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Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:56

Google news just made itself irrelevant

Written by Nick Farell
google_logo_new

Too clever for its own good
Over the last few months Google news has become increasingly difficult for me to use, thanks to the most incredible dumb logic ever to come out of a so-called innovative company.

Only an American could think that a country speaks a single language, even a country which has a huge Spanish population. This arrogance has effectively stuffed up Google news.

Fudzilla's Rome office is multi-lingual. I speak and write English and Italian swearwords, however according to Google I should just be speaking Italian and only be interested in Italian news written in that language.

Google's Chrome helpfully translates the site from Italian to English for me, but in some cases it is translating English content into Italian and back to English. You should be able to configure the default so that it visits the region I want but according to Google I don't want that.

“The customization (sic) of search results based on location is an important component of a consistent, high-quality search experience. Therefore, we haven't provided a way to turn off location customization, although we've made it easy for you to set your own location or to customize using a general location as broad as the country that matches your local domain,” Google tells me.

I can set my controls to take into account a broader geographical area (such as a country instead of a city, zip code, or street address), but Google has decided I don't want to see English information, because I am Italy.

The “new look” Google page appears to be even worse. I have to call the Italian Goddess over to tell me what each of the new buttons mean before I can decide they can't solve the predicament.

Google's argument seems to be that it has set itself so that I can find the local restaurants and information I need. The point is that I don't want that, I want to know what is going on in Redmond and what the local rag has to say about it in a language which I can understand.

That has not been a problem in the past, but Google's programming is finally getting too clever for its own good. For the first time since Google was formed I am now researching other search engines. This is tricky because I loathe Bing.

I am told it is equally impossible for other foreigners who do not speak the official language of the country they are in and want to know the news from their homeland rather than where they live. That includes tourists.

Now everyone can say “well you live in Italy you should be fluent with Italian”, but really that is not the issue. I want information and it is not up to US search engine to spout at me “don't you know Italian or wot?” when that country exports fat, ignorant, loud, tourists who can't even manage English to Rome every day. Of course they are probably unable to understand their browsers.

It is easier to have given me what I want from a service than it was to develop complex programming to actually stop me getting it. Who knows? Google might have developed a way for me to see the news content I want, but unfortunately the website is in Italian and er.... I don't read Italian.


Nick Farell

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