What’s your location?


I’ve been appearing in different places in Kent for a few years now, which when it started was more than a bit confusing and laughable at times. I have a desktop that connects to my Internet provider via a cable rather than WiFi because it is considerably faster that way.

What is Geolocation?

With mobile devices, they have a GPS receiver which the device passes through to the web browser in order to tell websites where the user is and accurately pinpoint them in order to tell the user whether items are in stock in their local store.

On a desktop computer, the computer doesn’t have GPS so the browser has to ask Google some questions, and by sending Google the wifi router’s MAC address, Google can check it’s database and return the latitude and longitude of the user’s computer. This is because Google secretly captured everyone’s wifi details while they took footage for their Street View service.

However, if the user uses an Ethernet cable, then the browser only sends the router’s IP address to Google and it returns the co-ordinates of the IP address.

Unfortunately, my provider doesn’t give the correct location for my IP address, instead it gives a random location in Kent.

Buying problems

A lot of stores are interconnected, so when you order a product from a store, you can see whether that store has the item. If geolocation is giving their website the wrong information, then you get the wrong stock level for your local store.

Today, both Screwfix and Toolstation were out of stock of a part I wanted in their Folkstone store, which is more than 50 miles away from me.

Fixing the problem

Let’s start with our post code in the UK, and freemaptools has a post code to latitude, longitude converter here.

Once you have the latitude and longitude, you can hard code them into your computer.

Mozilla Firefox (and Seamonkey)

In Firefox, we can do this via about:config.

If you search for geo.provider.network.url you will find the link to Google geolocation API. You will need to replace that with a special piece of code:

data:application/json,{“location”: {“lat”: 50.85367, “lng”: 0.54505}, “accuracy”: 27000.0}

Don’t forget to change the numbers for latitude and longitude appropriately. Once you have done that, press the tick at the end to save the location.

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge

Follow instructions on this page to make the changes in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge here.

Test your location

Check your location with the browserleaks website here, don’t forget to allow the location.

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