Google has finally gone public with its private incognito mode for the Google Maps mobile app.
After announcing the feature at I/O in May and commencing testing a few weeks back, Google is now enabling every day users to keep their location data completely out of Google’s grasp.
In its current form, the Maps app adds location data to a Google Account, even if the user had turned off the Location History feature. However, with Incognito Mode turned on, that’ll no longer be the case.
In practical terms, that means the places you search for and the locations you visit, won’t be stored within your Google account and hence won’t be accessible to Google.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Google explained: “When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience. You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo, and you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you.”
The company says Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, but iOS users are going to have to wait for a while.
Last August, the company was pilloried following an Associated Press report, which revealed services like Google Maps were still noting the user’s every move even if they turned off the Location History setting. The only difference turning off that setting made was users locations didn’t appear on the public Timeline setting, but the data itself was still being swept and stored by Google.
In response, the company began rolling out a feature that enabled users to automatically delete their location history every three- or 18-months, earlier this year. Now we’re getting some proper protection.