Is Google sending you to foreign countries?

Update (12/3/08): The “let us know” link in this article has been repaired.

In my earlier post, “Why is Google sending me to France?”, I discussed a problem many people are experiencing at Google: Being redirected to another country domain. In my case, France or www.google.fr. Skylarking reader, Lulu, has also been experiencing this problem, as well as a few readers over at Martin Brinkman’s Google Hacks blog.

Though many people have suspected spyware or viral activity, I had suggested a misread or misdirected IP address. Yes, spyware could cause such a problem, but Google’s computers read your IP (Internet Protocol) address, and attempt to detect your geographic location based upon that numeric address.

Today, I found to some people over at Google Groups who were commenting on this same problem. The “Google Guide” responded by directing them to the Google Web Search Help article “Connecting to Google: Redirecting to another country domain”.  Here’s what the article had to say:

General information

We normally redirect users in countries other than the United States from http://www.google.com to one of our country-specific sites (e.g. http://www.google.co.uk for Google UK) to provide easy access to country-specific search features. We use your computer’s IP address, which is frequently the Internet address of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), to determine your location and the corresponding Google domain.

If you’d prefer to visit Google.com instead, click the Google.com link on the bottom right-hand side of the Google homepage.

If you have cookies enabled, your browser will connect directly to Google.com on all subsequent visits. For more information on cookies, please visit http://www.google.com/cookies.html and http://www.google.com/privacy.html

Tips to prevent the redirect

If cookies are disabled, you’ll experience the same redirect each time you visit Google. Try these methods to prevent the redirect:

Report incorrect IP detection

Finally, if you feel that we’re detecting your IP address incorrectly, please let us know and we’ll investigate.

Using the “let us know” link will take you to a form where you can report a misdirected IP address to Google. The form asks for your Name, email address, your geographic location (City, State, Country), your IP address, and the Google domain you are being redirected to. I filled in the form this afternoon. I’ll see what happens. It will take time, of course.

If you don’t know your IP address, you can find it by going to http://whatsmyip.org/.

Now I just have to find a way to keep my PC here in New York now that it’s seen France. Oh, Google?


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7 comments

  1. I really hate it when Google does that!
    Sometimes Google tries to be too smart. I don’t want google to automatically jump to a different country and/or language. I just want plain English results 🙂
    Fortunately you can change this behaviour in the preferences.
    But that will not stop Google from thinking you are in France…

  2. Geo ID is a very common practice at Google. In a sense it is an essential part of their business as they use Geo ID via IP to determine what advertisements to display on search results and on web sites using the Adsense system.

    Anyone having these redirect problems on Google will notice that the Google ads they see on web sites are often displayed in the language of the country they have been getting redirected to.

  3. […] Please read the follow-up article: “Is Google sending you to foreign countries?” for suggested […]

  4. Ray says:

    I guess google believes that people are not smart enough to decide what websites they want to visit – this must be another Chinese demand on Google.

    I am an American living overseas and I want to visit Google.com Not Google(country I currently live) and the answers of – Oh just click the google.com icon is not a solution as I have to continually reset my preferences (because to boys at Google cannot in their infinite wisdom retain preferences from country sites). This is REALLY annoying and very arrogant of Google to think that users are not smart enough to decide what homepage they want to visit.

    Fix this Problem Google. NOW!

    • Hi, Ray. Thanks for writing. This is also related to Google’s Adwords system which displays ads based upon geographic location. They try to geiographically target you when you visit their web sites so they display ad content that is relevant to “where you are” and not to “where you want to be”. The ability to opt-out wouldn’t be an attractive aspect of Google ads for advertisers. So they’re chasing the money here.

  5. dude says:

    could they not just detect your location, send you where you want to go and give you the ads that match your location without forcing you to visit the wrong page every time?

  6. […] since the mass Google country specific redirects back in 2008, users in the UK search and receive results from Google.co.uk by default. Whilst that makes perfect […]

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