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Google's iOS app now lets you lock incognito searches behind Touch ID

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Google will now let you privately search the web in its core app on iOS. The ability to search in incognito mode is being added in an update to the Google app that's coming out today.

But the more interesting part of the update isn't incognito mode on its own — private searches are already available in both Chrome and Safari, so that's nothing new — it's how Google is making them even more secure. Google will let you lock up private searches using Touch ID, so that if someone else is holding your unlocked phone or tablet, they won't be able to see private tabs that are still open inside the app.

Making private mode a bit more private

It's a small but helpful change. Ostensibly for convenience, Google doesn't close private searches when you leave its app — you have to manually close them yourself. By requiring Touch ID authorization to see those searches again, Google is able to protect against one of the reasons people might have been using a private search in the first place: family and friends seeing what they've been up to.

All that said, it's worth remembering that Google's incognito mode isn't perfectly private. As Chrome warns you when you open a private tab, "Going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit." In the case of the Google app, it won't hide your searches from Google, either — it just won't tie them to your account.

In addition to incognito mode, today's update also includes the ability to watch YouTube videos directly in the app.

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