It appears Google is yet again playing around with the results pages, particularly in local markets such as the UK and the Netherlands. In posts by both SEOHome and SearchCowboys, the option to browse results from a particular country appears to have been removed as the following snapshots
Source: SEOHome (via SearchCowboys) – UK Results
Source: SearchCowboys – NL Results
The option by Google to change both of these certainly could significantly change results particularly where users rely on localising results. Whilst the UK market would probably only account for about 20% of searches (not official stats), what about mainstream Europe, places such as Belgium or Switzerland where countries may often have more than one language. Removing the obvious filter could have a significant impact on ease of use – one of the main things that I personally believe Google do better than any other mainstream search engine.
I haven’t yet been able to verify such behaviour (despite trying to utilise a number of contacts around Europe – thanks in particular here to Fellow SearchCowboy @basvandenbeld), however I will be watching this test closely over the next couple of days. Whether or not this will kill local search is open to debate – certainly localised results have been more and more integrated into regional (ie .co.uk) searches for a while – even without the impact of the ‘search pages from the uk only’ option. In addition to this, Google have recently release the ability to show options which allow users to filter yet further within the search results, and I would suggest this would be an obvious choice to integrate any further localised filtering.