Yo no hablo español, Google

MallorcaMass personalisation is one of the great benefits brought by the web. It’s no longer, “Any colour as long as it’s black,” but rather myriad options tailored to your individual circumstances. However sometimes the customisation goes a bit too far.

Take the Google Play Store app for example. As a customer I have only ever watched English-language films, read English-language books and generally been your typical English-speaking user. Consequently I was somewhat perplexed as to why I’d suddenly become a Spanish aficionado merely because I was using my tablet in Spain. Everything in the Play Store was being promoted in Spanish, which while interesting, wasn’t likely to encourage me to make a purchase.

For a couple of reasons, I think my IP address was being used to determine broad location (Spain) rather than GPS co-ordinates (Mallorca) but the point is somewhat moot; Google should not be switching languages based on location for existing users. Besides, in my Google profile under Language it says, “English (United Kingdom)”.

In some circumstances, it makes good sense for immediate localisation. Getting directions, looking for maps and finding nearby amenities would be obvious examples but not so much for watching a film or reading a book. Fortunately, I’d downloaded most of my holiday reading before leaving the UK, otherwise I’d be finding “El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha” fairly hard going.