Google is changing the way it handles location-specific search. The changes will affect mobile search, the Google app for iOS, desktop search, and Google Maps. Previously, when you search, your results are shown on a top-level domain that is your country code. Going forward, all search will revert to the location of the device. For example, if you live in the UK, your search will show google.co.uk. However, if you travel to France, the search will then show google.fr.
The description from the Google Blog:
“So if you live in Australia, you’ll automatically receive the country service for Australia, but when you travel to New Zealand, your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert to the Australian country service.”
If you want search returns from a specific country code, you will need to go into Google settings and manually set the country to change the results. Before, you could change the country code to another like .lk and get search results from Google Sri Lanka.
“This preference should be managed directly in settings. Also, at the bottom of the search results page, you can see which country service you are currently using,” writes Google.
Google says this latest update will improve the search experience by automatically providing users “… the most useful information based on your search query and another context, including location.”
Google is pressing ahead with the change because more than 20% of all search is now location specific, with the percentage set to grow shortly. By changing the results to where you are, Google results will provide more relevance to your context.