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April 9, 2013

Google's Broken Search Provider for Internet Explorer

Update: This was fixed in less than 24 hours after posting this article. That was quick.

Adding Google as a search engine in Internet Explorer is quite complicated. Most browsers include Google in the list of search engines and Google is usually the default option, but IE ships with a single search engine: Bing. Adding Google involves visiting a Microsoft web page, finding Google and more clicks.

Google has a page that is supposed to make it easier to add Google as your search provider in IE. As Thomas P. noticed, it doesn't work. Google's XML file that includes the details about the search engine has the following address: and that IP has nothing to do with Google. A reverse IP domain check shows multiple domains hosted by the same web server, including, a site of a Google employee.

For some reason, that file requests the browser to send search requests to is owned by Google (it was registered in 2011), but you won't get Google search results. Instead, you'll get a Google App Engine sign in form and then an error message.

It seems that is used by Google employees to host files related for various internal projects. For example, this Chromium bug page includes a comment that links to

So a file from a Google employee's site links to a Google domain only accessible to other Google employees. But why would an important Google page link to that file? It's probably a mistake. Maybe a link to this page would have been a better idea.

{ Thanks, Thomas. }


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