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Incognito mode for Google Maps finally hits Android

Back in May, Google announced that Incognito mode – a setting that doesn’t store a browsing history of where you’ve been in Chrome – would be making its way to Google Maps. Four months later, it seems to be spreading to all Android handsets.  

Today, we’re excited to announce that Incognito mode is rolling out for Android users on Google Maps,” a Google support page that sprung up on Thursday reads. “We expect it to be available to all users in the next few days.”

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So how does Incognito mode work with Maps then? Well, chiefly it means that any places you search for in Maps won’t show up in the history. Enabling it also means that personal data won’t be used to personalise Maps, and your location history and shared location won’t be updated.

As well as making things a bit more private, it’s an interesting way of seeing what’s around you once Google’s personalised recommendations lose their boosted weighting and are given the same prominence as everything else.

There are limitations, mind. “Turning on Incognito mode in Maps does not affect how your activity is used or saved by internet providers, other apps, voice search, and other Google services,” Google warns.

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It’s probably not something you’ll just to leave switched on, no matter how much you value your privacy. Google says that when enabled, Incognito mode disables certain features including Contributions, Google Assistant microphone input and offline maps. 

If it’s arrived on your handset already, then enabling it is pretty straightforward. Open Google Maps, then tap on your profile picture and press “Turn on Incognito mode.” To come out again, just go through the same steps and tap “Turn off Incognito mode.”

For now, this is an Android exclusive, but it will be on iPhones eventually. For now, though, the iOS version is marked as “coming soon.”

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