It's no secret that Google collects huge amounts of data about its users. This is not only information about their movements, requests made by the voice assistant, and the contents of emails, but also a lot more. Although Google may use this information for advertising purposes, it still does not cause any harm to users. That's why I always agree with any surveillance that Google requests. However, there are those who are against it, especially when they find out that the search giant can also track the Wi-Fi networks they use.
Did you know that Google is following you over Wi-Fi?
Google's tracking of Wi-Fi networks is far from new. It is conducted through devices that connect to them. Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets running Android collect this information and send it to the search giant's database. This is necessary to determine the user's location if the GPS signal is not available, but it is already used for a variety of purposes – from determining the time zone to ensuring the operation of applications that directly depend on navigation systems and geolocation services.
How Google is following me
Your Wi-Fi belongs not only to you, but also to Google
Nothing seems like that. But this way Google can make conclusions about where you work, where you live, and where you just periodically visit. All you need to do is analyze the connection time. If a user's device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network from 9:00 to 17:00, this is most likely their place of work. And if it connects to another access point from 18: 00 to 08: 00 the next day, it is obvious that it is a home. Based on this information, Google can advertise specific products and services.
However, if you consider this type of spying unacceptable, you can always prevent Google from tracking your device over Wi-Fi. Another thing is that you can only do this with the access point that belongs to you personally. But with public services, you can't do this, if only because you need to make some changes to the connection name so that your smartphone simply ignores it and does not send the data received from it to Google.
How to change the Wi-Fi name
- Connect the router to your computer via the Ethernet connector (many modern laptops do not have this connector, so you will need to use an adapter);
- Run the command prompt on Mac, Linux, or Windows (via the start menu) and enter ipconfig (for Window) or ifconfig for Mac and Linux to get the default gateway;
- Enter the gateway in the browser address bar in the format 192.168.0.1 and wait for the wireless access point control panel to open;
Preventing Google from following you is easier than you think
- Open the section with the name of your access point SSID and add “_nomap” to the existing name without quotes;
- In other words, if your network is called 123456, then you should get 123456_nomap - save the changes and close the control panel;
- To check whether the new network name has been sent to Google, launch Google Maps on your smartphone and click on the "My location" icon.
Despite the fact that Google carefully encourages operators to perceive the “_nomap” label as a user's refusal to transmit information to the server, the company cannot oblige its partners to do so. Therefore, there is no guarantee that changing the name of a wireless access point will prevent data about your Wi-Fi network and your location from being transmitted to remote servers when you connect to it. However, if you are concerned about your privacy, it is better to change the name of the network and check what will happen.