The third developer preview of Android O debuted an Incognito Mode for Gboard in Chrome, as discovered by a number of users running the new experimental build of Google’s ubiquitous operating system that was released last week. The feature was seemingly designed to work in an automated manner and doesn’t require any setup on the user’s part. Instead, those using Gboard will see a slightly redesigned version of the popular Android keyboard upon launching a Chrome Incognito Tab in Android O Developer Preview 3. The new version of the keyboard is ennobled with Google’s well-known Incognito Mode icon beneath the actual keys that’s present in both Dark and Light versions of the app. Unlike the regular variant of Gboard, the one working in Chrome’s Incognito Mode won’t pull your browsing data and preferences to serve suggestions as you type queries.
The change itself was likely made in an effort to increase the degree of privacy offered by the Incognito Mode in Chrome. While typing history was never saved in the browser’s private mode, data from regular usage still served as a basis to push suggestions in the Incognito Mode and shape its overall user experience, which isn’t the case following the new update to Gboard. The functionality works in a completely automated manner and cannot be disabled, meaning users who prefer typing suggestions in Chrome’s Incognito Mode are out of luck for the time being. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant has yet to detail Gboard’s new behavior in any official capacity, so it’s possible that the company opts to expand on this functionality in the future and allow users more control over Gboard’s latest feature.
Gboard still served typing suggestions when used in Chrome’s Incognito Mode running on the first two developer previews of Android 8.0 O, and with this feature being added only recently, it’s possible that the Alphabet-owned company ultimately decides to scrap it before its operating system hits the stable channel, though that scenario doesn’t seem likely. Google previously confirmed that Android O Developer Preview 4 will be released in July with near-final system images, while first stable builds of the software are expected to be launched in August.