The DeliveryDemon now uses www.bing.com for web searches. Google is definitely out of favour. Why? Every time the DeliveryDemon tries to make www.google.com her home page, Google insists on forcing her to use www.google.co.uk Not just that, they insist on noting her machine’s current physical location, which is none of their business and usually completely irrelevant to her web searches.
The DeliveryDemon has nothing against UK websites – it’s horses for courses, or in this case, URLs for searches. And when the DeliveryDemon does a web search she usually wants access to the riches of worldwide information sources.
Google claims that:
‘Google Web Search is customized for a number of countries and regions across the world. For example, Google.fr provides search results that are most relevant for users in France; Google.co.jp is the Google domain for Japan. We try to direct users to the site that will give them the most relevant results.’
Let’s question a few of the assumptions behind that statement.
- Anyone doing a technical search wants the views of the guy down the road, not the expert working for a global organisation.
- If you’re going to a restaurant, you’re more likely to need to be told about the restaurant you see every day in your local high street than about one in a foreign capital you’re about to visit on a business trip.
- If you’re a local yokel living outside the .com region you don’t deserve to be given information about international brands at the top of your search results.
- Search engines exist to enforce geographical limitations.
- Google knows what everyone’s thinking, so it can make decisions on their behalf rather than offering options.
Pretty stupid, yes?
Actually, even when it’s trying to enforce geographical apartheid, Google’s about as good at it as it is at making assumptions about what people want. Using Google’s enforced UK site, the DeliveryDemon did a search on the name of a famous Scottish location which is one of only two dozen global locations to be awarded World Heritage Status for both natural and cultural significance. What did Google’s UK localised search come up with? An entire page of results relating to a suburb of Melbourne, Australia!
If you find Google’s apartheid as annoying as the DeliveryDemon does, there is a workaround. Make your home page http://www.google.com/ncr and you won’t be forced into using Google’s substandard localised search engines. If you do this, Google installs cookies on your machine. The DeliveryDemon has yet to find out what those cookies do – she might just stick with Bing!