Chrome’s Incognito Mode

I’m finding that the Incognito windows in Google Chrome (I actually us Chromium) are becoming a daily tool in my standard browsing and development toolset. When I first heard about the concept of private browsing I had a more narrow view of it’s usefulness; but I’m finding lots of legitimate uses for it.

A few examples:

  • Testing the first-run/new user experience for a website/web app.
  • Testing website/web app logged in/out state handling.
  • Logging into a web app as multiple users at once.
  • Logging into Google Docs for different Google Apps domains (Google currently botches the auth pretty badly in many cases, otherwise forcing a cookie purge).
  • Opening a suspicious/spammy link (don’t want the site to be able to access cookies, etc.). Especially useful when used by right clicking and opening “in New Incognito Window”.
  • Checking where things rank on Google’s search index without your personalized results.

I used to use multiple browsers to handle these things, but with Incognito I don’t have to anymore. It’s more flexible, faster, and uses fewer system resources to use than running multiple browsers.

If you’re a web developer and you aren’t using Incognito mode as part of your standard development and testing process I highly recommend giving it a try.