Google Search, Maps results now based on physical location, not country domain

An update to Google Search and Maps automatically connects users to results from their current location, impacting users in some unique ways.

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Google has updated its location-based Search and Maps capabilities: Search results will now be delivered based on your current location, instead of domain name, the firm announced Friday.

In the past, users could type in to see US-based results, for sites located in the UK, and so one. Now, by default, you'll be connected to the country service that corresponds to your location, according to a blog post from product manager Evelyn Kao.

"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," Kao wrote. "Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service."

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Around one in five Google searches is related to location, Kao wrote, "so providing locally relevant search results is an essential part of serving you the most accurate information."

The new location service is available on the mobile web, the Google app for iOS, and desktop Search and Maps.

If you don't see the right country while you're browsing--or if you want to switch to another country--you can do so by going into settings, and selecting the country you want to see. However, typing in the country code top level domain names (ccTLD) such as for Nigeria or for Brazil will no longer work.

You can see which country service you are currently using at the bottom of the search results page.

Kao noted that while this update changes the way Google Search and Maps services are labeled, it will not change how these products work. "This update will help ensure that you get the most relevant results based on your location and is consistent with how Google already manages our services across a number of our other platforms, including YouTube, Blogger, Google Earth and Gmail, among others," Kao wrote.

The update could be especially useful for business travelers, who can seamlessly transition searches and maps from location to location without making manual changes. It could however make searching for global trends more difficult for marketing professionals, as they won't be able to spoof what Google searches look like in regions outside their own. Instead, they may need to tap other methods, such as scanning forums and discussion boards.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Google announced an update to its Search and Maps products that delivers results based on your current location, instead of domain name.

2. While in the past, users could type in to see US-based results, for UK-based results, for example, today by default, they will be connected to the country service that corresponds to their location at the time.

3. The update will be useful for business travelers who will not have to manually change their location across regions.

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Image: Google