How does Google get my location?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by funkydude, Sep 4, 2011.

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  1. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    If I use Google's search, the bar to the left seems to pinpoint my location pretty precisely, scary. How is this possible?

    I have geolocation disabled, flash disabled, and google.com cookies denied. I also read http://www.google.co.uk/support/web...age=guide.cs&guide=1224171&answer=179386&rd=1 and the only thing that applies to me is IP address. However, IP's cannot trace to a town/city so accurately, so how is Google doing it, and why isn't it mentioned on that page?
     
  2. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Wow, someone else besides me has wondered about that. I had always thought it was that "iGoogle" bs that seems to be default in IE 9. Maybe not though. I hope someone knows, I'd love to take away one less thing Google knows.
     
  3. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Funky, I found something: http://www.google.com/support/webse...age=guide.cs&guide=1224171&answer=179386&rd=1. Under "Can I turn off location-based customization", they clearly state that you can't. You can, however, change it, but if you're like me, that's not the point. It's found using your IP address and GoogleToolbar. So, in our cases (assuming you don't have the toolbar), they're using the IP address which, evidently is close to us, if not right in our area. They're almost dead on in my case, and I don't like it a bit.

    Edit: I'm sorry, I didn't read your link beforehand, it's the same page. So basically we take away from this that Google is saying "Screw you, it's our idea and we like it.".
     
  4. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    Not using iGoogle, this is from a simple Google search.

    That kind of pinpoint accuracy is simply not possible with IP's, that's why geolocation/flash/etc use their own systems. You can get more info on your own IP address with tools like "IP Information" from dnsstuff.com
     
  5. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Yeah, my iGoogle comment was just thoughts meandering through my skull, until I found an actual link to relevant information. I can only go by what the page says, I doubt Google will help either of us much with it. My only suggestion is possibly going through a VPN. But, they can present their own problems, and it doesn't help matters when Google already has found out the area near enough to you or where you actually are.

    I don't have the techie skills to figure this one out, I have no idea how they are doing it.
     
  6. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    Hi all. Using https://www.google.com i see NO location stuff :)

    Going directly there

    g1.gif

    Doing a search

    g2.gif

    Nobody mentioned Scripts ? I have just about everything disabled in NoScript, so it "might" be due to that ?

    Also if your ISP etc has servers in your area, that would be why Google can locate by IP.

    If anybody else can provide more insight, i'm Sure we'ld love to hear it
     
  7. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    If you don't mind could you put up a screenshot? I don't see my location other than India on the Google Search page. I know that GMail has a record of my IP addresses and can use that to alert me about "unusual" activity.

    What I see ... Selection_131.png
     
  8. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    The SSL version (or possibly the .com version) doesn't use location.

    Also, I don't think JavaScript has the ability to track you to town/city.

    If you imagine the "search near" text and the box under it saying "Your City, Country", then that's what I see.

    I tried to inspect the code but it's just a giant bundle of JavaScript mess. For a website wanting to push new standards I'm surprised by how "unclean" the code is.
     
  9. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    I still see it via SSL myself, I don't know about you all. Scripting off doesn't matter either, it's still there (blocking everything with NoScript).
     
  10. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    The only other thing I thing I can think of is that it's getting the location information from flash from one of my family members (I don't enable ActiveX filtering on their PCs) and then binding that location to that IP permanently? I think I'll try restart the router for a new IP and check sometime.
     
  11. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    I might be crazy, but I sure don't remember this happening until somewhat recently (months maybe?).
     
  12. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    @ funkydude

    You're right :thumb: It's the .com that prevents it.

    3.gif

    It was 50 miles away ;) On one IP checker i've seen it shown as 30 miles away & is the correct location for my ISP. But let's face it, if the IP is correct, then that's to be expected !

    Google are'nt using any clever tech with me, based on the above.
     
  13. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Okay! Can't be bothered based on what's been written so far. Just the usual Google this, Google that.
     
  14. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Sorry we're boring you.
     
  15. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    It's actually a vast conspiracy to ruin Google's good name (put serious face smiley here).
     
  16. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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  17. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    Yeah I expect it to be close but not exact, I don't see how it could possibly be exact from an IP address, there has to be more.
     
  18. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    Funkydude, I've had this issue too. It started last year.

    For some reason I no longer get the zip code plus city combo.

    My guess is that it was based on either IP or MAC (router).
    Presumable those data are exchanged/sold ?

    Google did capture a lot with their StreetView. Other companies may have done the same.
     
  19. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    I don't think websites can get your MAC address to reference it against anything.

    I'm kinda hoping this is something I can prevent/block on my end. I'm using Google as an example here, if they have the functionality to do this then I'm sure any site does, there must be a way to prevent it short of using a VPN.
     
  20. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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  21. jesusjesus

    jesusjesus Registered Member

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    I've noticed this in the last week or 2 as well. Geolocation off, yet google knows where I live to within 150 yards on my home computer. Creepy creepy google.

    What I assume is that when I use my phone or my tablet and use my wifi for my home connection then I think that must be how it can associate my broadband cable IP with where I live.

    I have gps and network geolocation turned off on the android tablet however when you go to process's "com.google.android.apps.maps:networklocationservice" is always running. You can stop the process but in less than a second it's running again.
     
  22. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    People know where I live! The sheer terror of that.
     
  23. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    FYI. Privacy and My Location.
     
  24. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Okay, if you're not bothered with people knowing where you live, tell me then :D I figure if you don't, there will be two reasons why:

    1. It's none of my business.

    2. It's a matter of personal privacy.

    Great answers...now why not apply them to a company and its army of 3rd party buddies that has no real reason to know where you live, unless you have handed them over money for something, or they are the government?
     
  25. jesusjesus

    jesusjesus Registered Member

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    In the non internet world the only people who know where I live are friends and people I choose to tell where I live. But in the google internet world complete strangers , possibly freaks of nature, possibly the guy I last had a big argument with on a message board knows where I live.

    Should be my decision to tell complete strangers where I live, and ofcourse I wouldn't, just like the real world.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
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