It took a significant location tracking scandal for Google to actually do something about the user’s privacy when it comes to location tracking. After a report called Google out for misleading users who thought their location data wouldn’t be collected because of the way they set up location permissions, Google came up with fixes. Now you can stop Google from tracking you, except for those apps where location data is paramount — think Google Maps and Waze. Also, Google added better privacy features in Android 10, which deal with location data as well — freaking out Facebook in the process. On top of that, Google is about to make Google Maps even more private, if that’s something you want from the app. The company is bringing Incognito Mode to Google Maps, and the feature is already in testing.
One way to use Google Maps and try to limit the location data it collects is by actually signing out of your Google account. But that’s hardly convenient, and that’s where Incognito Mode will come in handy. You’ll be able to turn the feature on, just like you might do it for Chrome or YouTube, to avoid your searches or navigation data to be associated with your primary Google account.
The feature was promised some four months ago at Google I/O, so we knew it was already in the works, but Android Police reports that it’s only now rolling out to some members of the Google Maps Preview test.
Incognito Mode will work everywhere Google Maps is available, including Android Auto. The image below shows the mode activated in the car. You’ll notice the black status bar which reads “Incognito Mode is on.”
The following animation shows how switching to Incognito Mode works on an Android phone. You just have to select the option from your Google account avatar, at which point a black status bar will inform you that you’re using the app incognito. Also, the locator marker will change from blue to dark to mark the change. You’ll be able to switch back to the regular Maps experience whenever you feel like it.
To get the feature right now, you’ll need to have Preview Maps version 10.26 or later installed. That is if you’re part of the Preview Maps test group. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait a while for Google to release it more broadly