Google has quietly dropped the ability to filter your search results by changing your location. In the past, you would be able to click on the “Search Tools” option and set a location. This would give you search results as if you were in that location.
This was a handy tool for SEOs and webmaster who wanted to understand how searchers in different locations saw their search results. It would also come in handy for those who were traveling and wanted to get more geo-specific search results in the location they would be traveling to before they arrived.
But it seems the feature has been removed. There are several reports of this across the internet, including many complaints on social media and in the Google help forums.
We emailed Google for a statement on this yesterday afternoon but have yet to hear back.
Here is what I see when I click on the search tools feature:
No option to filter my results by location.
Here is what I see when I go to Google Canada: again, no option to filter by other locations.
We are not sure if this is a bug or an intended change Google made.
The first reports of this started trickling in more than 15 days ago, but now it seems to have been fully rolled out.
Google has removed many of the search filters and tools over the years, so I would not be surprised if this feature was intentionally removed due to lack of use.
Google may have also removed this feature in order to make it harder to reach US search results from outside of the US. With the Right To Be Forgotten law, Google is under more pressure to ensure European searchers do not see US results that may not have been removed from the US results.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson told us this feature was intentionally removed last week. Google said, “it was getting very little usage, so we’re focusing on other features.”