I'm using a VPN service (purevpn) and I notice that google knows my location even when I use noscript and a firefox private window.

Is there something I can do to stop this?

Remark: I'm living in Brazil which official language is Portuguese.

I started a VPN connection using a French server:

I went to http://www.whatismyip.com/ see if the VPN connection is running ok.

Then when I access google it keeps in Portuguese language, how does it know I know portuguese?

Related questions


My default search engine is Startpage which is very secure, I would like to know how google track me to prevent other sites to do the same.

  • Have you added AdBlock Edge? Many sites use local google-analytics scripts. Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 19:17
  • @DeerHunter I'm using noscript and Ghostery, they do the job!
    – user26832
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 19:21
  • Try to sign out your google account and clean cookies then refresh the page.
    – emy
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 5:33
  • Did you install all these security measures after you have been running Google services unprotected, or are they present from day 1?
    – user13695
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 8:01

3 Answers 3


In my hands, both Chrome's incognito and Firefox's private browsing still send the HTTP header line HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE => 'en-US,en;q=0.5' headers, telling all and sundry that I want American English. I haven't tried all the various plugins you mention, but I would be surprised if any of them block this header.

If you run your own web server, you can see what your browser sends out by a simple CGI script like this:

use CGI;
use Data::Dumper;
my $cgi=new CGI;
print $cgi->header(), $cgi->start_html();
print $cgi->Dump();
print $cgi->pre(Dumper(\%ENV));
  • Do you know what the effect of "q=0.5" is?
    – user49075
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 2:01
  • @RickyDemer stackoverflow.com/questions/8552927/…
    – Brilliand
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 19:04
  • Most web browsers allow you to edit your language preferences somewhere in their settings. You might want to mention this.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 10:59

They're probably setting the language based on your system and browser's language setting, not based on your location.

  • 1
    How to prevent this kind of action?
    – user26832
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 13:44
  • How does google do this? Everything is blocked in my browser.
    – user26832
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 13:46
  • 1
    @user26832 This does not rely on any kind of script or tracking - your browser automatically sends your preferred languages to all websites so they can serve pages in your own language, if available. The privacy implications of this is fairly minimal but you can easily change your preferred language in firefox; see pchelp.ricmedia.com/change-mozilla-firefox-language-settings
    – tlng05
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 13:47
  • @user26832 Most web browsers allow to edit these language preferences somewhere in their settings. In chrome, it's in Settings->Advanced->Languages.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 10:59

Actually, Google uses various cues to decide what to display, including your IP, HTTP headers, the domain name you typed and your Google account's preferences. I was too lazy to track what it does but I noticed this has changed over the years. I know this because I do not often use the main language of my place of residence, I travel often, and my browsers and Google accounts are configured to ask for various other languages.

A quick test suggests that the domain name redirection (in your case to google.fr) is based on your location (as suggested by your IP) while the language configuration is not based on it. It seems the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header is only honored because Google can't find any cookie or other info. If I go to google.com without clearing cookies after logging with my google account, I get an English-language version, ignoring my browser's configuration. If I go there with a clean browser or in private browsing mode, I get the language that corresponds to my browser's settings. I never get the language that would correspond to my location.

The bottom line is that you don't know that Google is able to track your location.

Also, try visiting http://maps.google.com/ with various IP…

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