Today I am Chinese

Google thinks I'm ChineseI’m going about my merry life and I use google every day.

Today Google decided I’m in China and redirects me to and it shows me all text in Chinese. It’s just another proof how silly it is trying to use the IP address to figure out location (or even worse trying to guess language based on IP address).

Click on the image to get it in its full glory.

I haven’t changed anything locally, but it seems Google has updated (broken) their database somehow.

Just to be perfectly sure my browser isn’t playing any tricks behind my back, I snooped up the headers sent in the HTTP request and there’s nothing notable:

GET /complete/search?output=firefox&client=firefox&hl=en-US&q=rockbox HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20101209 Fedora/3.6.13-1.fc13 Firefox/3.6.13
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 115
Connection: keep-alive
Cookie: PREF=ID=dc410 [truncated]

Luckily, I know about the URL “” (No Country Redirect) so I can still use it, but not through my browser’s search box…

5 thoughts on “Today I am Chinese”

  1. All the worse when your browser explicitly has Accept-Language set to en-us,en. Is it possible your account somehow got its language settings set to Chinese through some other mechanism?

    I normally use Google with language preference set to Japanese (gives me much-needed practice). /ncr still forces all interface and results to English, and leaves it that way, even though my settings were never IP-based to begin with.

  2. Can’t you change the browser search box to use

    I would guess this isn’t a change on Google’s part but a change by some IP registry, allocating an address block from China to Sweden.

  3. I don’t think I can easily change Firefox to do that. The IP I used is one in a block owned by the ISP/provider that hosts our server so it feels very unlikely that someone would all of a sudden decide that it has moved from Sweden to China/Hongkong.

    When logged in to google from home, it still redirects me to so clearly its not due to my account… (I think I did these China-searches from work while not logged in, as the screenshot doesn’t show my account name.)

  4. The /ncr option seems to stick so it’s good enough. It still provides a quick-link to “go to google china” so obviously it still suspects I rather go there… =)

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