READ THIS FIRST** As indicated by a comment from Bassem Fanari posted below, the no country redirect on Google using /ncr has stopped working. Instead, use the commenter’s suggested alternative, which uses two different string elements found in Google search strings but set to the default “country” identifier cr.
Original post begins here.
Google.com is their primary search engine domain but if you search Google from outside the US, you are frequently forwarded to the local country domain: Google.ca for Canada, Google.co.uk for the United Kingdom, and so on. Search results are different, depending on which Google location you use. A recent Firefox update (I think it was version 35) started redirecting me to the Canadian site when I tend to stay on the .com. Here is how I fixed it.
Update #2: this is not Firefox’s fault. I use NoScript and the behavior occurs when I have “Enable Automatic Secure Cookies Management” checked. When I turn it off, Firefox keeps the cookie and I no longer get redirected to the geo-located site.
Update: I’m having second thoughts about this. While it fixed my problem, I may have been solving a different problem. I also use NoScript and I think I also needed to enable scripts on Google.ca so that it would remember the NCR. Unfortunately, I’m having different experiences on different machines so it’s hard to be sure.
I use the location bar (CTRL L) to search rather than the search dropdown (CTRL K) in Firefox. What I noticed after the Firefox update was that my searches were going to Google.ca. This is normally an easy fix if you want to reset the search engine to Google.com. Just type:
and the “ncr” at the end will disable the geographic location change – “no country redirect”. This works for me in Firefox until I restart the Web browser. Then I was back to going to Google.ca.
It looks like the fix is under Firefox’s configurations. Type: about:config in your location bar to get under the hood. There is a ton of stuff here and I don’t normally mess with this area for fear of disrupting my browsing. However, there is a geographic configuration key that defaults to true. Type in geo at the top of the window and you will see the list of configuration options shorten. Look for the one called geo.enabled. It should saytrue next to it. Right-click on it and choose Toggle. This will turn it to false – and you’ll notice that, because you’ve changed the default, the entire entry is now bold. Close the configuration settings window and go to Google. I still went to Google.ca, but once I use the www.google.com/ncr command, Firefox has remembered between sessions that I want to keep visiting the Google.com index, not my local one.