This one's a tad off the beaten Android path but is something you should know about. You might well have heard that Google, in an effort to speed up a number of things involving location, has built a database of Wifi access points. The idea, of course, is that if your phone is in range of one or more APs, it'll have a pretty good idea of where you are, thus speeding location services.

The flip side is that it's not just public access points that have been cataloged. Your home Wifi might well be recognized, too (and Google's gotten in a little bit of hot water for accidentally collecting more data than it should have).

But you can now opt out of having your Wifi included in Google's database. To do so is simple enough. Just change your SSID (that's the name of your hotspot) and add _nomap to the end of it. (See our example above.) Takes about 30 seconds to do, though you'll have to reconnect your phones and what not.

Google's hoping that other location providers will also start to use the _nomap string, and it's got some helpful instructions, should you need a hand with your router.

Source: Google

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How to hide your Wifi from Google's location database

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We shouldn't have to opt out. We should have to opt in. I know it's not hard to do, but I shouldn't be forced to jump through hoops. It should be the other way around.

This is ridiculous. An SSID is an arbitrary string; if you pick one that is any way remotely identifiable or related to you, you're an idiot. If you worry about these things, you might as well walk around in public with a paper bag on your head and/or drive without a licence plate, like Steve Jobs.

It is true that it's not a big deal. I don't think people are upset that their SSID is stored in google's database, but they are more upset at the concept.

Although harmless, people shouldn't have to rename their network to opt out of something they never signed up for in the first place.

I see both sides of this. I suppose I'm neutral.

how about adding _map instead to opt in instead of having to opt out? never was ASKED to be included in their database to begin with...

I take the contrary view.

You use the public airways.
Helping others find their location costs you nothing, and provides a public service to pay for your consumption of limited public bandwidth.

Opting out for no obvious reason is "bad for the web".(tm)

All they map is beacon-transmitted SSID and location. Its not like they even know or publish your public facing IP.

I wager you're the first to bitch when you phone can't give you your position within 2 seconds of firing up Google Maps..... view is that this is a permission/privacy issue. If we were to track, modify or use Goggles data they would have us in court before you could say NSA!!!

It is stupid that we should have to name it to THEIR specs to be opted out. What happens when Microsoft starts the same thing and requires "_noms" on the end? I think the whole thing is silly, but the "solution" to the "problem" is even sillier.

Then the AP name would be something like MYAPISHERE_nomap_noms_nomac_nobbm_nopsn_nosam_nolg_nohtc...

I'm 99.9% sure they're getting the location AFTER you've connected with your phone - from the phone itself, so your SSID (or any other parameter) being hidden is irrelevant once you're connected.

I'm resonably sure that's not it. Google has a fleet of cars that roam the planet acquiring location data, and they include WiFi detection, and map their locations.

Possible, but would be horribly out of date a month later in many places, not necessary, and needlessly expensive to maintain and update. They have everything they need on the phone.

They did that initially, but don't need to do that anymore now that Android phones are everywhere. Fire up AlogCat some time and walk around your neighborhood.

Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

With SSID broadcast turned off, there is no point in Google mapping your access point, because nobody else could use it to assist in determining their location.

Since the AP never broadcasts it SSID or mac address in the beacons, its useless.

I guess I can maybe understand wanting to opt out but the problem I see is this. My service provider AND Goggle already know EVERYTHING there is to know about me anyway, opting out isn't going to change a thing other than making my foil hat happy. And Phil isn't that supposed to be YoGabbaGabba? You have a little one, I know you have sat through that God awful Nick Jr show a bazillion times ;-)
Also BTW for you people who feel you do not need to Root your phone but are concerned with privacy you should read this article from XDA. Now this is something we should be upset about, HTC and Samsung have basically hidden Key loggers on our phones and are selling everything about us they can collect. Now that is invasion.

Sorry, but that is just a stupid response. "Because they already know everything about me, I should just let them have access to everything else about me".

I agree that there are far more things to worry about than this whole SSID stuff, but that is still not the right attitude to take. It is almost as bad as "I have nothing to hide, so just take any information you want from me".

I really don't see why there is a problem with mapping Wi-Fi locations. It's REALLY helpful when GPS is not available. Cell towers are very rough guides to location and Wi-Fi is more accurate.

It seems a bit paranoid to me and there are other things that are far more intrusive like Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

Nobody knows who you runs the Wi-Fi or the EXACT location.

Perhaps someone could explain why someone would want to deliberately exclude their wi-fi from assisting other people in a non-intrusive and cost free manner.

