Friday, July 6, 2007

Google and Bugs

As thorough as Google products are tested, bugs still creep in. And I'm not talking about security holes or anything along those lines, I mean bugs that you could identify even without looking. While some may be petty bugs, which don't interfere with user experience, some can be rather annoying once noticed.

The first bug which I found falling under the annoyance cateogory is with the main Google Web Search. I was searching for the C++ >?= operator. If you search for the operator (or click here) you will notice an absence of results. This is due to Google not indexing punctuation. This happens when searching for any punctuation only query. However, when you search for any other random query which contains no results such as this one an error message is returned saying "Your search - thisisarandomquery - did not match any documents." I also use Google Search History and the former searches are not saved while the latter are.

The Web Search is out of beta, at least last time I checked. Other products still labelled as beta are expected to have more bugs. Google Talk handles multiple logins to the same account rather poorly, often sending the message to just one of the clients and sometimes the unexpected one. While I was working on Code Search I discovered some bugs from general usage and reported them as well.

There are a couple of other strange behaviours people have pointed me to. Some people could consider them bugs and some not. It's sometimes a thin line between bug and feature. I have reported these behavious even since I have left. Someone also reported one of the examples on the Code Search home page as confusing and I got it changed.

So as you can see, Google is far from perfect, far from being bug free. You can help by reporting any bugs or odd behaviours you may discover.


  1. Interesting to know! btw, now that "random query" link of yours in fact does not return the "No pages found" but shows your blog page! :D

  2. Ag, should have thought of that. Guess you just discovered a googlewhack though. :)