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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 }


  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).

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

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

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

  5. Appears to be at least somewhat fixed here: the top 2 results are for and

    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.

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

  7. @Anonymous:

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

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

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

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


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