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Stop use geoip for language detection

Julian
see https://dev.to/c33s/comment/3eck
・2 min read

today i wrote a ticket at gog.com but it is also a general problem in webdevelopment. many sites use geoip to detect the language their page should be shown in. this is simply wrong.

to make it simple, i just pasted the feedback text i posted them here:

i live in austria, in austria we talk german but for software i prefer english at all costs. all my devices and software are configured to use english. my operation system, my steam client, my games and also my browser.

i know that steam is bad and you are the good ones but you give me a really bad experience if i visit your website. if i am not logged in (and this is the default because i always clear cookies), the site in german. i don't like german in this context. i hate it.
it feels as if i tell you what i want (with my browser correctly setup to send your site an english locale request) and you simply don't listen. steam is also not save from that, they sometimes play the wrong game trailer - as soon as i read german subtitles or someone talks german in a gametrailer i close the store page - not interested any more.

please stop using geoip and listen to the browsers locales. it is a very bad move made by some websites but it's simply wrong. the users operation system is most of the time configured in the language which the user prefers and so all software also gets installed in this language including the browser. so simply respect that.
imagine a user is from russia, lives in austria and only speaks russian and english, the person could be confused with a german webpage. even worse would be if i travel to japan and you would show me your webpage in japanese. maybe i wouldn't even be able to find the language switch button.

so again: please stop using geoip for language detection, use browser locales and make me smile and have a good experience when i visit your website.

thanks for reading

regards
j.

links:

Discussion (2)

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tobiassn profile image
Tobias SN

Personally, I think it sometimes makes sense to use geoip. Could be that a site needs to have different content for different sites, and having both a version that’s the native language and an English one would be a lot of work. You may say that they could just have an English version, but it’s not guaranteed that everyone understands that as well as they understand their native language.

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c33s profile image
Julian Author

you are right for sites like netflix, where they really have different content in different regions and as you said, it's a lot of work to support multiple languages in the same region but companies like netflix are big enough to have region specific content shown in the regional language and in english (and they also do it - netflix is a positive example, if i visit netflix.com i get redirected to netflix.com/at-en/).

with my posts i target such sites where the content is the same and just the lanuage selection is done via geoip. steam and gog allow me to switch the language after i logged in and make it my default language, so they have the region specific content in the regional- and english-language. other sites have no region specific content they just support different languages and do the selection with geoip facepalm.

so yes you are right, sometimes it makes sense but as often as i have seen language detection by geoip with the same content made me write this post to make developers aware that there are such things as browser locales to detect the language the user want to see and sites like steam should not be sloppy/inconsistent, to show me german trailer or a trailer with german subtitles if my selected language is english (the correct content is there, the english trailer exists but it's not shown to me and i even have no option to select the right content).