December 19, 2006

Google in English
Mar del Plata, Argentina

How to break free from Google's country-specific homepages.

Here's the scenario: You're in an Internet café and bring up google.com, but something's different. The logo isn't the same and the text is in gibberish (or worse yet, in Quechua). You try hitting the "Google in English" link, but the same page keeps appearing. Search results are likewise obscure. Annoyed, you grit your teeth and bare it, or switch to a different search engine.

The culprit is Google's geo-targeting the IP address of the computer your on and displaying a country-specific search portal—or, simply put, Google thinks it knows where you're at in the world, and is opting to display everything in the regional language. Google has a lot of these custom portals—just try clicking on one of the myriad flags on their international page.

This can be great for a local, but it can be rough on a traveler—and annoying for all when Google gets the location wrong.

Even using the portable web browser (Firefox) on my USB thumb/flash drive, Google still tries to do the regional search portal thing. Happily, this can all be overcome without much effort at all.

There's a simple solution that will tell Google to stop using the custom country page. Typing in (or bookmarking) http://google.com/ncr tells the search engine to lay off the fancy stuff, and give you the default U.S. page. 'NCR' means 'non country redirect'.

Although everything will (probably) be in English, the search results displayed will not be the same as those generated for folks in the United States. Google will still try and by smart serving up the most relevant content based on your (perceived) location.

Comments:

Anonymous

December 25th, 2006

Craigor,

Thanks for the tip, buddy. I've wondered how to fix this for years.

GM

grumpyboy

October 6th, 2008

great thanks mate

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