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Let's say that I use Chrome's incognito mode and search for a specific term using Google Image Search without being logged into my Google Account. After Google gives me the results, I click on a certain image and then click on "Show more related images". Then Google uses the chosen image as a filter for new related images, while still using the same search term.

My question is the following: does Google track this activity? I mean, does the choice of an image used as a filter stay get stored or only the search term?

  • You have to expect that your activity is logged somewhere. But it's unlikely that anyone here can give you an authoritative answer about what exact parts of your query are being recorded by Google. – Arminius Aug 9 '17 at 18:47
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    Incognito mode does not mean no tracking. It only means that the browser tries that this tracking can not be associated with information and identities from the non-incognito mode or from previous incognito sessions. Insofar it is a pure client side behavior similar to using a fresh browser profile all the time. It has no influence on what the server will store. – Steffen Ullrich Aug 9 '17 at 19:38
  • it lives in the url of the tab, and therefore vanishes with the tab. since incognito leaves no history, from a user-perspective it's gone forever at that point. – dandavis Aug 9 '17 at 22:46
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Google track this activity?

Yes. They track it.

Below, you can see:

  1. I'm in incognito mode
  2. I made a random image search
  3. I clicked on a random image.

The click generated an imgevent JS method / function to be executed which made an ajax call and tracked the terms and image that was clicked on. It even tracked how much scroll I did before I clicked on something and a few other variables.

Whether or not this is directly associated with you is "black box" as far as Google is concerned. However, They know your IP, they know your timezone, and a lot of other information that incognito mode doesn't hide.

If you don't really want to be tracked for something:

  1. Use Tails
  2. With the tor browser
  3. Over a VPN
  4. From a public location
  5. to search DuckDuckGo via their Onion address. http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

Google tracks everything

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