Aside From the .Fr/.Ca Business, Do Google's Search Results Take IP or Geolocation Into Account?
January 20, 2004 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Do Google's search results depend on where you're asking from, apart from forwarding you to,, etc.? That is, if I query, does it take my IP address or other information about my location into account to give me results that are "closer to home"? [more inside]

A friend insists that Google's search algorithm takes into consideration factors like IP address, and that this explains why, for example, our university comes up high on our searches for "calculus". This runs contrary to everything I've ever heard about the Sainted Search Engine, but I can't find anything that will convince him otherwise. Searches (on guess which engine) turn up pages

Does anybody have an authoritative reference? My friend's suggestion is to have a dozen people in different parts of the world (but still using, not one of the foreign mirrors) tell us what they get as result number 51 in a search for "calculus" -- even if you don't know the answer, would you kind folks help out? There's a beer riding on it.
posted by gleuschk to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
from chile (cable modem from vtr), if i connect to i'm bounced immediately to if i then click on the " in English" link i get back to if i then (at the english search for calculus the 51st result is

is that what you wanted to know?
posted by andrew cooke at 12:46 PM on January 20, 2004

By default, no, I don't think it does anything like you describe -- selecting results based on your presumed location -- especially since I often get all sorts of highly-ranked results in weird European languages that few people around here speak when querying from various diverse addresses on several different networks. On the other hand, location based searching is an option, and presumably will eventually make its way into the Google mainstream.
posted by majick at 1:10 PM on January 20, 2004

My #51 is the sam as andrew's (i am in san francisco)
posted by vacapinta at 1:11 PM on January 20, 2004

For the record: my #51 is the same as what andrew posted, on both and Thanks, folks.
posted by gleuschk at 1:18 PM on January 20, 2004

Google used to (if it does not still) return different results depending on which browser/platform you were using. I don't believe this was intentional in any way, but it became apparent in the course of the A.I. Web game, where Google served as a prominent entry point into the game.
posted by Danelope at 1:25 PM on January 20, 2004

My 51 was also same as Andrew's, located in coventry, UK
posted by biffa at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2004

Slightly offtopic: Google has been playing with an alternate results page theme for a few IPs a few days back. Had a gradient bar instead of the solid blue bar usually at the top. Ewww. Luckily they switched back.
posted by fvw at 8:16 PM on January 20, 2004

That's is also my hit #51, from Korea.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:03 AM on January 21, 2004

I did notice that some of the ads on google are specific. If I do a search here in Switzerland on I get a lot of Swiss ads returned to me.
posted by sebas at 12:32 AM on January 21, 2004

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