Google Chrome might try to keep track of where your computer is located for various reasons. For example, some websites are scripted to provide different content based on where the individual accessing the site is physically located. Similarly, certain business webpages try to collect location data from visitors for marketing purposes. Many advertisers are interested in knowing whether a specific ad campaign is doing enough to bring visitors from a specific part of the world (or geographical location).
For the reasons above (and others), Google Chrome (like most modern browsers on PCs) and websites (or web services) do what they can to obtain location data through all the possible means or methods.
How does Chrome know or detect my location?
The easiest way for Chrome (or any web browser or online service) to tell where you are located is through your IP address, which is almost always public or accessible. A unique set of digits forms an IP address. IP addresses are used to identify each computer connected to a network or the internet. Nevertheless, besides IP addresses, there are other things known to give users’ location away.
Some browsers tend to use nearby WIFI networks to triangulate the location of devices, especially (or even) when an IP address is not involved. You might be able to get around this by turning off WIFI and Bluetooth on your PC, but you are unlikely to do so – since you probably need one of those technologies (or even both of them).
Your PC lacks components for GPS, network triangulation, and other standard technologies – which smartphones employ to provide accurate location services – but it still does a decent job when it has to figure out where you are. Windows 10, for one, is programmed to use data from Wi-Fi positioning and Internet Protocol (IP) to determine location.
If you live in a major city, then the location results provided are likely to be close enough to the real thing. If you reside out of metro areas (or in a remote town), then things are probably off with the location access on your computer. In that case, you might want to learn how to change the location on Google Chrome to ensure your browser provides accurate location information for web services.
To be fair, there are other reasons or issues due to which you might decide to change your location or force Chrome to stop reporting your location. Or you might even instruct Chrome to report an incorrect location. For example, you might need to convince a TV website that you are currently accessing its webpage from a region where it possesses the right or license to show you certain television or movie content.
You will find all the answers/solutions to geolocation questions/issues in this guide. Let’s go.
How to change the location in Google Chrome; How to hide the location in Chrome
Go through the procedures below to find the one that suits your needs perfectly.
Turn off location sharing in Chrome:
If you want to stop seeing those pop-ups or prompts where websites ask for your location – since you do not want them to know where you are – then you must turn off the location tracker function in Chrome. These are the instructions you must follow to configure the Chrome app to stop providing location data for websites:
- First, you have to fire up the web browser by clicking on the application icon (which is likely to be on your taskbar) or the program shortcut (which is probably on your desktop).
- Assuming the Chrome window has been brought up, you have to look to its top-right corner and then click on the menu icon (formed from three dots arranged vertically).
- From the list that shows up, you have to click on Settings.
You will be directed to the Settings screen or menu in Chrome (in a fresh tab) now.
- Now, you must scroll down to the bottom of the current page and then click on Advanced.
- Under the expanded Privacy and Security menu, you have to click on Site Settings.
- Go through the items under Permissions and then click on Location.
- Click on the toggle for Ask before accessing (recommended) to deselect it.
The Ask before accessing parameter will disappear. Blocked will be there now.
- Close the Settings screen or menu and then restart Chrome.
Well, the new Chrome configuration will prevent websites from finding out where you are.
Force Chrome to use a different location:
If you came here to learn how to fake geolocation in Google Chrome, then the procedure here is for you. If a website is hell-bent on knowing where you are, then you might as well feed it false information. If a webpage is scripted in a way that prevents you from seeing regional news or static web content when you are not in a specific location, then you can force Chrome to inform the page that you are in the ideal location.
You are better off faking your location through a VPN – especially if you are looking to access content restricted due to your geographical location – but the faking procedure in Chrome still has its uses, no matter how basic they might seem to be. We must, however, warn you that the location faking in Chrome is temporary. The effects are far from long-lasting. You will have to perform the relevant tasks to fake your location each time you launch Chrome or initiate a fresh browsing session.
Anyway, these are the instructions you must follow to instruct Google Chrome to use a different location:
- First, you have to determine the location you intend to use. Copy the coordinates for the spot.
- If you just want Chrome to feed websites the wrong location data – especially if security or privacy is your top priority – then you can use a random set of coordinates. We also know of several sites that provide users with random coordinates, so you might want to check them out to get something.
- If you want Chrome to report to websites that you are in a specific area, then you have to get the coordinates for the area. You can use Google Maps to get the coordinates for any location.
- Open the Chrome app by clicking on the application shortcut (which is likely to be on your taskbar) or the program shortcut (which is almost guaranteed to be on your desktop).
- Assuming you are now on the Chrome window, you have to use this keyboard shortcut to access Developer Tools quickly: Ctrl + Shift + letter I.
Chrome is supposed to bring up the Developer console.
- Hit the Escape button on your keyboard. From the small list displayed, you must select Sensors.
- Now, you have to click on the drop-down menu for Geolocation to see the available options. Choose Custom location.
- Input the coordinates for Latitude and Longitude into the appropriate fields.
- Refresh the page. That should be all.
If you want to test the new location configuration to confirm that everything is in order, then you can continue with the instructions below:
- Open Google Maps or a similar map service or site on the web. Check the location reported there.
Google Maps is not supposed to report that you are at home. It should not show the last known location, either. It should zero in on the positions that correspond to the coordinates that you set earlier.
Use a specific Chrome extension to fake your location:
You can change your location manually as many times as you want (or need to), but you might want to get a browser extension to make things easier. We know of a good number of Chrome extensions that can do the job here. Location Guard is one of them. Here, we intend to show you how to set Location Guard in Windows 10 on Google Chrome.
