Google searches, verbatim and nation-specific

By Grant Jacobs 01/10/2012 4

As a very belated follow-up to Google personalised searches and the ‘echo chamber’ effect?, an earlier post where I worried that google searches might be creating cliques on-line, I ought to let my readers know that you can go some way to mitigating this using the verbatim search feature.

First bring up a search with the left-hand side bar of search options. A ‘fresh’ google page doesn’t show the search tools. Just start typing, the search box will move up to the top and the left-hand bar of tools will appear. (Personally, I would rather they had simply presented the full toolset from the get-go, but “whatever”.)

Click ‘More search tools’. A list of options appears; the last is ‘verbatim’ (shown to the right).

What does verbatim mode searching do?

Basically, it switches off some of google’s assistance,* such as

  • making automatic spelling corrections
  • personalizing your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • including synonyms of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
  • finding results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops])
  • searching for words with the same stem like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
  • making some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]

The one relevant to my previous article is the second, search personalisation.

It’s nice to know that you can get raw, unadultatered searches should you wish to. (I guess we can still be concerned that many (most?) people will not be aware of this.)

Don’t forget that you lose all of the assistance – there’s no selecting which ones you’d like to have available.

Nation-specific googling

Occasionally I’ve found it useful to use other nation’s google engines.

You’ll find you get country-specific results that can give some get some insight into how those from nations reading on-line might be viewing a topic.**

This doesn’t work for all nations unfortunately. In particular, I’m not aware of a way to search the US site if that is your choice. If I enter ‘’ in the browser location bar, google redirects this to the New Zealand page, and is a dead-end.

You can get use the google sites of some non-US countries, however. Choosing to use, say, works just fine.


An additional account can be found on Inside Search (and, naturally, many other locations on-line).

Other country codes can be found here.

* Or ‘assistance’ if you think of it that way.

** Take care not to over-reach, of course.

Other articles on Code for life:

Google personalised searches and the ‘echo chamber’ effect?

The Panic Virus

A course for all degrees: PHIL 105, Critical Thinking

Media reporting of subsequent findings

Sources for medical information for non-medics and non-scientists

4 Responses to “Google searches, verbatim and nation-specific”

  • Presumably, if you go to via a US-based IP anonymiser you will get the US-based search options.

  • Grant – the verbatim function seems to have disappeared, or moved to a place where I can’t find it. I’ve used the verbatim function in the past when, having searched on the Audible search engine for an audiobook I want to download, and having received a helpful prompt from the search box to complete the author’s name or the book title before I’ve finished typing it, the the search result tells me that no such book exists. Naturally I don’t believe it and check the US Audible site. Sure enough I’ve been geoblocked. This is so annoying when I could buy the book from Amazon if my vision was up to reading it. If I’m cross enough I email the author – surely you want everyone on the planet to read your book, wherever they live? Of course they do, but publishers and agents are playing silly games. “We have not sold the audiobook rights to NZ yet.” Who would they sell them to? And what would the rights-buyer do with them other than clip the ticket. It’s not like they’re putting out a NZ edition of the book. Now google has added insult to injury by censoring my knowledge of this geoblocking.

  • Ah, yes, They’ve revised the user-interface! Thank you for reminding me that my article will now be out of date…

    Perhaps I ought to write a fresh article?

    In the meantime: ‘verbatim’ is still there. Click on ‘Search tools’, then ‘All results’ — verbatim will be at the end of the list.

    To set locations, Click on ‘Search tools’ – the right-most item is the location. If you click on it, you can enter a location of your choice.

    I agree software that means to help can cause trouble. (I have some thing similar with an email mix-up not long ago.)

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