Why Does Windows Live Insist In Treating Non English Speaking Users As 2nd (or 3rd) Class Users


I’m Portuguese. So, I have my web browser language settings set up as “pt-PT; en-US”. I always thought that meant that I want Portuguese (Portugal) content if available; otherwise I want English (U.S.) content.

With these settings, when I browse to http://msdn.microsoft.com I get the general U.S. English content and a nice section of Portuguese (Portugal) content (Announcements).

In some other places of the enormous microsoft.com I usually get Portuguese (Brasil) when no Portuguese (Portugal) content is available (like MSDN Magazine articles). I can live with that because I can always change some setting (even if it’s in the URL) to get the content in English (U.S.).

But with Windows Live it’s way different.

Let’s start with Search. If I want to use Windows Live Search (http://search.live.com/) I get redirected to http://www.live.com/?searchonly=true&mkt=pt-BR which is very useful if I’m looking, say, for a washing machine (máquina de lavar). I get all those nice links for shops where to buy a washing machine but I can’t get there because Windows Local Live can’t get me driving directions to get across the Atlantic Ocean (Google Maps gives me driving directions with the caveat that I have to get wet).

If I do not want to get across the Atlantic Ocean, I still have a check box to choose “Only from the Portugal” (exact translation) or “Only in Portuguese (Brasil)”. But if I want English (U.S.) I need to know the URL switch “mkt=en-US”. Google, on the other hand, acknowledges the fact that I’m Portuguese (from Portugal) and always redirects me to Google Portugal and doesn’t confuse me with a Brazilian user. Even if I go to Google Brasil I can choose to see it in my Portuguese or there’s. In either cases, there’s a distinction between language and location. I can search Portuguese content in either cases but I can choose content in Portugal or Brazil depending on the site. Also, in both sites, I have a link to go to the main international site.

I saw this nice search box in a blog and I thought it would look nice in my blog. I followed the Get my own Search Box! link and found out that “the page I was looking for was not found”. Why? Because my main browser language is not “en-US”, that’s why.

Windows Live Writer beta 2 is out and I tried to get it but couldn’t (“mkt=en-US” doesn’t work there). The same thing with the Windows Live Messenger 8.5 beta. Fortunately, Scott give direct links before I had found out I needed to change my browser’s main language.

Now I’m happily blogging with Windows Live Writer beta 2, but although I run an en-US version of Windows, I have my regional settings set to pt-PT and, to get spell checking for English I have to use this trick.

Sometimes it’s not just about how good your are, it’s also about how good you treat your users.

One thought on “Why Does Windows Live Insist In Treating Non English Speaking Users As 2nd (or 3rd) Class Users”

  1. Here is a good tip from Gregor Herdmann:

    To trick get.live.com into thinking that you are coming from a certain market mkt=en-us is the wrong attempt. What you have to do ist go to http://get.live.com/en-us/betas/home”>get.live.com/…/home !!!Attention: When you click on a link you will have to edit this url as well – it is always http://get.live.com/en-us (or en-uk, or de-de for example) followed by the rest of the url (e.g. /betas/messenger_betas). So the full url for the messenger beta would be http://get.live.com/en-us/betas/messenger_betas

Comments are closed.