I do not want my physical location revealed. How to stop/prevent this?
In addition, when I travel abroad I want search engines to continue to operate as if I was in the USA.
Additional System Details
- User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; rv:48.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/48.0
In most cases, these settings are determined by your operating system based on the information provided by the internet connection that you are currently connected. Due to content restrictions, it can be illegal to falsify this information.
The reason that some websites display differently in different regions is because your system is using a different DNS server. The DNS server is the service which converts your URL into the IP address for the website that you are attempting to connect to. Some websites contain different IP addresses based on the region. The DNS server is usually controlled and set by the ISP.
In some cases, using a Virtual Private Network, often known as a VPN, can bypass region restrictions. However, you should always ensure that you are using these services in a way that complies with laws in the region.
If you have a problem with Google while traveling, try either:
- on the home page Google switches you to, look for a link to use Google in English
- https://www.google.com/ncr (should set a "no country redirect" cookie, but it's difficult to test from here...)
Other search engines presumably have their own methods.
Thanks to both for the helpful suggestions. I will try to better illustrate the issue. Before posting, I was already able to set Google to not prioritize search results to the country I was. However, for each search operation I have to go to the Google page first and conduct a search from there, which is quite time consuming. So, the fastest way is to use Firefox search box or the bar. Keep in mind I have set Firefox as the default browser and to only use Google (no other search engine listed as options for Firefox). However, Firefox must be transmitting my location to Google, because when I search this way the local country stuff comes through prioritized instead. Now, please consider this: I set up IE (Internet Explorer) as the default browser, open Firefox and repeat my exact search (from Firefox, not from IE).... this does not happen and Google searches the way I wanted. I really would prefer to keep Firefox as the default browser, but I can't waste this much time. So, my request is for the Firefox developers to please find a way to overcome this.
Google does have access to your location, but you should be able to block access to that.
Navigate to Google in Firefox and click the blue information button on the address bar. On the right side of where it says that Google is using a secure connection, click the arrow and then click the More information button that should appear. This will open the website's information. Navigate to the Permissions tab and you should see a permission that says Access your location. It will probably have Use default checked by default, so you will need to uncheck that and select Block.
You can then close that window and the settings will be saved. Then clear your cache and cookies and restart Firefox.
Does this solve the problem? Please let us know.
On a side note, I'm fairly certain that Google and some other websites determine your location by using your IP address. Your IP address gives Google information about your connection, including your location. You can't stop Google from getting your IP address unless you setup a proxy server.
Before posting, I was already able to set Google to not prioritize search results to the country I was. However, for each search operation I have to go to the Google page first and conduct a search from there, which is quite time consuming.
Could you describe in more detail the steps to get the results page you want? Is it on Google.com or one of the country sites? If you search for firefox what is the URL of the results page with the results in the order you want them? If you copy paste that URL from that results window to a new private window (assuming you did the search in a regular window), does it still work there or do you get redirected?
Firefox must be transmitting my location to Google, because when I search this way the local country stuff comes through prioritized instead.
Websites receive your IP address assigned by your current network service provider, which might be your hotel's broadband provider, the coffee shop's wi-fi provider, or a mobile network operator. IP addresses are necessary to return results to you, so it's not possible to not provide an IP address. The most common way to change that is to use a private VPN (as mentioned earlier).
Now, please consider this: I set up IE (Internet Explorer) as the default browser, open Firefox and repeat my exact search (from Firefox, not from IE).... this does not happen and Google searches the way I wanted.
I'm still puzzling over this. Are you starting up IE? If you check your IP address before and after this switch, does it change? You can use my test page to see the IP address reported to websites:
There also are pages that check a number of services and report the location associated with your IP address, such as: