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Google Integrates User Location Into Searches

Gordon Kelly


Google Integrates User Location Into Searches

We've all been there: desperately trying to use Google to discover what's going on in our local area but this often seems to be where the ubiquitous search engine falls down. Until now...?

In what could prove to be something of a controversial move, Google has this week finished a worldwide rollout of intuitive local search results by using your current location.

But I don't have GPS in my laptop! you may be thinking. That doesn't matter:

"How do we guess your location? In most cases, we match your IP address to a broad geographical location," explained the company on its official blog. "You can also specify your likely location using the 'Change location' link on the top right corner, above the map. We try to make our guesses as good as they can be so that whether you're shopping for {groceries}, {sporting goods} or {flowers}, or looking for your {bank}, your {gym}, or the {post office}, you can just say what you want, and we'll try to find it right where you are. You can also search for specific stores or street addresses near you."

Useful? Potentially. Likely to have the privacy activists up in arms? Almost inevitably. Quite what Google can exploit with generic IP based data that is open to any Internet user anyway is rather beyond me, so I personally think it's a nifty addition.

That said, I find its rather vague positioning means it is still no match for finding your location on Google Maps and simply typing in pubs what you need...


via The Google Blog


April 7, 2009, 6:08 am


News flash: EVERY single site you visit on the internet logs your IP address since that is it how it manages locate your computer within the network to know where to send the data.

That means anyone that has your IP address also has access to your WHOIS data and can find out your probable location, although this is not always accurate: http://www.ipaddresslocation.o...

Actually getting any personal data from you IP address is another matter entirely, and one which requires cooperation from your ISP since you are protected under the DPA.

Still, it won't assuage the suspicions of those whose favourite headgear consists of thin sheet of Aluminium: http://tinyurl.com/4uozrp


April 7, 2009, 6:29 am

Too far google! too far!


April 7, 2009, 6:42 am

@smc8788 - exactly my point

@Mo - exactly not my point ;)


April 7, 2009, 3:04 pm

Anybody who's complaining about this has clearly never found "Hot girls in Southampton waiting for you!!!"


April 7, 2009, 4:26 pm

W3C have added a new specification for browsers to supply a location you have saved to web sites that request it.

It's in the Firefox and Opera beta versions already I think.


April 7, 2009, 4:34 pm

As smc8788 said, the data is stored anyway, so why not? It'll only be a problem if they tie the data to personally identifiable data and allow this to actively viewed, which I don't see happening.

Technology changes, and so sho

April 7, 2009, 7:19 pm

I'm sure this is a nice feature for them to implement, but I get far better results by zooming the map in to where I am and then searching from there. It's far more local and relevant.

It's such a shame that in most towns in Canada, the better restaurants don't have websites so they don't get listed on GoogleMaps.

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