Google has spoken: Location, Location, LOCATION
For a long time people have benefited from Google’s localized search results at various domains which include google.co.uk for England, google.com for the US and google.co.jp for Japan. Now, you cannot change your location to filter Google search engine results. Today, Google will only provide results that are relevant to your location regardless of the Google domain you use when searching. Therefore, if you are currently living in New York and use google.ru during your research, you will only get the results relevant to New York City.
According to Google, in every five searches one is associated with location. They therefore feel that it is critical to provide local information for better results and user satisfaction. Most of the features are seemingly tailored toward visitors. If you happen to leave your country, Google will automatically serve results that are local to where you are visiting. It will then automatically switch back to your home country immediately you land. In the past, travelers could not get what Google now sees as the ideal search engine results. Custom Design Partners specializes in working with charities and nonprofits, local charities depend highly on the localized search algorithm.
However, the change will not affect how Google handles legal requirements which include removal of some results under the Europe’s Right To BE Forgotten law. Google will remove results appropriate for the location they have set their search. If the searcher is in a country that requires removal of results, Google will strip out results regardless of the location they have selected. Even more, the company has operated most of its existing services such as Gmail and YouTube in the same manner. The policy of serving local results now applies to both mobile and desktop searches in addition to iOS Google app and Google maps.
How the new algorithm operates
To provide optimal experience and to determine the country results you should receive across Google Maps and Search, Google relies on your location. Historically, people labeled and accessed the services through Country Code Top Level Domain Names (ccTLDs) which include google.com.br for Brazil or google.ng for Nigeria. Most probably, you have been typing the relevant ccTLDs in your phone or desktop browser when searching.
If for any reason the right country does not appear on your web browser, you will have to go to settings and choose the appropriate country service you would like to receive. As you have already seen, typing ccTLDs in your search bar will not enable to conduct as if you are living in several countries – you have to manage the preference in settings directly. Moreover, you will clearly see the country service you are using near the bottom of your search results page.
While the update will highly change the labelling of Google Search and Google Maps, it will not alter their functioning and it will not change how Google handles obligations under the national law. The update is here to help you get relevant results depending on your location. It is also consistent with how Google has been managing its services across other platforms like Blogger, YouTube, Google Earth and Gmail.
Therefore, the change is likely to improve your Search experience because it will automatically provide the most relevant information depending on your search queries and location.
Why they decided to remove the filter feature
Google has been updating its system regularly and this time, they have decided to roll out the location search filter. In the past, they have removed most of their search tools and filters. So, this might not be a surprise to most people.
Even though they claim that they took the step due to the features lack of use, they might have also done that with an aim of making it hard to reach the United States search results from other countries. With the Right To Be Forgotten Law, Google is pressured to ensure that searchers from Europe cannot see US results. After removing the feature, Google will concentrate on improving the other important features.
What to do
According to Google, the filter removal will not change how Google Search or Google Maps function. Instead, it will help you get the most relevant information relating to your location and search. It is also consistent with how they have been managing services across the other platforms.
Even more, the update is more useful for tourists and business travelers, who can transition maps and searches from one location to the other without having to make manual changes. On the downside, it might make searching for the global trends hard for marketing professionals as they might not see what is happening outside their location.