With Location Guard, you can add ‘noise’ to your location in Chrome to ensure your privacy is protected. You can also use the extension to get ‘good enough’ location benefits and related services. For example, if you want to see the local news for your town or accurate weather data for a specific part of your state, then you can achieve the stated goal by adding a certain amount of ‘noise’ to the real location.
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Typically, when ‘noise’ gets added to a location, it offsets location data for a small spot, which means a more general region is reported as the location. Well, this can be a good thing in certain scenarios. Location Guard also allows users to select from three privacy levels (usually with varying levels of “noise” in the location reported). The projection here can be configured on a per-website basis.
Therefore, you will be able to configure Chrome to provide location information of varying accuracy to different websites (based on your needs or what you are looking to achieve). For example, you might decide to force Chrome to provide very accurate location information to a dating site (if you are looking to meet people living in your area only) while instructing the same browser to feed inaccurate information to a newsreader (if you do not want to report your current location).
Follow these instructions to install and use Location Guard:
- First, you have to open Google Chrome and then go to the Chrome Web Store.
- Input Location Guard into the text box on the main Chrome Web Store page and then hit Enter to perform a search task using those keywords as the query.
- From the results returned, you have to click on Location Guard.
- Assuming you are now on the Location Guard main page, you have to click on the ADD TO CHROME button (in the top-right corner of the window).
Chrome will now work to install the Location Guard extension.
- Once Chrome finishes installing Location Guard, you have to click on the extension icon (which should now be visible on the pane close to the top of the Chrome window).
- Click on Options.
The Options menu will be opened in a new tab now.
- If you want Chrome to always report a specific location (as the place your computer is located in), then you have to click on Fixed Location.
- Now, you have to drag the location marker to match the location you intend to use.
- Here, you can close the Options menu tab and then go to the webpage or website you want to access.
- Refresh the page in view. Click on the Location Guard icon (which should be in the top-right corner of the Chrome window).
- From the list of options displayed, you have to click on Set level for [NameOfWebPageHere].
- Click on the radio button for Use fixed location to get this parameter selected.
- Now, you can close the extension menu.
Your location is now supposed to change to the region or spot you specified. You might have to refresh the page again to confirm things.
Fake your location with a VPN:
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is easily the best method of spoofing or hiding your location (even in web browsers). The solution resulting from the service rendered by a VPN is permanent. The VPN setup also provides other benefits like encryption – since all the web traffic transmitted will be encrypted. If you are looking to get around your ISP or government surveillance, then you have to use a VPN.
All major VPN providers will allow you to fake your location within Chrome or even any application. They typically provide support for all devices and platforms that exist – whether you surf the web on a mobile device or desktop (or regardless of the platform on which you use the internet).
VPNs might not allow you to specify your exact location through the same format or methods that GPU spoofing apps allow, but you will be able to change your country location (which is what matters most of the time).
If you are looking to fool people into thinking you live right next to them, then performing the location spoofing procedure via a VPN is unlikely to be the best option for you. However, if you need to bypass geographical restrictions and protect your identity online, then a VPN is the best tool or setup.
Block WebRTC leaks:
If you are looking to spoof or hide your location, then you might have to consider WebRTC leaks – since this factor is something that can give you away. WebRTC – which stands for Web Real-Time Communication – is an intuitive technology (or framework or standard) that provides browsers and applications with real-time communication capabilities through simple APIs.
WebRTC is built into the top modern browsers or operating system platforms, such as Chrome from Google, Firefox from Mozilla, IOS from Apple, Android from Google, and so on. Browsers get to communicate (in terms of audio and video) with one another through WebRTC. WebRTC is quite useful, but some downsides associated with it are detrimental to your online privacy.
WebRTC leaks make your web browser expose your real IP address or location, even when you are using a VPN. Now, you might be wondering how WebRTC manages to figure out your correct IP address when you already have a VPN configured to spoof or hide your location.
Well, WebRTC uses the ICE (Interactive Connectivity Establishment) protocol to discover your real IP. Furthermore, it also employs STUN/TURN servers, which are capable of viewing your IP address (the same way websites can).
You have to find a way to deal with WebRTC leaks. If your IP address gets leaked – especially when you are connected to a VPN service – then the government might find it easy to spy on you, or your ISP might succeed in tracking your activities online. Attackers might also be able to view and exploit your sensitive data. In other words, if WebRTC leaks are left unchecked, the purpose of using a VPN (in the first place) will be defeated.
Most VPN providers build WebRTC protection into the standard applications that they offer to their customers, but the setup is mostly limited to VPN apps, which means it does not carry over to the browser platform. Some Virtual Private Network providers go the extra mile to provide WebRTC leak protection in their extensions, which they encourage users to install on their web browsers (for obvious reasons).
If you have to deal with WebRTC leaks on your own, then you will do well to search for an extension that prevents or disables WebRTC. Unfortunately, the protection from WebRTC leaks provided by add-ons and extensions is not foolproof. You have to keep this fact in mind. The chances of you getting exposed to a WebRTC leak after you install an extension to block or disable WebRTC are small, but they still exist anyway.
Chrome, unfortunately, does not provide the options or means through which users get to disable WebRTC. Firefox, on the other hand, allows everyone to disable WebRTC entirely to prevent WebRTC leaks – and this is a good thing. If security/privacy is really your top priority – or if you cannot afford WebRTC leaks at all – then you might want to stop using the browsers that do not allow you to disable WebRTC (Chrome) and switch to one that lets you make the necessary changes (Firefox).
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