If you’re a Google user who lives outside the US, and you’re interested in visiting Google.com, there is a feature that the search engine has that can be found at www.google.com/ncr that is meant to give these users the ability to visit the .com version of the site. NCR could stand for No Country Redirection, and it seems that, over the last few weeks, users have been complaining that google.com/ncr isn’t doing its job anymore.
The folks over at Search Engine Land tried contacting Google about the complaints, but have yet to get a response. It does seem that Barry Schwartz saw that Google’s John Mueller responded to the inquiry on Twitter saying “I suspect it’ll be back.” Could this mean that it’s just a bug or glitch in the system? Maybe. We’ll have to see if the /ncr feature comes back to full working order soon.
Could it be that Google is trying to make it more difficult for searchers to search through their search engine as if they’re in a different location, just like they did with the search location filter? The company has been trying to more difficult for non-US searchers to search as if they were in the US for several months now.
Apparently, according to Google, the search filter mentioned above was removed only because it wasn’t being used, and not for other reasons. There are those who believe that, since the /ncr stopped working, this could be more of a policy change than anything.
What do you think?