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#160 Potential Uses for Private Browsing

April 09, 2013

Many modern browsers are capable of private browsing, but what is it and how can you get the most out of it?

Private browsing windows are separate from your normal browsing windows, so you can browse the web without your browser saving a list of websites you’ve visited, downloading cookies that remember where you’ve been, or remembering accounts you’ve logged into.  Here are some ways to get the most out of this feature:


  • Check for Price Discrimination: Some websites, such as Amazon or Airline ticket websites, present different prices to different people because of the accounts associated with their browser.  To check whether or not this is happening, try viewing the same page in a private browsing window.


  • Logging into Accounts on Someone Else’s Computer: If you would like to check your email on someone else’s computer but don’t want the browser to save your credentials, use a private browsing window and you will be automatically signed out of all websites when you close the window.


  • Shop Online for Surprise Gifts: When searching for gifts on a shared computer, you not only have to be wary of your browser’s history, but also of the website’s history.  For example, Amazon remembers the products you look at and suggest similar products when you return.  You can avoid this with private browsing.


  • See How Pages Look to the Public: If you are signed into an account with a public profile or working on a website and don’t feel like signing out to view the public view of the page, you can simply open the page in a private browsing window.


  • Bypass Page View Limits: Some websites restrict the amount of times you can view their website before purchasing a subscription (such as the New York Times).  If you want to read another article, you can return to the site in a private browsing window.


Most modern browsers are capable of private browsing, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.  Here are some links with more information on private browsing including how to activate it: 




Internet Explorer: