Google Settles ‘Incognito’ Lawsuit

Caroline O’Donovan, Washington Post:

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

Previously, a federal judge in California had scheduled a 2024 trial date in the case, which has been put on hold while the details of the settlement are finalized, according to a Thursday court filing.

Simon Sharwood, the Register:

The plaintiffs initially suggested damages of $5 billion, with around $5,000 paid to each of a million potential complainants. Sadly, document 1,089 [the term sheet] doesn’t mention the agreed settlement.

This lawsuit has always seemed pretty dumb to me if you know what “Incognito Mode” is supposed to mean, something which Google spells out when you enable it in Chrome. However, I do think it is telling how much this relies on the fine print of how Google itself defines “incognito” compared to the word’s actual meaning, in a way that sort of reminds me of Tesla’s “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” features. I am not saying this misinterpretation should be worth five billion dollars; all I am saying is that “incognito” is a bad word to describe the actual functionality it offers.