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Open WiFi Networks Giving Google Your Physical Location

For quite sometime Google has been sending out vehicles all over the world to drive around taking pictures of neighborhoods for its Street View product. If you haven’t looked at Street View before, it’s an amazing feature. You can find a place in Google maps and then see just what it looks like.

What I didn’t know was this same vehicle that was snapping these pictures was also collecting the names and unique MAC address of every open WiFi network they encounter. The MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique identifier assigned to network adapters or network interface cards, this address is intended to be a permanent and globally unique identification number. By collecting the MAC address and a GPS reading they can tell exactly where on the globe these WiFi connections are located .

When you are using an open WiFi Network that Google has indexed, they will be able to tell where you are.

If I have a question, I ask Google because it know everything, doesn’t it?

Google Blogs about this.

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