Blog 52

2011-June-20

The Not So Clever Geeks at Google

I am sure that there are millions of people worldwide who are not in their native country and who want to access the familiar pages they use in their own language.

There was a time, when Google started out, when all they had was a basic search directory, using the likes of Altavista and Inktomi as their search engines.

The only language they knew was English, so if you were English, no matter where you were in the world the search results came back in English. Since that time Google have, not so cleverly, gone native, they have incorporated algorithms that detect a computers location and serve up search results i the local language, a clever idea if it had been thought through carefully. Unfortunately, by not taking account of the language abilities of visitors to a country their Internet search engine has gone backwards.

I have to say that of circa 2013 there has been some improvement in that there is now a link on the results page that will take to to an English results page, but this does not always appear.

Google recently launched Google+, so I thought why not, guess what, it's all in Turkish [since I reside in Turkey], clever or what? My Google account is set to 'ENGLISH', my search requests are in ENGLISH, My default browser is set to force a search in ENGLISH but despite all this I still get at least 50% of what I do and search for in Turkish.

It is strange that Google have not applied the same technology they already use in Google translate to determine automatically the input language into their browser search bar. If a search query is in Swedish, serve up the results in Swedish, or would that be too difficult?

It is a fact that only 8% of American citizens have a passport, so I guess it is understandable that the Geeks at Google assume that almost everyone stays in their own country and there is no reason to tune their search engine to deliver up meaningful results to the 'few' people who live, work or otherwise do business in countries other than their home country.

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