The tongue-in-cheek musical Avenue Q insists that the Internet is for Porn, and the recent invention of leave-no-tracks Private Browsing Mode seems to support that notion. But even while you're surfing the web for more innocent activities, private browsing can have some really useful advantages.
Every major browser features some kind of private browsing mode: On Firefox and Safari, it's called Private Browsing; on Internet Explorer, InPrivate; on Opera, private tab or private window; on Google Chrome, Incognito mode.
And while you hear plenty of jokes about using private browsing for intimate moments, there are plenty of SFW (that's Safe for Work) uses for going incognito:
• Buying a gift for a loved one. Birthday gift, suprise vacation, engagement ring… all things you probably want to keep secret — and out of your browsing history.
• When you want to sign in to multiple accounts. Private browsing lets you keep two email or social network accounts open in different tabs.
• When a friend wants to check their email or Facebook. Open an incogito window for them and you'll stay signed in to your own accounts behind the scenes. And Private Browsing means auto-suggestion won't fill in any embarassing search terms or URLs.
• When you want a "pure search." Google's search algorithm uses your networks and friends' reccomendations in ranking pages for you. If you want to see a more accurate depiciton of what the world at large sees when they search a term, use Incognito mode.
• When you need to research something private. Look up a medical condition without worrying family members, or do a job search without tipping off co-workers or friends.
• When you don't want a product search to define your recomendations. If Amazon knows you well enough to suggest the best indie documentary DVDs, you might not want to mess that up when you buy My Little Pony for your niece's Christmas present.
• When you're visiting a site you don't want others to know you visited. Wink wink. We won't tell. And neither will your browser.