If you use the “Change Location” feature to see Google search results in different locations, you may have noticed the feature has been coming and going over the last few months. There have been several articles published in the last week about the disappearance of the feature.
Earlier this week, Google confirmed it has permanently removed the feature.
In a recent statement, a Google spokesperson said the feature wasn’t being used enough, “So we’re focusing on other features.”
Here is what the search filters look like today:
This tool was used, most often by digital marketers, to view Google search results as if you were in a different location. For example, if I wanted to see who ranked #1 for “pizza” in Chicago local results while located in Florida. Or, if I wanted to see what companies rank for “pest control” in Canada. There is now no way to tell Google you are in a different location, though you can block your location entirely.
Even using a different country’s domain extension didn’t make a difference. These are the results I received using incognito and going to www.google.ca (I am based in Jacksonville, Florida):
Why Did Google Make This Change?
It could have to do with the “Right to Be Forgotten” laws that are passing in Europe. These laws are essentially useless if all users have to do is change their location to the US and search. Removing this feature would prevent users from outside the US from accessing www.google.com.
The feature was likely mostly used by search marketers, since it had few applications for the average user. It will be interesting to see what other features Google is focusing on.