Google Adds Location Info to Gmail Signatures

Time stamping is a standard feature in all email systems. With a time stamp, we know exactly when an email was sent, but we don’t know where it was sent from. Marco Bonechi, a Software Engineer with Google, loves to travel and is often asked via email, “Where are you?” This got Bonechi thinking, so he utilized his 20% time at Google to develop an experimental Gmail Labs feature that will detect your location and append the city region and country names to your signature. It looks something like this:

To try the feature, sign into your Gmail account, open the Settings menu, and navigate to the Labs section. You’ll have to scroll down but eventually you should see the Location in Signature option. In order to use this handy little feature, you must also have your signature enabled. After enabling the Location in Signature option, go to your signature preferences (found in the General Settings tab), and check the box next to "Append your location to the signature."

This feature uses your public IP address to decipher your location. As a result, it may not always be the most accurate. For example, Bonechi points out that if you're at Heathrow airport, IP detection may put you in Germany. To get more accurate location detection, Bonechi recommends making sure your browser has a version of Gears that supports the location module. Gears will then utilize Wi-Fi access point signals to recognize that you’re actually in London.

As with other features, you can disable the option at any time. You can also delete your location from specific emails whenever you want. The feature isn’t 100% polished yet, as some users have reported random capitalization of city names as well as a lack of commas and other punctuation. Even so, for digital nomads who are constantly on the move and want to communicate their current location without much effort, this feature is certainly a good first step.