Finally, there’s an even more aggressive feature (internal Google code name: “Spellmeleon”) for when we really think the user messed up. In that case, we’ll include a couple results for the corrected query first, then results for the user’s original query. Take the query [ipodd] for example. Our algorithms strongly suggest that the user meant to type “ipod” so we’ll include those search results first.
At the time I commented that “Spellmeleon needs to be more aware of British English spelling when on google.co.uk”.
Fast forward 8 months and it’s been reported by Starstruck who runs Search Engine Optimisation that Google have actually made things a lot worse for the British.
A search on Google UK for search engine optimisation now shows the results for the American spelling with the comment:
Showing results for search engine optimization. Search instead for search engine optimisation
You can click through and see the results for the proper British spelling, but the amount of people that will do so is minuscule.
I’d always found the “Did you mean: search optimization” to be annoying, now having those results forced upon me is adding injury to insult – to remix a metaphor.
And it is an injury. I want to talk to British companies and British businesses. By using the local spelling of the phrase I am self selecting the market I wish to speak to and write for. Google have not only made it harder for me to attract local business, but made it harder for British business to find information and service providers that can best meet their needs.
The forcing of an American spelling by Google in the UK results is nothing less than cultural imperialism. I wish the British Government would take a leaf out of France’s and insist that the English language is respected and protected.
No Flipping Poxy Results
Comparing the URLs between the American spelling and the British version there are a few new parameters. Adding the variable &nfpr=1 (or as I now call it, “No Flipping Poxy Results”) to the search string seems to clear away the instance on the American spelling and just show the prefered results – albeit still with that “Did you mean: …”