Configure access points with Google Location Service

To improve your use of location-based services, Google, as a location service provider, uses publicly broadcast Wi-Fi data from wireless access points, as well as GPS and cell tower data.

Location services play an important part in enabling many of today’s most popular location-aware applications, in particular on smart phones, laptops and other devices that are WiFi enabled. The inclusion of your WiFi access point in the Google Location Service enables applications like Google Maps to work better and more accurately.

Only publicly broadcast Wi-Fi information is used to estimate the location of a device.

You can control whether or not your access point is included in GLS by following the steps below.

How do I opt out?

You can opt out by changing the SSID (name) of your WiFi access point (your wireless network name) so that it ends with “_nomap”. For example, if your SSID is “12345,” you would need to change it to “12345_nomap”.

You can click on the link below that corresponds to the manufacturer of your access point, to find specific instructions on changing your access point’s SSID. If you received your access point from your ISP, you may wish to contact them to find out how to change the SSID.

  • Apple
  • Belkin
  • Linksys (Cisco)
  • Netgear
  • US Robotics

For example, on many access points, you can access the control panel through which you can change its SSID using the following steps:

  1. Establish a physical connection between your access point and your computer using an ethernet cable.
  2. Establish the default gateway of your connection:
    • On Windows, type ‘ipconfig’ into the command prompt (accessed from the start menu).
    • On Mac OS, type ‘ifconfig’ into the command prompt.
    • On Linux, type ‘ifconfig’ into the command prompt.
  3. Once you have the default gateway (it will look like 192.168.0.1), type it into the address bar of your web browser, this will take you to the control panel for your access point.
  4. You may have to sign in to your access point’s control panel. If so, the appropriate username and password should have been included in the booklet included when you received the access point.

After you’ve changed your SSID, you will need to re-establish a connection to the network using it's new name from any Wifi enabled devices such as your laptop or phone. If your network is secured with a password, the password should not have changed.

One way to ensure that your changed SSID is submitted to Google quickly, open Google Maps on an Android Device with WiFi enabled, and use the My Location feature to establish a location fix in the vicinity of your WiFi access point.

Will opting out of the Google Location Service remove my access point from the location services of other providers?
Each location service provider operates independently, but the SSID method of opting out can be seen by other providers, and we encourage others in the industry to respect the “_nomap” tag as an opt out from inclusion in a Location Server.