How Does Google Know My Location Using a VPN
Besides using a VPN, which is an amazing technology used to hide your location when browsing, Google does get information regarding your location. VPNs do it through an encrypted tunnel between the VPN server and your device. Sometimes even though we are using a VPN, Google can still detect our physical location. This is a big issue and when we think about it in detail it may cause panic as it involves risks related to your anonymity. Let us look at some reasons concerning ‘how does google know my location using VPN’.
1. Device And Services:
Google can use one or a combination of data sources to detect your location and it all depends on the device you are using as well as the services that are turned on. It is harder for Google to detect where your PC is located but modern technology like laptops, smartphones, and tablets are easy to be pinpointed due to certain features available in them.
2. Your IP Address:
The first method that Google utilizes to find out your country or city is, through your real IP address. Although VPN ensures to encrypt it, it can still be leaked by the VPN server. Often, a free VPN service might cause this. When you try to locate yourself on Google Maps on your PC, most probably your location will be incorrect.
If you live near a big city it will show your location to be in a rural area far from a big city. So, if your VPN is reliable and is protected from any kind of DNS and WebRTC leaks, then it would not be possible for Google to detect where you are located.
3. Location History And Cookies:
After going after your IP address, the most probable next option would be for Google to detect your location by your location history and cookies in your browser. You can however stop Google to use your location history by turning off the enabled location history feature.
Stored browser cookies are also a source of information not only for Google but also for many other websites trying to find your location. This however is not that common and can be avoided by switching into incognito mode. It is also good to always clear your browsing history including your location history as well as cookies to make sure that Google doesn’t get access to your location through it.
4. GPS Module:
Not only this method is precise but it is very obvious too. Mobile and tablets have built-in GPS module options and so are easy to get detected while the PC and laptops only serve to leak information if there is an external GPS module attached to them. So it would be very easy for Google to detect your location if you have your GPS turned on. So, if you want to make your experience anonymous while web browsing it is better for you to turn it off.
5. Base Station:
Another very popular way to detect your location is by mobile phone base station triangulation. Location is detected by taking data from base stations located near you. It is possible through smartphones that have a built-in GPS module with a SIM card installed along with using a cellular data network as a source of internet. This method is worthless in the case of laptops and PC. But, for cellular devices as mentioned earlier this method can provide your precise location with no effort.
6. Mobile Phone Location:
This method may sound complex but is the simplest of all. Google can use the location on your mobile present in approximation to your PC or laptop. If you are logged in on your Google account on both your PC and your mobile phone, Google can use the information from your phone to detect the location of your PC. This can occur even if your VPN is activated on your laptop and is turned off on your mobile phone.
One of the best methods and easily applied to all the devices whether laptop, PC, smartphones, or tablets, is location detection based on the nearest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network. Any device that uses or supports a wireless network can be a source. Google has the largest database and can measure signal strength, so with this information, it is easy for it to detect your location no matter where you are located in the world.
8. Home And Work Address:
Some of us voluntarily provide information regarding our home or work address when Google Maps asks for it. Google can still detect your location based on the time you spend at home or your workplace even if you don’t provide such data on your own. It is better to keep personal information to yourself if you want to make your web browsing experience safe and anonymous.
9. Unreliable VPN:
The reliable VPN will keep your location hidden and safe. If you use unreliable VPN it can leak your data to the providers by which they can easily find out your location.
There are several ways to avoid your data being stolen and hiding your location. Some of these are by turning off the GPS modules, using incognito mode, using a wired internet connection, don’t allow Google or any other app to detect your location, clear location history, and cookies and checking for DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
Now you know how Google knows your location when using a VPN. As you can see, Google uses several methods to gain access to your location. So, even if you use a VPN it is still possible that you might not be completely anonymous while web browsing. Virtual machines can also be used if you are someone who takes your location seriously, as it helps to hide your location along with VPN.
This reduces the chances of being detected even more. To stay completely anonymous, try and use a VPN with zero-logging-policy. Although no matter what method you choose to keep your location hidden, there is never a 100 percent chance of you being anonymous at all.