Here is the situation. I signed into my mother's desktop using her password. So I should not be detected as different user. But as you will see later on, the map knew it was ME????

I opened her email to check something I had sent to her Verizon mail (had sent it previously, not right then, using my Gmail from my cell). Then I signed onto a forum using Explorer and a password. My forum profile has my email address in it, which is Gmail (not sure if this means anything).

I wanted to open a map to see where someone on the forum lived, so I googled the words "google map" (she didn't have shortcut). Google results came up, I clicked on the first link, the map opened.

And here's where it gets freaky....to me at least.

IT HAD "BONNIE" IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND SIDE!!! How did the map know IT WAS ME using her PC???? I cannot figure out how it knew I was using the PC???

It also had a couple address searches listed that I had done on my tablet at my house (also linked to Gmail), not at her house (so not in the same exact GPS location). And I did not have my tablet with me when this happened. I may be telling you unrelated info, but wanted you to have ALL the facts. I'm not tech savvy so don't know what's important.

I am in no way connected to her PC. I used her sign-in password, I have no log in info on it, I did not log into Google, she has no wi-fi. She has Verizon DSL. (I'd seen in this thread on here with a similar question How does Google Maps know where I am, when I'm using a VPN? that that might matter).

I cannot recall ever using google map on her PC before and even if I did, I do not think I would have signed into it. I would have just used it as a guest, so to speak.

I did have my cell phone nearby, which was also mentioned in that same thread. But I still do not know how the map knew it was me on the PC.

Can someone explain this to me?

Also, I never use +Google but it had all these pics of some people I know who also have Gmail, but then tons of others who are total strangers, saying they were all people I knew. It also had a whole lot but not all of my contacts (prolly only people I have Gmailed). I realize that both my mail and the map are "google" but did not know the map would pull up all that info. I did not like that at all.

Odd thing is, I could not duplicate this occurrence once I shut down everything and restarted (because I was so freaked out). I tried the map without having anything else open. I tried it after opening up her mail. I tried after logging back onto that forum. I tried sending her another email from my cell to see if that somehow "opened a doorway".

Each time, the map opened as if it did not recognize me. It just knew the PC was in VA. And when I went to "my places", it asked me to log in versus giving me prior search results like before.

Also the first time, it was a full screen map. The other times, when it did not recognize me, it was a 3/4 screen map with words and stuff off to the left.

I am not a security specialist but I could not find anywhere in the HELP section that said I could not ask a question on here. I hope I stated my question clearly and that someone can solve this mystery for me. It really shook me up because I feel like I have somehow made my mom's PC vulnerable, like I have opened some kind of doorway into it. And I don't like that AT ALL

  • Have you every signed in as yourself to any Google service on her PC? GMail, perhaps? The Google services all use a shared login.
    – Brilliand
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 23:14
  • Thank u all for the replies!!! I will respond when I am at her house and can try things u suggest. Can't type well on this tablet...lol. Bonnie
    – brit5467
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 5:50

2 Answers 2


Another possibility is the forum you're using used an OpenID account to sign you into the forum. Similar to what Armani was saying, at the point you login with that OpenID you'll set the cookie that lets Google know you're a user on that machine. The login on the page itself was for your mother, but the map picked up the cookie and read your profile. When you closed the browser it closed the sessions, so you weren't logged in when you tried to replicate the results.

If you go back into the forum and log in and then try to access the map check to see if you have the same results.

You can go into your Google account and restrict the types of information they keep on you. Also you can open a private browsing session in most browsers when you need to use your mother's computer to do something like check your e-mail. That way all of the cookies are cleared when you close that window.


If you have ever signed in to any Google service (Google+, Gmail, YouTube [ever had to watch a video that required age verification?]), then your login cookie stayed in the browser. It sounds like, since your mother uses Verizon for email, she never had a reason to sign you out in order to sign herself in, since she doesn't use a Google service (or not one that requires signing in).

The alternative is that someone at your mother's house obtained your password somehow and is checking up on you (aka spying on you).

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