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This questions is related to issues and practicality, not security.

I live in Brazil and, apparently, every single website I visit knows about it. Usually that's okay. But there are quite a few sites that don't make use of that information adequately.

For instance:

  • Bing keeps thinking that Brazilian pages are way more relevant to me than American ones (which they're not).
  • google.com always redirects me to google.com.br
  • Microsoft automatically sends me to horribly translated support pages in Portuguese (which would just be easier to read in English).

These are just a few examples. Usually it's stuff I can live with (or work around), but some of them are just plain irritating.

I have geolocation disabled in Firefox, so I guess they're either getting this information from my IP or from Windows itself (which I bought here).

Is there a way to avoid this? Either tell them nothing or make them think I live somewhere else?

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@heavyd's comment probably better suited being posted here, instead of below. Try using a proxy on this page: superuser.com/questions/44748/… –  Roy Rico Mar 3 '10 at 1:23
2  
This question seems to be more about localized content than security or privacy. Consider changing the questions title to something like "How can I get localized content from a website". The answers suggesting the use of a proxy are not ideal - they don't explicitly set your geolocation, and passing your traffic through an untrusted proxy server introduces a security risk. –  AffineMesh Mar 3 '10 at 3:19
    
Check to see if your default language in Firefox is English (US). My mom had a similar problem and it turned out she had Russian set as her main language; changing this restored the English interfaces on the websites. –  Sasha Chedygov Mar 19 '10 at 5:44

12 Answers 12

up vote 13 down vote accepted

They are most likely looking up your IP address and using that to redirect you.

I just flat out wouldn't use Bing.

I would give TOR a try, but you might suffer from the same problem with respect to you don't know where you're going to end up IP address wise. You could be tunneling out of Germany or the States.

Look into paid proxies or use an SSH tunnel to a server hosted elsewhere.

Also check to see if Microsoft.com has a localized setting feature that will allow you to choose English as the main language.

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5  
Your edits on questions could do with a lot more work and grammar checking. –  random Mar 20 '10 at 13:02

For Google you should favorite www.google.com/ncr. This will always bring you to the main US search page.

The ncr stands for "no country redirect". Setting that as your homepage would be a good start.

As previously pointed out, websites are using geolocation based on your IP, which is a best guess attempt. Specific websites might let you set a location explicitly. Otherwise you are looking at using a proxy.

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4  
Cool did not know this :) –  Alfred Mar 3 '10 at 23:19

It may be a bit obvious, but have you tried using a proxy?

If it is your browser configuration, I recommend getting a firefox extension called User Agent Switcher. It lets you control the exact browser/OS info that gets sent to websites, which if you bought Windows there, it may be advertising that your from Brazil.

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See superuser.com/questions/44748/… for available web proxies. –  heavyd Mar 3 '10 at 0:59
    
Um, someone give me a hint as to why I was downvoted? –  Earlz Mar 3 '10 at 2:54

Websites don't actually know where you are. Some make a best guess based on information such as IP address or language settings. The only way they can know for sure is if you tell them explicitly.

If you have a Google account you can do this by going to the account preferences and locating 'edit your personal info'. There you should find an option to set your location.

BTW, if you want to temporarily view search results for another global location, it's possible to append a two-letter region code to Google search queries. For example, http://www.google.com/search?q=websupergoo&gl=us

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A lot of websites allow you to store preferences for language and/or region. See e.g. http://www.google.com/preferences

If you use igoogle http://www.google.com/ig/settings you can even specify your location.

Within some browser (at least in IE, I assume others have that as well) you can also specify preferred languages. This might influence the behaviour of certain websites.

In both IE you can also specify your search provider manually. If you then use the search field in the toolbar you could automatically add the two-letter region code to your Google search queries as suggested by AffineMesh94464

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You have to use a proxy, Brazil was given a group of IPs and those IPs are marked as belonging to Brazil.

With a proxy you request something from the proxy and the proxy sends a request on your behalf using a different IP. You will just have to find a proxy that has IPs from the country that you want to appear to be from.

Proxies and TOR will slow down your connection considerably so music and movie sites will not work that great for you.

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I had that problem with Google redirecting me to the Israeli site in Hebrew. Once I click "Google in English" below the search box, it sends me to the US site and keeps this setting in a cookie, so every time I open that browser, I get the correct version. So you only need to do this once for a browser.

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Have you tried the Ghostery addon for Mozilla Firefox? It finds trackers on webpages and you can choose to block them and which ones...

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9609

Addon description:

"Ghostery lets you:

  1. Learn about companies that are tracking your behavior
  2. Block advertising
  3. Block over 200 web bug & tracking services"
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Most of the time sites will inspect the Accept-Language header which your browser will sent to server because most users want own language because they are most familiar with that language.

When using firefox maybe this extension will help you out with your problem.

P.S: I don't think you want to use a proxy server because most of the times proxies are really really really slow. The fast proxies you have to pay for and I also don't trust most of the free proxies because they could steal your passwords or log the sites which you visit for tracking purpose or something.

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Sites use different technicues to determine visitor language and location: ip adress, accept-language, usera-gent (may be something more)

Example http headers User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.2; ru; rv:1.9.1.8) Gecko/20100202 MRA 5.4 (build 02614) Firefox/3.5.8 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729) Accept-Language: ru,en;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.6,ja;q=0.4,de;q=0.2

As easy pick on some sites you can use web anonymous proxy like anonymouse.org. But it destroy many active content.

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If you use the search bar in firefox as your primary method for searching, you should take a look at Mycroft Project: Search Engine Plugins - Firefox & IE8 There are a great many search plugins available.

For instance, there are search plugins for Google that prevent country redirection, so you will only get results from Google US or UK or whichever domain you choose.

Another useful way of preventing redirection, with some sites at least, are Greasemonkey scripts. I use these to stop YouTube feeding me country specific content

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Great tip. Really convenient to have a search plugin for each location. –  Bruce Connor May 19 '10 at 13:49

Google is easily to redirect back to main US-English site by adding /ncr (no country region) at the end of www.google.com. For other websites, you gotta use proxy or save the cookies in the preference. They are most likely using IP address detection from geolocation service such as IP2Location.com .

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