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I've just arrived in Budapest, Hungary and logged on to my computer.

I'm tunnelling my connection through a VPS server I rent in the UK using SSH. A visit to whatismyip.com reports the I.P. address of the server I'm tunnelling through.

However, when I do a google search I get the following:

How does Google know?

This scares me a little bit, how on earth has Google guessed that I am in Hungary?

Wi-Fi is disabled and I have not made any changes to my time zone settings. My laptop does not have any GPS functionality, nor am I connecting using a mobile network.

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are you on wifi? –  Sathya Apr 6 '12 at 8:55
    
I'm not on Wi-fi and it is disabled by a hardware switch, also I haven't updated my time zone settings yet. –  Andy Smith Apr 6 '12 at 10:01
    
How are you tunneling the connection? Chrome alone through a SOCKS proxy, or the entire machine using OpenVPN? –  Dan Dascalescu Jan 23 at 7:35
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think it determines it from where did the DNS lookup took place. If the DNS lookup took place from your country then it would display the suggestion. Have a look at http://searchengineland.com/how-does-google-know-where-you-are-77422

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Your screenshot tells us that you might be running Google Chrome or a very similar browser which is based on Chromium. This browser knows where you are (time zone settings, maybe Wifi networks, maybe based on other settings) and suggests you another search engine address.

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I've replied to this comment above but I will update the q to tate chrome is what knows where I am –  Andy Smith Apr 6 '12 at 10:02
    
Thanks for the update. I think Akito's reply is in fact the better one - they might be determing your location based on where the DNS lookups come from. –  Valentin Apr 6 '12 at 11:25
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Well, I figure the proxy just forwards the "Accept-Language" header of the HTTP request you want it to tunnel. In my case, as I am from Germany, it looks like this: "Accept-Language:de-DE,de;q=0.8,en-US;q=0.6,en;q=0.4,sv;q=0.2"

So, even if you are in fact anonymous (in that you do not have any cookies on your machine that are passed on to google etc.) and non-locatable (as the proxy makes your location appear to be the UK), the HTTP Request header will still tip off the called site that your language preference is Hungarian.

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But this is my UK laptop, I had just arrived from the UK to Budapest and made no configuration changes. I believe the DNS answer is correct as DNS is generally not tunnelled through SSH. –  Andy Smith Apr 26 '12 at 7:54
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