Last week Google released a new browser, Chrome, making its foray into the browser world, and already it has generated a lot of buzz, and substantial downloads (for an initial beta release).
Google Chrome’s entry is bound to raise the bar for browsers everywhere, is remarkably fast, refreshingly simple, and sports a solid set of cool features. What’s more, it’s from Google, which means it’s likely to generate lots of attention and become widely used in a short period of time.
One of its features, however, should be brought to the attention of parents (like me) who care about technology’s ability to impact the lives of my children.
I’m talking about what Google calls “Incognito browsing”, which allows you to surf the web in a way that creates no “footprints” on your computer. Usually, wherever you go on the internet, you leave little traces on your computer, allowing others to see where you’ve been. But with “Incognito Browsing”, you can go anywhere you’d like, and when you’re done, nobody will know where you’ve been. Many critics are (favorably) calling this simply “Porn Mode”.
While there is no substitute for creating what I call a “safe browsing environment”, “safe browsing guidelines”, and educating your children on (among other things) proper internet usage, parents would be wise to be aware of these kinds of features.
As Satan becomes increasingly adept in leveraging technology to create opportunities for temptation, so too should parents remain ever vigilant in being aware of these technologies. Simply throwing up our hands because it’s “over our heads” isn’t a proper excuse. Part of responsible parenthood is the requirement to “keep up”, and I’ll help (as will others) whenever possible.
Within Chrome, this feature is accessed by selecting “New Incognito Window” from the menu as illustrated below…
This puts you into “Incognito” mode (notice the “spy” in the top left corner below) and brings up the following description of “incognito”:
You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.
Below is a video describing Incognito Browsing:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3iCMkiezrs]
Google also lets you “pause” your web history tracking, and gives instructions on how to do that here.
Again, I don’t advocate “avoiding” Google Chrome, because it is a good browser, but rather being aware of it. In truth, this kind of “private browsing” feature is something we’re going to have to deal with eventually, because not only is it in the new Google Chrome, but also in the new beta version of Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (IE8).
I’ll have a separate post on each of these in case these are the preferred browsers in your home. To further aid parents, I’m also working on an Internet Safety for Parents post, that covers topics that I mention above, including how to create a safe browsing environment, creating safe browsing guidelines etc.
If you have additional questions, please as; I would love to help. Otherwise, please forward the URL for this post to your friends and associates, that we may lift the web of awareness amongst all parents, and collectively combat the chasm of technology awareness that is so prominent between children and parents today.