Search giant Google has rolled out a change to the way that its Search service figures out what country you're in so that it can serve you locally relevant results, in that it now looks to your device's reported location. Before this change, the country that your local results were pulled from was based on the country code in the URL for the Google search version you were visiting. If the function does not work as it should for any reason, users can also go into the settings for Google Search to change their country. The country currently in use is clearly displayed in the browser. It is worth noting that typing in URL country codes will no longer work, so those wanting to search in other countries' Google Search databases will have to go into their settings and change the country manually, rather than simply inputting a URL.
Google takes time in its press release on this matter to note that it is already handling many of its other services in the same way, as far as gathering a user's location. It also states in no uncertain terms that this tweak to the way that Search works does not change how Google treats obligations to international law, meaning that Google search results affected by laws that govern hate speech, for example, or the UK's "Right To Be Forgotten" internet content laws. Likewise, users in countries where some Google results or services are censored internationally will still not be able to view those results just by changing their country in the settings menu.
As Google mentioned, this change brings the Search tool in line with how most of Google's other apps and services handle location. In theory, this should help create a seamless, cohesive experience for users who travel from country to country, among others. While going into the settings to change your country is not as quick and easy as just typing a few more or less characters in a URL bar, this change makes it so that you don't have to in the first place; no matter where you are, typing in Google.com in your browser's URL bar, as long as you have location access enabled, should get you locally relevant results.