If you’re like most people who’ve come to live and work in Korea, you’re used to using Google.com when looking for something online. However, when you land in South Korea and literally type in “Google.com” or the various permutations of it, it many times redirects to the localized version -> “Google.co.kr”
The problem that arises from this isn’t just that you have a different url that pops up or even the 한국어 that pops up below the “Google” image, but it’s that the search results will also change because you’re using the Korean version of the popular search engine. So, the same results you used to find back home in the West might not show up where you’re used to them. The same results may not even show up depending on the topic you’re looking for information on.
Changing Your Google.co.kr to the Google US Version
If your browser defaults to http://google.co.kr when you type in http://google.com, it’s most likely because of the IP address you’re accessing the search engine from. Frankly, it makes sense because the majority of people are Korean and not foreigners who are comfortable with English.
However, Google allows you to change this by switching the default settings at the bottom.
If you look to the bottom right, there should be a link to Google.com:
You’ll now notice in the url field at the top of the browser, the url is no longer “.co.kr”, but now “.com” It might still display 한국어 below “Google”, but unless you download Google’s browser Chrome, it will probably stay there in most browsers minus Chrome (Chrome bypasses this as you’ll see below).
Alternative Method to Using Google.com is Downloading & Using Chrome
Another Option is to use Chrome instead of the default browser that comes with most desktops and laptops. However, if you like doing things the “easy way,” you may just search for “chrome” and download and install the Korean version. The key here would probably be to either visit this actual website address: https://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en-us (you can see that you’re going to the US version of the browser). Or if you’re from the UK, you can download from here: https://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en-gb which will have a slightly different version in British English.
You’ should arrive at an English version of the download page instead of one that’s all in Hangeul.
Once you’ve installed the new browser to your computer, chrome will still default to “google.co.kr” when you first type in “google.com,” but you’ll see this little message up top in the url field where it allows you to switch to google.com.
And even if you fail to switch it during this opportunity, you can still follow the steps above by clicking on the link at the bottom right. for some reason, when I captured this image, the option went away and I had to click on the link on the bottom right. After I did though, the 한국어 below the Google image disappeared. Now, I’m back home (at least online) now!
Google Chrome for iPad Users in Korea
So, if you’re stuck with only an iPad, you’ll just have to look for the iPad app for Chrome. The funny thing was that when I first searched after all the hoopla above about how to get to the U.S. version of everything, I “think” it switched to the Korean version for a sec. The 2nd time I searched for “chrome ipad app”, it did get me to the proper link, but do note this is from my laptop. When you search on your iPads, it may be different. If I have time later to do this from my iPad, I’ll let you know what my experience is.
However, here’s the link for iPad users to download Chrome: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chrome/id535886823?mt=8 This might be one route in trying to get the US/English version of the popular search engine back west.