Android Market… in Spanish?

This one has a long setup, so bear with me:

I was watching the Pro Bowl (football) game the other night, but had several other things going on at the time. I paused the DVR several times to do this or that, and ended up falling way behind “real time”. I wanted to use the NFL 11 app on my phone to check the score, but the app crashed upon opening. Several times. I figured that the app had been updated, and that was somehow causing a problem with the old version on my phone.

But I just couldn’t check the Market app to look for an update: for some reason, the NFL app is “not available on your carrier” (and no, I’m not talking about the NFL Mobile app that’s Verizon-only). For some reason, the NFL (or Google) doesn’t want me to install their free app on my Virgin Mobile US phone. So I’d found the apk on a message board several months earlier and side-loaded it (for newbies: Android Market keeps track of your apps and offers to update them when such updates become available; side-loaded apps aren’t tracked by Market and therefore must be updated manually).

But then I had a thought: I logged out of Google on my phone’s browser and searched the Market website for the app. I found it, and clicked “Install”. I logged in, and amazingly, the app downloaded and installed! But there was something odd: the Market was in Spanish! And it remained in Spanish the next day, too! As usual, Google support was little help, basically coming down to “check your language settings in Chrome!” even though I was using Firefox and IE on my computer.

So I tried using the following address to access the Market:

http://market.android.com/?hl=en

This reset my Market language to English, and I haven’t had a problem since. People who use the Market in a language other than English can substitute the proper ISO 639-1 code for their language in place of the en in the address above. For instance, use de for German or fr for French (assuming Google has a version of the Market in your language, of course).

As to why that happened in the first place… I have no idea. A quick look through Google’s support forums suggests that the Big G might be using some type of IP geolocation, as there were many complaints from English speakers in Puerto Rico about getting the Market in Spanish, and English-speaking Canadians getting the French version whilst in Quebec.

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