Update: The issue is actually already known to Google, as explained at the bottom of this post.
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Incognito mode usually keeps Web browsing history secret but search terms entered via Google.com are being retained, meaning that they show up as auto-prompts when searching from Google.com in regular mode. The glitch applies only to search terms made directly on Google.com, since items entered into the URL/search bar are not retained.
British company Parallax first highlighted this issue, which we were able to replicate as below:
Since it is such a specific issue, it seems unlikely to affect many users — but it is a concern since incognito mode is supposed to provide a watertight, anonymous browsing experience.
We’ve contacted Google for further details.
Update: It turns out that Google has previously noted the issue within its support pages, where it says the problem comes with developing for iOS:
On Chrome for iOS, due to platform limitation regular and incognito* tabs share HTML5 local storage, which is typically used by sites to store files on your device (client-side caching) or to provide offline functionality. This means the same sites can always access their data in this storage in both regular and incognito* tabs. Incognito* tabs will still keep browsing history and cookies separate from regular tabs, which are cleared once those tabs are closed.
Headline image via Roger Casas-Alatriste / Flickr