How did you know I am here (while I’m on a laptop with no GPS/cellular network and on a shared internet connection)?
The location is spot-on, like accuracy you’d expect on a dedicated GPS. It’s so accurate it knows that I’m 4 houses in, snuggled at the back of the house.
Mindblowing how little IP geolocation with a magic of WIFI signal triangulation can get you THIS accurate. I call WIFI signal triangulation magic because the SSIDs here change everyday with portable hotspots but still, it managed to get this accurate.
However if you turn off the WIFI totally, the magic disappears.
Still can’t get over it. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA. My God. The longer I look at the accuracy the more amazed I am, I used to think that without GPS, there is no freaking way you can know my exact location, except for nationality and perhaps state.
I think we can “thank” the Google Android users, the WeChatter and Liner and Foursquarer who inadvertently provided those location information to geolocation providers. I speculate that, say when you use the “who’s around me” feature on WeChat, your GPS turns on and the app collects WIFI information and tie them up to the GPS coordinate and send them to WeChat, then WeChat probably shares them with a location provider, who then shares the database with everyone else. NEAT!
I have another idea on how they workaround the frequent SSID changes. All it needs is a live survey….
- Laptop probes WIFI networks available around it.
- Laptop checks for approximate location based on current established location database.
- Laptop uploads all information to coordinator.
- Coordinator (presumed to be Microsoft), asks all Windows computer near laptop for list of WIFI networks.
- Works out where the laptop is.
- Updates the shared geolocation database.
- Sends that information to laptop
Do this every minute, coupled with location aware handheld devices, this becomes plausible.
So guys and gals, you are one of their willingly volunteering probes, deployed all around the world collecting location information.