Would you like to search with google.xx

21 January 2015 | Google Chrome

Context

I start my browser – Google Chrome – and I get the message “Would you like to search with google.bg instead of google.de? Switch to google.bg Keep using google.de Learn more”.

Problem

  1. I do not know why Chrome is showing this message.
  2. I did not even know that I was using google.de. I thought I was using google. Now having learned that I am using some local search, I am losing confidence in the search results that I get. I am located in Bulgaria, so I can understand the proposal to switch to google.bg. Figuring out the google.de was hard. The explanation happened to be that my computer has a German IP address, so Google’s “smart” algorithms switch to google.de.
  3. I am supposed to make a choice but I do not have the information that I need to be able to make that choice.

Overall, the message is confusing and not helpful.

Icon

If you look at the message, there is small arrow pointing at the icon in the address bar/search box. I clicked that icon as obviously the message points at it. I got the following: “Identity not verified” and then a list of permissions and cookies. These do not seem to have anything to do with google.de or google.bg

The Connection tab seems even less relevant. It shows three lines:

  • The first expands the “Identity not verified” message to explain that “this website” has not been verified. The text is strange because there is no website in the browser. I just opened a blank browser.
  • Then follows a message that does not make any sense “Your connection to unknown name is not”.
  • This strange list ends with “Site information”. I again have no idea what it means.

I cannot figure it out why the message is pointing at the icon.

Learn more

So if the icon does not make sense, I thought “Learn more” should help. I clicked it and the following page opened in a new tab https://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?answer=1618699 – “How Omnibox handles Google searches when you’re abroad”

I do not know what or who is “Omnibox”.

I did not know I was abroad. I checked. No, I was not.

Still I read below how google search is optimized to provide “the most relevant results” to me and how if I were in a foreign country, Chrome would offer me to use the local search engine. This is potentially good, but I am not in a foreign country and I do not want to use.de or.bg, I just want to use google.

I also learned that the omnibox is the address bar.

Result

I still do not know whether to switch to using google.bg or keep using google.de.

Fix

Quick and dirty: Do not show the message. Just do whatever you do behind the scenes. As long as I am ignorant, I will be happy.

Design for humans:

  1. Improve the message so that it does not point the irrelevant icon in the address bar.
  2. Change the information in the support article to explain what it means to use a local search engine, so I can make an informed choice of a search engine.
  3. Provide control. If I type in the address bar google.com, show me google.com, do not auto-switch to google.bg or to whatever else the “smart” algorithms calculate. I feel helpless and deceived when I cannot control the machine.
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