Geolocation, the retrieval of a connecting user's location in the world, can be beneficial to both user and website operator. When you connect o a weather website for instance, it is often the case that you want weather information for the location you are at.
It can also be comfortable to be redirected to a country-specific version of a website.
Sometimes however, geolocation can backfire. This can be the case if you want to look up weather information for another location, if you don't want to be redirected automatically, or if the location that the service discovers is incorrect.
Privacy is usually not part of the problem and the main reason for that is that browsers such as Firefox display prompts before websites may access your location. Then again, if you allow it you may dislike that it can pinpoint your location precisely.
Location Guard is a relative new extension for the Firefox web browser that can be configured individually for each domain you visit that wants to access location-based features.
It offers two main features: the first enables you to add noise to your location so that it cannot be pinpointed with accuracy anymore. The second feature on the other hand sets your location to any place in the world.
The preferences are automatically loaded after installation. Here you can select to increase or decrease the accuracy of the location sensor. At its least accurate level, its accuracy is 7116 meters which means that it will be up to 7116 meters away from your real location.
Fixed position on the other hand is set to a single location in the world which is then used by location-based services instead of the real one.
The Location Guard extension adds an icon to the main toolbar which you use to customize which of the two options are used when you connect to the active website.
There is always a third option available and that is to use your real location for that site.
It needs to be noted that this works only if HTML5 is being used to retrieve the location. It won't protect you if sites you connect to use your IP address instead. The IP address may be less accurate but it can reveal a discrepancy between locations to the service.
Here are some uses for the extension:
Now You: Are you using location-based services? If so which?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.