You're being really naive about network intrusion if you think EVERY piece of info you give up about your network doesn't constitute another possible exposure. Is the risk high? No, but it is very real, and some folks are more cautious than others, or just very private about all their info. By the way, you do realize that large companies, like Google, whom I admire, have human sysadmins that make mistakes, don't you? And that any number of service providers have either had databases hacked, or forgot to encrypt a backup tape that gets lost on the way to the vault, ad nauseam.
Do you think the ONLY thing they register is your SSID and location? I doubt it, and when this changes, they're not going to to tell you. There are many reasons to hide both your SSID and your location, and most importantly, to try and maintain control or your own info. It really isn't a matter of folks not wanting to contribute.

Tin Foil much?

Google has been more than forthcoming about exactly what they collect, even reporting their own violations to the world opening themseves up for massive fines.

That's the most rediculous tin foil hat nonesense ever. Get any WiFi scanner app and see what you see on your on network. an SSID, what channel it's on, what security, strength of the signal, and that's it. it's secured (right?) so they aren't connecting to it. and if you're dumb enough to actually put anything personally identifiable in your SSID like your name (god I see that around my apartment alot) you're an idiot.

There's much more bigger personal information leaks, like public birth records. OMG I have so much spam in my physical mailbox since we had a baby it's rediculous.

^I love when people like this who don't have a clue as to what hackers can do with your SSID (especially when it's only WEP-protected) talk like they are immune to everything just because of what Windows tells them.

That is not so.
I live in India, and if you check what location my ISP/AP gives, then it will say that i am at the west side of the place i live in, which is wrong as i live in east side.

I'm sorry but opting in is pointless, WiFi isn't secure and BROADCASTS all the data. It is like complaining because someone over herd you while using a megaphone in central park.

Sorry, maybe YOUR wireless is that open, but many of us encrypt ours. 26 digits of encryption isn't bullet proof, but it isn't a megaphone either. Somebody would REALLY have to want to listen to YOUR encrypted network, and have some time on their hands to decrypt the data in the air, WAY easier to break into the wired network in many cases!


Many of us? Really?

I'm willing to wager a good amount (if not the majority) don't even know how to access their router options, let alone encrypt it.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Google should not have to do this, and nobody should be allowed to compel them to. As a wifi hotspot owner, you are literally broadcasting a radio signal. If you don't want people to see that signal, turn it off.

I've never turned on "location service" on my Inspire 4G; do I still need to opt out of this?

I do use location service on my Toshiba Thrive; however I don't have as much personal data on my tablet as on my phone. Actually, my Thrive requires syncing of "background data" in order to use the calendar and the android market so I suppose 'twouldn't be beneficial to opt out on this device as it would become 95% useless. . .

Please pardon my ignorance on this matter; I welcome your opinions/advice. :)

EDIT: I mainly use my private home studio wifi broadband network (Samsung Hotspot/Verizon) for both devices.

You've totally mistaken what this article is about.

Its about your router, not you phone or your tablet.

Why should Google dictate how I name my Wi-Fi network? This data collection should be opt-in, not opt-out!

Yes, Why should i add such _nomap, and in future _noms, no_apple, _nopsm, _nolg, _nosamsung, _noXYZ to my address, it is my property and I should decide what is should look like.
May not in future, Google stores your Wi-Fi password, bank Acc Passwords(It Does actually), What I eat, my timetable, etc and ask to add a nomap in front of it.
Present your food in "_nomap" look to opt out?
my bank online pass like Xyxyyxyx_nomap, etc?

If you don't make your ssid private (hidden) don't complain about it being public. This is one of those 'privacy' issues that is really non-issue. It's like putting out a neon sign and complaining about people taking pictures of it.

This doesn't bother me. I've taken the street address numbers off my house. So even if your phone locates you based on detecting my wifi signal, you still won't know where I live... Muhahaha!


Just emailed Google
with a subject quit turning evil
Invite everyone to do the same or something similar

Why do I need to change my SSID and all the devices that use it to "Opt-Out" of a service I never asked to be a part of?
What if Bing, decide tomorrow that they need some suffix at the end of my SSID or they'll do something weird with it?
What if my business requires a certain SSID for security and documentation?
What if while I'm making these SSID changes I go ahead and change my default search engine to something else.
What if while I'm at it I just change my default email....

Bad Google....Quit turning evil....

Hi guys, my first post, lol. I do agree that google is bad and seems to be trying to take over the world. I read about some app last night (I didn't get much sleep last night and cannot think of which app it was), but it said it could take pictures of whatever the phone sees without you knowing it, and the only way to prevent it is to turn your phone off. That really bothers me! Sorry, I got a bit off of the wifi subject. ;-0

Big brother is watching us. Everything. We do on our phones is stored at Google. As far as privacy fhere is none. Clear all your data your phone before u go to bed and leave your phone and data on all night.check it when you wake up. You might just find that ghost were using it / boo./ lo