One of the greatest improvements in internet browsers came when Google introduced its sleek Chrome software, and ingeniously made the address bar into what it called the omnibox.
From that moment, with that browser, users could type, copy or recall from bookmarks all sorts of extra stuff instead of just the address for a specific website. Most helpfully, the omnibox lets you type in a search, hit Enter and the browser shows you the results. There is no need to pass Google.com, no need to pay 200 mouse clicks a day.
Except for one thing. Google Chrome specifically, and Google in general, employs the world's second most annoying performance after the refusal of men to put their dirty laundry in the basket.
To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any language you want in Google, so long as it's Thai. Google sets your language preferences according to where you are. A Thai in Tokyo gets Japanese, a Japanese in Paris gets French, a French citizen in Bangkok gets Thai. Or any citizen, anywhere in Thailand. Google sees your IP number, sees the internet provider is in Thailand, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Or so Big Search thinks. Actually, for the singular problem of getting Thai-language search results in Google Chrome, I've found a cure for this disease. It's specifically for the automated searches through Google Chrome, but it's a start.
Here is the Five-Step Programme to better searches.
Start with this tip, long known to long-suffering Google fans. This URL will always take you to the main Google search engine page in California, and reply to searches in English, www.google.com/intl/en.
It always works. But it's not what we want today.
We want the Google Chrome browser to do it all automagically, so don't stop here.
Are there drawbacks to what is going to happen here in a minute? Well, that depends.
What I am going to do is show you specifically how to make Google.com in California work for your searches. That means this specific English-language search out of Google Chrome is limited to the main Google site, meaning you're going to get American English. You're also going to get US-centric searches.
So Brits and Filipinos and Aussies and Lankans and Canucks who need searches to be localised first and foremost, are going to be no better off with this than they are with the Thai pages, assuming they are fluent in Thai. People notcomfortable reading Thai, well, at least you have English, so it's a start.
But there's more. Read my five-step programme to get Google Chrome to reply to your searches in English, then read on. You can do this manually through the Settings, but it is simpler to just follow these steps, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
1. Open a new tab in Google Chrome and type in that main Google search destination (without the quote marks, of course): "www.google.com/intl/en".
2. When the web page opens at the US-English Google search page, put the mouse cursor in the search box. Right click, choose "Add as search engine".
3. A new box will open called Edit Search Engine. I strongly suggest you change the name of this, to something you like and remember: Engoo or USEnglish or the name of your significant other, it doesn't really matter. Make sure you click OK to save it.
4. Click on the Customise button, the one with the three horizontal bars at the far top, right corner. Select Settings. Scroll down to Manage search engines and click on that button to open it.
5. The "new search engine" you just added and edited will appear in the list called Other search engines. Scroll down the alphabetical list until you find it. When you hover your mouse over it, a button appears to "Make default". Click it. Make sure you then click "Done".
Take the browser for a test run. When you enter a search in the omnibox, the web results should come from the main Google-US search engine, in American English. The menu choices across the screen (Web, Images, Maps...) should be in American English.
Now. For those who are still unhappy, you can try something just a little different at Step 1. Instead of the California home page, use the one that applies to the country you favour. It could be, say, Google.ca, Google.co.uk, Google.com.au... you see what I mean, right?
Once you get that search page, move on to Steps 2 through 5.
What if you did all of the above, perfectly, three times and checked your work, and it doesn't work?
I don't know. Please write and tell me, because I will document the failure, but I won't be able to help you with automatic searching any more than I did here.
With Big Search, nothing is guaranteed, and anything is possible. The five-step programme has worked for me numerous times in several countries, and it has worked for everyone I've shown it to or discussed it with. If it fails for you, I can only tell you to forget the Chrome omnibox, and go back to pre-Chrome days with the URLs given above.
I do suggest you bookmark that international URL, so it is always available, including from other browsers.
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