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January 10, 2011

Google Can't Find Paris

If you use Google to search for [Paris], the top search result is a Wikipedia page for PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space), "a privately-organised endeavour undertaken by various staff members of the information technology web site The Register to design, build, test, and launch a lightweight aerospace vehicle, constructed mostly of paper and similar structural materials, into the mid-stratosphere and recover it intact".

Most likely, the top search result should have been the Wikipedia page for the capital of France, but a bug replaced it with a page about a curious project.


Search for [the capital of France], and the second search result is the same page about the space project. It's as if someone performed a search and replace in Google's index.


Update (a couple of days later): It has been fixed.

{ a faux pas spotted by Jérôme Flipo }

10 comments:

  1. Have Parisians been blurring out their abodes on Google Maps recently, or was that just the Germans?

    (I believe Google has a wry sense of humor, and I'm struggling to think what might have prompted the joke -- if it was a joke, rather than just a foe paw =D).

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  2. I feel like Wikipedia should take the blame here, for redirecting the term "PARIS" to this page.

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  3. What if Wikipedia had 'Paris' redirected to that page last time Googlebot crawled it?

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  4. could the problem be that wikipedia is case-sensetive while googlebot is not?

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  5. Appears to be at least somewhat fixed here: the top 2 results are for es.parisinfo.com and www.parislasvegas.com.

    I'm wondering if Google is intentionally choosing to let the "actual" top result -- the Paris France OneBox -- account for what would otherwise be several specific Paris France results (e.g. Wikipedia/Paris) at the top of the list. This kind of makes sense since the OneBox includes links to a map, hotels, restaurants, and several Parisian landmarks.

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  6. Look at what's right below the search box (above the little map).

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  7. @Anonymous:

    That's an OneBox, not an organic search result.

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  8. It's either fixed, or 'works for me'

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  9. We're not guilty! We didn't harm the French for years! :-)

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  10. I think Wikipedia should take the blame here, for redirecting PARIS to this page.

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