How to search other countries using Google and get local results

Change the way you search other countries using Google

Search anywhere with Google by setting the current region or using a VPN

Google has made it harder to get local search results in other countries by changing how search works. If you want to have local search results anywhere in the world, here is how to do it.

The old way to search

There was a time when you could specify which country you wanted search results from by specifying the country domain. For example, if you want to google.com and searched, the results would have a strong US bias. If you searched at google.ca then results from Canada would dominate, and google.co.uk would list UK search results.

Google has announced that this will no longer be true in the future and no matter which Google domain you use for search, your current location is used to show local search results. See Making search results more local and relevant.

In a way this makes sense and if you live in the US and search for something you get local US search results, but if you travel to France or Italy with your computer or phone you get French or Italian search results. Wherever you search from, you get local search results.

If you are not travelling, seeing search results for other countries just got harder because the domain is ignored. No matter which domain you use, such as .com, .ca, co.uk and so on, you will get search results based on your location right now.

Google news is not quite the same, but here are still problems trying to get news from other parts of the world. Going to news.google.com would show news stories from the US, news.google.ca would show Canada news, and news.google.co.uk would show UK news.

This is still true to a certain extent, but the news stories still are not as good as actually being in the country you want news from.

Customise the search results

There is still a way to get search results for other countries and it is fairly straightforward to do.

Google Settings menu on the home page

 

  1. Go to the Google home page
  2. Click Settings in the bottom right corner
  3. Click Search Settings
  4. Down at the bottom is Region settings and here you can choose the country you want
  5. Return to the Google homepage and search. The results are appropriate to the selected region

 

Set the region for searches when using Google

If you want to search your current location, return to Settings and change the region back to Current Region. This will be automatically detected.

This is more work than previously where you could simply type in a country domain, but it is not too much work.

Local and foreign news

News works differently to search and if you are a regular reader of Google news you can get more foreign news by using the country domain you want, such as news.google.com for US, .ca for canada, .co.uk for UK and so on. The domain actually switches back to .com, but it does get some local news. Here I want to news.google.ca

Get country specific news by using the country domain for Google News

It is not perfect and it is not quite the same as actually being there. To get a true news feed for any country you have to use a VPN service. Among other things, a VPN lets you choose where in the world you want to appear to be. It is possible to choose a different country and appear to be a resident.

I bought a 2-year deal at NordVPN at a great price when they had a sale on and it provides access to over 1,000 VPN servers in numerous locations around the world. If you need a VPN, check out NordVPN (my affiliate link).

The map of server locations around the world in NordVPN

Each pin on the map is not one server, but many. The pins mark regions and not servers. If you click a pin in a country, it automatically connects to the best server from all those in that country.

If you go to the Country tab and select a country, you can browse a list of servers and choose the one you want to use. The app shows the workload for each VPN server so you can avoid the busy ones.

NordVPN server list by country

Here I connected to a server in Canada. This makes a big difference when using news services like Google News and it displays far more local stories, weather reports and so on. It is also easy to switch servers from one country to another when you want to get news or search results elsewhere.

If you want the best local search and news from anywhere in the world, get a VPN.

 


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