• Stop staring at my iPee

    by  • 23 May, 2008 • Tech • 4 Comments

    Dear webmasters of multi-lingual sites (including you, blogspot.com!),

    Please, STOP STARING AT MY iPEE! I’m not staring at your … okay, we don’t need to go into that, you get my point already. That being said, now that I have your attention, here’s the deal.

    I live in a country of which I don’t fully master the language. This is Europe, a real melting pot of cultures and languages, and I can go and reside wherever I please. Language is not going to stop me from doing that. So I chose to live in Greece. Very difficult language, Greek is.

    Here in my neighborhood, when I enter a shop and open my mouth to inquire about something in this language that I don’t have full command of, they immediately reply in English.


    Because these people can look beyond my uttered words. They go directly to my Hopelessly Twisted Tongue Protocol (HTTP) header so to speak. And this header says: “ACCEPT-LANGUAGE: en, nl, de, fr, el”, in that order. Stopping short of staring at my iPee and saying “hey, you’re in Greece, we only speak Greek to you” would be considered very rude here.

    These people don’t have PhD’s or engineering degrees, yet they are smart enough — and hospitable enough — to go the extra mile (or yard, inch, whatever) and actually look at my HTTP header. Now, as I understand it, you have herds of PhD’s and engineering whizz kids in your stables, yet you don’t have the smarts to look beyond my iPee and go to my HTTP header? I know my iPee says I’m in Greece, but my HTTP header has been carefully construed to tell you that my preferred language is in fact not Greek.

    Is that so difficult?

    4 Responses to Stop staring at my iPee

    1. Thomas Hoffman
      21 June, 2008 at 4:53

      Goddamn right, Dubwah! Go forth and sin some more.

      “Do it wrong ’til you do it right”
      – Robbie Robertson



      Tom Hoffman

      • luc
        13 March, 2016 at 22:20

        I miss you, man!

    2. 25 January, 2010 at 13:32

      Language Settings for google is one thing; redirection to google’s country domain, based on your ip is another; the two are set independently.

      Starting with the latter, if you need google.com, instead of google.gr, when you are in Greece:

      a. type google.com
      b. you’ll get to google.gr
      c. See that link on the right under the search box? Go to google.com? Click on it.

      Voila! Provided your browser accepts cookies, the preference will be remembered. No more redirection to google.gr, when you type google.com.

      Hint: It’s google.com/ncr that takes you to google.com

      As for the interface language settings; just get to google preferences and set it there.

      • luc
        25 January, 2010 at 14:00

        Note to readers: the above comment was triggered by a tweet of mine on 25-Jan-2010:

        Google should really change their brain-dead IP-based language selection. Almost 2 yrs now.

        See http://twitter.com/oriste/status/8185412677

        Thanks for your suggestions, but I’m afraid it’s not as simple as that. I wasn’t talking about the Google Search page (which should in my opinion also respect HTTP headers as a global user language preference, that’s what it’s there for, without necessitating to set preferences for each individual site), but about Google, the company, including all the other Google properties, like Friend Connect, Blogspot, etc. The ACCEPT-LANGUAGE HTTP header is there for a purpose: user convenience. Google ignores it. I would appreciate it if they didn’t.

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