Google Bug Exposed

    April 21, 2004

While searching the term nissan armada headrest monitor, Jason Dowdell, of Global Promoter, discovered an interesting glitch in Google’s results.

The Google cocoon burst....
The Google cocoon burst….

As of 4-21-04 the 3rd ranked result’s description spans across the entire page, obscuring some of the paid listings.

Jason dug into the source code a bit because, “typically you’ll see something like this on a smaller website that allows html as part of the descriptions but as we all know, Google only lists plain text for the description of a url in its index.”

He thinks this glitch occurred because, “there isn’t a space in that string of text anywhere on the page. Typically when the body of a page doesn’t contain spaces Google will use the META description tag, the META keywords tag or the Title tag or not display a description of the url at all.

“In this case since all of the default places were stuffed with one long string of text it decided to use that string of text.”

He alerted Matt Cutts at Google, who passed the glitch on to the proper authorities.

Props to Jason and GlobalPromoter for the catch and Search Engine LowDown for the space. Now if we can just figure out why Jason was searching for “nissan armada headrest monitor…”

(Jason clears up the mystery of his query intentions here.)

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.