How accurate is Google's geolocation

So your location remains undiscovered

Arne Arnold

Anyone who is on the move with their smartphone will appreciate the geolocation options. The technology locates your cell phone and transforms it into a navigation device as well as a city and shopping guide. What only few people know, however, is that the computer at home can also be precisely located from visited websites. You can find out how this works and how to switch it off here.

EnlargeIn Google Chrome, you can specify in the settings that no website may query the location of your computer or notebook.
EnlargeIn Google Chrome, you can specify in the settings that no website may query the location of your computer or notebook.

This is how geolocation works on the computer: In order for a visited website to be able to determine the location of your computer, you must have given it permission beforehand - unless you have generally allowed localization in your Internet browser. In this case, any website can determine the location without asking. Depending on the network connection, this is more or less accurate. A PC that is connected to the DSL router via a network cable only reveals its public IP address. In this way, websites can usually assign the residents of large cities exactly to their city. Localization works far less precisely in the country.

The situation is different with PCs or notebooks that are connected to the DSL router via WLAN. At least Google and some other websites can then determine the exact location of the device, because Google and other services have mapped the identification of wireless routers. When you visit a website with your Internet browser, the browser transmits the router's identifier. In this way, the respective location can be determined at least up to the average range of a router, i.e. to an accuracy of about 30 to 40 meters.

Switching off localization via the WLAN identifier: Users who use the Google Chrome browser simply click on the "Customize Google Chrome" icon, then select "Settings> Advanced settings> Content settings> Location" and then activate the item "Do not allow any website to access my physical location".

To do this in Firefox, enter
Enter the address line about: config, press Enter and confirm that you will be careful. Look for the entry "geo.enabled" in the alphabetically sorted list. With a double click you can now change the value from true to false.

In Internet Explorer, select “Tools> Internet Options> Data Protection” and tick “Never allow websites to request your physical location”.