $1000 check from Google: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/find_a_bug_in_google_chrome_earn_cash.php.

    ----------
    http://baavaa.com

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  12. Yep.
    I'm currently using Ubuntu Linux 10.04 with Google Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta

    Did work here.

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  13. Confirmed in 5.0.375.38 beta - I had no other Chrome windows open, incognito or otherwise.

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  14. It stayed zoomed for me with the Mac version 5.0.375.38, even after I quit out and then reopened Chrome.

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  15. Worked for chrome 5.0.375.38 beta OS X version.

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  16. It appears that incognito mode stores a per host zoom level in the Preferences file despite the fact that you are incognito. I'd say unless you zoom in incognito mode, your porn browsing should be safe - if you are zooming, Preferences is easily editable (if you can find it - it's buried on Windows - can't speak for other OSes currently).

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  17. A similar problem exists for per-domain cookie settings. I already reported this to the same issue: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=43107#c1.

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  18. chromium 6.0.408.0 (47412) no elephants in the room

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  19. Thanks Wim. I hadn't seen this bug. I used "Report a bug or broken website" from within Chrome and nothing came about it.

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  20. Confirmed in 5.0.342.9 (43360) Ubuntu,even after closing all Chromium threads.

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  21. Incognito mode stores more than just zoom levels. Occasionally it'll store websites to your location bar. No idea what causes that or how to repeat it, but I've had it happen more than once.

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  22. This worked for me. WinXP SP3, Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta

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  23. Confirmed on Chrome 5.0.375.38 Beta on Fedora 12.

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  24. Confirmed on Ubuntu 10.4, gc version 5.0.396.0 dev, even after restarting the browser.

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  25. Confirmed on Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

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  26. Doesn't happen using Iron portable incognito mode.

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  27. Confirmed. Google Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta

    I even try to close all Chrome windows and re-open and it keep the info.

    We should try with a reboot

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  28. All the browsers on Windows in stealth/private mode store cached objects here:

    C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5

    I wouldn't call any of them really private.

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  29. Incognito mode saves zoom settings here, even after a full reboot of the OS - Ubuntu 10.04, Chrome 5.0.396.0 dev - so that's a definite.

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  30. yep, incognito remembered with 5.0.375.38 beta

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  31. Yes remembered. Even after closing all. Well. . . so much for incognito.

    Linux Mint (latest version)

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  32. someone should open up the sql lite db (thats where all chrome data is stored right) and see if they can find where thats stored... ill check if i remember tonight

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  33. Works for me on 5.0.375.38 beta on Mac.

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  34. x - what are you basing this on? Both Chrome and Firefox appear to have their own cache on my Windows box.

    Carter - as I said above, it's being stored the a js file called Preferences - see http://www.lewiz.org/2010/05/chrome-incognito-tracks-visited-sites.html?showComment=1274202814615#c4803431860313104736

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  35. Verified in 6.0.401.1 dev on Windows.

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  36. Looks like it was fixed three minutes ago:
    http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=43107
    says
    r47568 | pkasting@chromium.org | 2010-05-18 14:19:50 -0700 (Tue, 18 May 2010) | 5 lines
    Changed paths:
    M http://src.chromium.org/viewvc/chrome/trunk/src/chrome/browser/host_zoom_map.cc?r1=47568&r2=47567
    M http://src.chromium.org/viewvc/chrome/trunk/src/chrome/browser/profile.cc?r1=47568&r2=47567
    M http://src.chromium.org/viewvc/chrome/trunk/src/chrome/browser/renderer_host/resource_message_filter.cc?r1=47568&r2=47567

    Forget zoom levels set/changed in incognito mode when exiting incognito. This mostly reverts r37595.

    BUG=43107
    TEST=Go incognito. Modify the zoom level for a site. Restart Chrome. That site's zoom level should not reflect the change made in incognito mode.
    Review URL: http://codereview.chromium.org/2079010

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  37. Chromium 5.0.375.38 (46659) Debian -- does remember the zoom setting.

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  38. Confirmed on Ubuntu 10.04, Google Chrome version 5.0.375.38 beta {google-chrome-beta 5.0.375.38-r46659 in the stable/main (dl.google.com) repository}.

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  39. it saves data in
    ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Preferences

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  40. I can replicate that.. what else does it save?

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  41. It's conceivable that they're only storing a hash of the site's domain (for instance) and associating the parameters with that. Still fairly questionable in terms of privacy, but at least it wouldn't actually store the list of sites you visited.

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  42. elephants.com will have a myriad of visitors this month since this came on in slashdot, good for the elephants ^^.

    BTW, didn't happen in Chrome 4.0.249.43 in Linux

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  43. I have Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta and I have noticed this for months.

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  44. Tried it on 5.0.375.38 beta and bingo it does work....

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  45. Oh no!

    Someone might discover that I HAD MY BROWSER ZOOMED! (dun dun dun...)

    Nice catch, but I'd hardly call it a clear and present danger to my privacy.

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  46. That didn't work for me either.

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  47. Works with me on Google Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta on OSX.

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  48. Verified in 6.0.408 dev on Linux.

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  49. Another example of Google "accidentally" recording and storing personal data. (See the Google street view/Wi-fi mess)

    I'm getting pretty sick of google claiming to take privacy seriously then turn around and constantly do crap like this.

    Who knows what other google "mistakes" are currently out there slurping up private data.

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  50. 5.0.375.38 beta under OSX is affected. Thx, Sergey n Larry n Eric!

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  51. Sounds like a NSFW trunk fetish site to me.

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  52. "...the zoom level you previously chose has been remembered..."

    How is this "information about visited sites..."
    The zoom level has nothing to do with sites? Stop being paranoid, people.

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  53. I tried it in version 4.1.249.1064 and it did not retain the zoom settings using incognito. my preferences are set to delete all history upon exit but i also noticed that occasionally addresses from my bookmarks show up in the search bar.

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  54. Well, this is not Google's mistake. The point is:

    There is a very good browser, Firefox. And it is FREE. And open source. WHY THE HELL YOU PEOPLE DO NOT USE FIREFOX, BUT INSTEAD, WHEN GOOGLE RELEASES SOME BULLSHIT YOU SUDDENLY START USING AND ADMIRING, AND THEN COMPLAINING???????

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  55. But I have query - does chrome incognito browsing traceable by remote proxy just like our office website blockers?

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