On occasions, I hear in the forums complaints that people are going to Google.com or Bing.com and are being redirected to a localized version, outside of their local. For example, a Bing Community thread reports one user in the US being redirected to Bing France and a Google Web Search Help thread has another user from Brooklyn, New York complaining about being redirected to Google Puerto Rico.
Why might this happen? Brett Yount from the Bing Webmaster team ventured a guess. Of course, he can not talk for Google, but he is paid to talk for Bing. Brett said:
I'll preface this by saying I don't know the exact answer. However, it is probable that some servers were down for upgrades, etc. and you got routed to the next available server which happened to be France for a short period.
Interesting, so if servers are offline or overloaded, they may redirect you to a different server outside of your region. I never heard this explanation but it does seem somewhat logical. I am not sure if this is a good thing for usability and confusion, but technically, it does make some sense.
Forum discussion at Bing Community.