The 'incognito' or 'private' mode offered by all the major browsers is usually associated with shadier Web practices. However, it's more useful than you might realize, even beyond self-use. Here are three totally above-the-belt ways incognito mode can make your life better.
1. Check your social media profiles
You can see every one of your Facebook posts—it's your profile after all—but what does it look like to a stranger on the Web? Load up your Facebook profile, Twitter feed, Tumblr page, Google+ stream, Wordpress blog or other similar site and check which of your posts are public and visible by anyone. Facebook already has a similar feature built in, but incognito mode lets you quickly check any social network or blog.
It's also handy if you have more than one account on these services: open up a separate Incognito window to log into a second account without interfering with the first. It's not the most elegant solution for managing multiple accounts, but it's a handy one to have if you need to quickly check or post something.
2. Keeping secrets on shared computers
Start shopping for an Xbox One for the kids or a nice pair of earrings for the wife, and chances are that you'll leave a digital trail everywhere from your browser's auto-fill address bar to the list of recently viewed items on Amazon. Browsing in incognito mode means that your activities are forgotten as soon as the current window is closed, hiding your tracks from other people who share the same computer.
It goes without saying that if you're on a public computer in a library or university then you should make sure you're using incognito mode to do anything of a sensitive nature. Everything that's happened while you're in that browser window is gone as soon as you close it (as far as the local computer is concerned, at least).
3. Unbiased searches
Google uses all kinds of indicators to influence the sites you see at the top of your search results, from who you're friends with on Google+ to the sites that you've visited most often in the past. If you want to see the results that the world-at-large sees, switch on Incognito mode.
You can use this trick on any site where being logged in might influence the search results you see, from YouTube to Twitter. It's a good way of Googling yourself too, if you want to see just how much SEO juice your homemade website has. There are several other useful PG purposes for incognito mode—let us know your favorites below.