Hey Google: take a geography lesson, would you?

 You probably saw reports of it: that moment a week or so back, when it appeared that, as The Guardian  put it, “Amazon had pledged its backing to a united Ireland.”

What happened was, a man called Chris Jones from Ballyclare in Co Antrim was trying to find  a way of seeing the England v Georgia game. He got in touch with Amazon and their reply was unambiguous:

“We apologize but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland. Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the UK. We don’t have the rights to other territories.”

It was all ironed out later but you can see the way in which most of Britain and most of the world sees our tormented NE corner: it’s part of Ireland, not the UK. Maybe it expresses, at some subconscious level, the wish that our NEC wasn’t  part of the UK.

I’ve had a similar experience to Mr Jones, only in reverse. I have a Google Mini – one of those gizmos that play music, tell jokes, give you headlines and/or the weather forecast, all when you say “Hey, Google” and ask your question. I can get any BBC Radio station, radio stations in Canada, throughout the world. For its price, Google Mini is an amazing little know-it-all.

But in recent months something funny has happened. It goes like this:

Me: ‘Hey Google – RTÉ Radio One’

Google Mini (a pleasant English female voice) – ‘Streaming RTÉ Radio One from TuneIn.’

Nasal American male voice: ‘This station is not available in your country!’

I should explain that up until about six months ago, I was getting RTÉ Radio One with no bother from pleasant Ms Google. Then suddenly this. I’m sure there’s a reason why an American voice should contradict Ms Google and block me from hearing RTÉ Radio One; but I’m struggling to find a reason why Nasal American thinks I don’t live in a country called Ireland.

As Brexit approaches and Tesco discovers you can get agricultural produce from the southern part of Ireland, more and more people will get fed up with idiots telling us in the NE corner that we don’t live in Ireland.

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