VPN i.e. Virtual Private Networks are used with the intent to obscure one’s online identity and browse the internet safely, securely, and anonymously. There are several ways Google tries to find out a device’s location despite the use of a VPN.
However, one of the primary reasons for getting your location revealed might be using mediocre VPNs. Using a mediocre VPN makes the intent of hiding the location, ineffective and hence nullifies the motive. Choosing a good VPN is crucial if you wish to keep your location hidden. Some of the best VPNs are CyberGhost, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN.
Before selecting a VPN you should test them for WebRTC, IPu6, IPu4, DNS leaks, etc. Going through the reviews makes the research convenient and provides expert insights too. For instance, you could start with a complete CyberGhost review and figure out how it functions, its pros and cons, and whether to go for it or not.
However, let’s say you have the best VPN available in the market, Google can still crack your location through its various ways. It is recommended that you use VPN and take certain precautions to keep surfing anonymously. Before we run through the precautions, you need to understand why to use VPN, how it works and how Google tracks its users’ location.
Why Use VPN?
Privacy is cherished by everyone, and today it is of utmost importance. Unless you are someone who is least concerned about what is happening to their data and location, you must get a VPN to shield your digital presence.
All your web activities including the websites you visit, files you download or share are tracked. However, if you seek privacy and anonymity in the online world, VPN should be your go-to option.
How does VPN Works?
As soon as you connect to a VPN, it establishes a secure connection between you and the requested server. This allows users to surf the web with anonymity. VPN disguises your location and ensures that your activities are not visible to third parties.
Apparently, for Google, the location from where your search requests are made is the one that your VPN client provides, which is ultimately chosen by the user.
How Does Google Track You Down Despite VPN?
Cookies in Browsers
Does the term ‘Allow cookies’ ring a bell? You will find a request to allow cookies on almost every website you visit. Although cookies are designed for a better user experience, they also have a sneaky way to store your device’s location. This is one of the ways Google predicts your location.
Let’s say you bought a VPN today, while it will shield your location now, the cookies that you allowed on the various website before getting a VPN are still a source of your location in Google’s servers.
If you’ve enabled location history and are signed in to your Google account. It becomes obvious that Google can track you easily. Based on your previous locations (location history) Google tries to predict your approximate, most possible location.
Again if you’ve allowed location permissions to websites across the internet, they’ll play a helping hand to Google in predicting your location.
The location From The GPS module
Mobile phones come equipped with GPS, which allows Google to access location through satellite.
However, it works only when GPS is on and the fact that you’re using a mobile phone. PCs and Laptops won’t face this issue unless an external GPS module is paired.
Approximation Based On Other Device’s Locations
We usually sign in to several devices with the same Gmail account. So even if you are using a VPN on one device, and signed in with the same Gmail to another, Google will assume the other device’s location to be yours and make an informative hunch about where you are located at the moment.
Automated Bot System
Google uses Automated Bot Systems to detect if the location is a real or a VPN server-hosted location. The best-in-class VPN has the technology to shield your location through this kind of breach but most of them are too expensive for a regular person to afford.
How to choose the Best VPN?
As mentioned earlier, choosing a good VPN is very crucial. It is as important as using a VPN as a VPN not good enough doesn’t make much difference. Based on your requirements and expectations from your potential VPN, you circle out the right one for you. Some checkpoints you can refer to are-
If you are looking to access Geo-Location blocked content then you should go for VPNs with servers on multiple Continents. Check whether the VPN server gives access to your preferred location or not. However, most of the good VPNs have servers on all the continents.
While VPN processes encryption, internet speed slows down. If you can’t access the internet with good speed there is no point in using a VPN at all. It is advised to go for VPNs that offer good server speed.
While working, in case your VPN connection is lost, a good VPN server switches off the connection so that your real-time location, as provided by ISP and IP Address is not compromised.
Kill Switch ensures even if the VPN connection is lost your location is shielded for the time being.
Precautions To Be Taken To Ensure Efficiency
- Delete your location history and withdraw location permissions from websites.
- While using chrome, work in Incognito mode this rules out website cookies from accessing data.
- Log out of all the other devices except the device you are using VPN on.
- It is advised to use other web browsers than Google Chrome.
- Run WebRTC, IPu6, IPu4, and DNS leak checks before you begin. This can be done on various websites.
Google uses various ways to predict the most accurate possible location of a user. It does this to gain efficiency in targeted advertisements. But your search history, location history, IP Address, usernames, etc. being the collateral damage can be an issue.
Using a VPN is always recommended for personal or professional use. This ensures that your data is neither available to third parties nor is misused. For this purpose selecting the best VPN is crucial.