Frequently Asked Questions
What is Location-Aware Browsing?
Websites that use location-aware browsing will ask where you are in order to bring you more relevant information, or to save you time while searching. Let’s say you’re looking for a pizza restaurant in your area. A website will be able to ask you to share your location so that simply searching for “pizza” will bring you the answers you need... no further information or extra typing required.
Or, if you’re mapping out directions to get somewhere, the website will know where you’re starting from so all you have to do is tell it where you want to go.
This service is totally optional – Firefox doesn’t share your location without your permission – and is done with the utmost respect for your privacy. And, like all elements of Firefox, it’s being created using open standards to ease adoption by Web developers.
How does it work?
When you visit a location-aware website, Firefox will ask you if you want to share your location.
If you consent, Firefox gathers information about nearby wireless access points and your computer’s IP address. Then Firefox sends this information to the default geolocation service provider, Google Location Services, to get an estimate of your location. That location estimate is then shared with the requesting website.
If you say that you do not consent, Firefox will not do anything.
How accurate are the locations?
Accuracy varies greatly from location to location. In some places, our service providers may be able to provide a location to within a few meters. However, in other areas it might be much more than that. All locations returned by our service providers are estimates only and we do not guarantee the accuracy of the locations provided. Please do not use this information for emergencies. Always use common sense.
What information is being sent, and to whom? How is my privacy protected?
Your privacy is extremely important to us, and Firefox never shares your location without your permission. When you visit a page that requests your information, you’ll be asked before any information is shared with the requesting website and our third-party service provider.
By default, Firefox uses Google Location Services to determine your location by sending:
- your computer’s IP address,
- information about the nearby wireless access points, and
- a random client identifier, which is assigned by Google, that expires every 2 weeks.
The information is exchanged over an encrypted connection to protect your privacy. Once Firefox has your location information, it passes it to the website that requested it. At no time is the name or location of the website you are visiting, or are any cookies, ever shared with Google Location Services.
Neither Mozilla or Google will ever use the information collected by Google Location Services to identify or spy on you.
For more information about your privacy, you should also read:
Am I being tracked as I browse the web?
No. Firefox only requests a location when a website makes a request, and only shares your location when the user has approved the request. Firefox does not track or remember your location as you browse.
How do I undo a permission granted to a site?
If you've given Firefox permission to always give your location to a site and later change your mind, you can easily revoke that permission. Here's how:
- Navigate to the site to which you've given permission
- Go to the Tools menu, then select Page Info
- Select the Permissions tab
- Change the setting for Share Location
How do I clear the “random client identification number”?
- Go to the Tools menu, then select Clear Recent History
- Click the Details arrow
- Ensure that Cookies is selected
- Click on Clear Now
How do I turn off Location-Aware Browsing permanently?
Location-Aware Browsing is always opt-in in Firefox. No location information is ever sent without your permission. If you wish to disable the feature completely, please follow this set of steps:
- In the URL bar, type
- Double click on the geo.enabled preference
- Location-Aware Browsing is now disabled