If you have an Android device, the chances are you’re a frequent user of YouTube. Google’s video service is one of the core applications of its mobile platform experience and a pop culture phenom in general. Today, the company has rolled out a much-anticipated feature for the YouTube Android application.
Incognito Mode allows users to view on YouTube without the videos going into the watch and search history. Borrowed from Google’s Chrome browser Incognito Mode, the feature has been in testing since May.
Selecting your avatar in the top-right of the YouTube app now shows “Turn on Incognito” as an option. Turning the feature on replaces your avatar with the incognito icon and a thin black bar to tell you the mode is activated.
While this could be construed as a way to watch whatever nefarious videos you want, it really isn’t. When thinking of hiding browser history, most people go to porn. Watching naughty videos and hiding them spouse, mother, or boss.
Of course, YouTube does not allow pornographic content, so incognito mode is not designed to allow you to catch a blue movie in peace.
That said, YouTube definitely hosts plenty of NSFW content, such as violence. If that’s your particular jam and you don’t want others to know about it, incognito mode let’s you knock yourself out. It’s also important because Google accounts are cross-device and watching one NSFW video could screw with your recommendations.
Perhaps you have a video you want to watch that is for work, but you want entertainment videos in recommendations. Incognito mode would let you watch the content without worrying about what YouTube recommends afterwards.
I particularly like that Google has not made this a gateway for NSFW content. It is safe for parents wanting to protect kids. We know most browser private browsers turn off NSFW filters and are a straightforward way for kids to see risqué content without being caught.
Luckily, incognito mode on YouTube does not do this. Videos deemed appropriate for over 18s only still demand the user sign in to view the content. In other words, if your child is on an age-restricted account they still can’t watch inappropriate content.