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Alternative question:
Is worldwide Google search (NCR) still available?

If Google is used from an internet segment with excessive SEO (for example, during travel), English queries will often be mixed with irrelevant local non-English results. VPN for different country can partially solve this, but it seems many years ago a worldwide version of Google existed (named No Country Redirect or NCR) which provided the best results.

This question is mostly about Firefox, but if clean solution exists only under Chrome – it will be accepted.
Focus is on minimal history/tracking browser settings (possibly combined with removal of cookies/terms pop-ups using cut extensions). Chrome seems to have this mode only with auto clean on restart extension or full incognito.

Just in case - the question is about removing local spam from search results, and it is misleading to focus on language here: you can set English language in Google settings, which will give pseudo-English results still spammed with local SEO.

Is Google NCR currently available and how to set it up?

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  • While I think I know what you're asking, more by looking at your self-answer (always nice to find a solution) this question's rambling nature and imprecise language makes it of little value to the site itself and future askers, which is a primary goal of any and all questions on this site. You are getting close votes for these reasons, I'd guess. Editing your question to make it more precise, specific, and clear, would make these close votes stop. I recommend doing this. Oct 19, 2023 at 23:38
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    Thanks for the critics, tried to improve both Q/A. There was a bit of rambling, yet it would be unbelievable if such QA can be closed for the lexics (especially with SU relaxed standards). Any solution for this Q was very hard to find and probably A will save hours for someone with same question. I definitely feel (both for my answers and others: superuser.com/a/1784633/1140679) that SU is slightly wrecked compared to SE how little it cares about hard to find or professional solutions.
    – halt9k
    Oct 20, 2023 at 2:03
  • You might be talking about localization and personalization. Localization refers to groups; it's related to culture and region. Personalization is related to individuals. Personalization & Google Search results. Please don't confuse them with geolocation. Google no longer uses country domains like google.es, google.co.uk to customize search results. Concepts that you might use include organic results, sponsored results, partners. Oct 27, 2023 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

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TL;DR: If you don't want to get customized results, stop using Google and look for search engines focusing on users with the same concerns about looking for results without customization based on user location and advertising purposes.


Since 2017, probably earlier, it has been almost impossible to avoid showing "any local" results as Google focuses on delivering them. In October 2017, Google announced that they would stop redirecting users to top-country level domains, i.e., google.co.uk, google.es, etc. This implies that www.google.com/ncr stops making sense to be used.

Instead of using the top-country level domain to control which local result will be delivered, Google changed how they control the delivery of customized results. Instead of depending on the URL, it now depends on multiple signals.

Those signals might include the user's IP public address. The Internet Service Provider assigns this IP and might vary if the user uses a network service like VPN. Other signals come from the search and browsing history and the data that users around a location share with Google "by default" or by personalizing Google product settings, like setting a home and work address in Google Maps.

You might trick Google by using a sophisticated setting to hide your actual location. Google will use the assigned location to deliver results based on it.

Besides hiding your location, you might try to hide Ads, but keep in mind that you might be violating the terms of service and that Google constantly changes its search engine to keep it relevant and to protect its revenue streams. Some extensions help users to handle user-created code (user styles, user scripts, CSS, JavaScript), and there are sites were users share scripts.

It's also important to present that during 2023, the AI hype has been moving Internet services companies to integrate AI into their services, and Google is not the exception. At this moment, it's hard to say how this will impact the goal of stopping Google from showing local results and ads. Still, the technologies behind it are becoming more complex, making it more difficult for the general public to "hack" it to meet specific needs and preferences.

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  • A vote up for multiple contexts this answer gives, yet the direction of thoughts is arguable. My intuition tells that undesired local results are not there because Google wants to show them or specifically have indirect profits, but because local community have higher area-specific ratio of SEO exploit efforts over Google protection mechanisms. In this case, blaming Google misses the point. However, lack of default no history collection mode in Chrome sounds like an argument against my intuition and for this answer.
    – halt9k
    Nov 4, 2023 at 17:52
  • @halt9k Thanks for your reply. I don't claim that this answer is perfect. It fails to add the references I mentioned in my comments posted to the question, among other things. I can't promise that I will refine this particular answer, but I will be around Nov 4, 2023 at 20:15
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Not sure if NCR version is still alive, possibly the easiest solution is permanent US/UK VPN.
A pair of limited alternatives:

  • With Add custom search engine plugin, use the query:

    https://www.google.com/search?pws=0&gl=us&gws_rd=cr&fg=1&name=f&hl=en&q=%s
    Drawback: frequent CAPTCHA.

  • On Mycroft Project search specifically for En-Us Google entries (majority of other entries marked worldwide currently have local results). The button to install engines is currently hidden under search bar drop-down window:
    Add search engine button
    Drawbacks: frequent CAPTCHA, frequent ban page (?).

Work-around during CAPTCHA or block page is to try to switch back to local replacing 2-3 letters after https. For example, in Germany it will be https://google.com/* -> https://google.de/*.

Any of these two options combined with VPN (not only US/UK) give the best results in my case.

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  • Using a VPN that tells Google you are located in Boston will still serve local results, but they will be related to Boston. Using country domains might cause unexpected results. Google no longer uses country redirection: if you are in Germany, if you go to google.com the URL will stay the same, google.com, Google will not redirect you to google.de. Oct 27, 2023 at 18:36

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