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Google settles lawsuit alleging Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode tracks users

Google on Thursday settled a class-action lawsuit filed by users who alleged the search giant captured and tracked their data in “Incognito” mode, a Chrome browser setting meant to protect users’ privacy.

Previously, a federal judge in California had scheduled a trial date for 2024, which was put on hold while details of the settlement were finalized, according to a court filing filed Thursday.

Terms of the settlement were not made public, but the initial complaint included demands of between $100 and $1,000 per plaintiff, which the lawsuit said could be in the millions. The total cost to Google if it lost the case could have been in the billions. A company spokesperson declined to comment.

Google users who choose to use the Chrome Internet browser in “Incognito” mode generally expect that what they search and view will not be trackable. But in the 2020 lawsuit citing internal emails between Google executives, lawyers alleged that Google tracked customers’ browser usage in “Incognito” mode to measure web traffic and sell ads.

Google recently announced new protection for user location data. Tech giants including Amazon, Meta and Google-owner Alphabet have all recently faced lawsuits from federal regulators alleging violations of various privacy laws.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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