Google Play Store now lets Europeans see content from other EEA countries
Google restricts the availability of apps and other Google Play content by location. To bypass these geo-restrictions on Google Play Store content, users have tried different methods like VPN services, locations spoofers, market enablers, or even modified versions of the Google Play Store. But these efforts have usually yielded only limited success since these restrictions are controlled on the server-side. For the first time, however, Google is officially allowing users to browse apps, books, or movies from outside their countries. The change comes in Europe, where users can now view Google Play content from the entire EEA region.
As per the support page added by Google, users in the EU/EEA countries can browse the Google Play content from other countries in the EEA region. However, it clearly states that they will be not be allowed to download apps, games, or content that is not available in their country.
To browse another country’s content, users must open the Play Store on their phone browsers, log out of their Google Profiles, and scroll down to the bottom of the page where they can find the location selector.
The location selector is interactive only if you are in any of the countries part of the EU/EEA (including the U.K. until the Transition Period ends). If you’re from any other region, you can still browse the store for other countries by editing the “gl” query parameter in the URL. For instance, change the URL from play.google.com/store?gl=US to play.google.com/store?gl=IT if you are in the U.S. and want to browse Google Play Store content from Italy. You can even change the location to any country by using its two-letter, aka Alpha-2 code in the URL.
Without an official announcement, it is difficult to ascertain what compels Google to take this decision. It could be a way for Google to appease users in the European Union. The tech giant has long been under a strict scanner of the E.U. and even fined heavily for several antitrust violations, including the $5 billion fine for compelling smartphone OEMs to preinstall Google Search Chrome browser on Android devices. Google is currently under scrutiny by the E.U. for its acquisition of Fitbit. Still, it may be able to avoid an investigation by pledging not to use Fitbit’s health data for ads, a recent report suggests.
Thanks to XDA Senior Member Some_Random_Username for the tip and the screenshots!