De-I18N: Google doesn’t work for me any more

February 18th, 2006

Once upon a time the was a search engine called Google. It had been a friendly search-machine and everyone liked it - not everyone of course , there was this nasty Giant of Redmond that was feared by everyone but also disliked by everyone.

End of the fairy-tale.

Google wants to make more money and “the next big thing” is localized services - if one believes the web to-point-”Ohh!” evangelist - formerly knows as the guys who didn’t get a word a Starbuck’s right and used them as brand names instead - who needs vowels, especially the ‘e’ is largely overrated (See G. Perec La disparition /A Void).
No google.de etc. are fully localized (to target you with more adspam). Also they provide more top-listed sites (It depends which google you talk about)… If I had the choice, they can do so, but what really bothers me is that it ignores whenI search with english or french terms: I still get only german pages… unless NO pages exists in german on the topic. Even if there is a single hit in german all other 200.000.000 hits are ignored…

Don’t say that I have to change my language preferences - they don’t have any effect on that: If you search you have to know now the language domain you want to investigate. My girl-friend is completly fucked: She mainly works translating french texts and when I say french I mean texts in french from France. Sadly Google now prefers Canada (Blame Canada!)…
Well perhaps they’ll improve on that, but actually it is a loss. All google sites looked the same because they were merely portals to the world’s information. The “global village” was too “.” O tied to Google to keep it connected. Now we go back to some regions (and some white(?) spots).
I have nothing against translations and reasonably ranked content, but I don’t like to revise all the weeks if I can still trust my dictionary. The rules must be transparent. The google-quirk can be circumvented (when using english) by querying google.com, but IBM and (guess who?) Microsoft made it worse: They use your IP-address to redirected you to localized content. This is very useful when you are in France and french is your third language (or 5th, 6th if computer languages count). At Microsoft it is just a bit annoying, but there is always the link to the translation (and the (english) original) on the same page and when you navigated a local site you won’t be dispatched without any notice while browsing it (I don’t except nobody to translate any bit of information immediately). IBM nows better: The transferred their mainframe-attitude to the 21st century. You can change your preferences, but you have to navigate away from the current page and you’ll never find the desired content…