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Maybe this is a temporary issue. I will check later in the night today and update/close this thread. [2013-02-27] For most of the world, this issue should now be resolved and non-repro, and the general consensus is that it was a Google glitch!


I searched for 'StackOverflow' on Google UK, both via the Omnibar and the Google UK homepage. The resultant URL: www.google.co.uk/#q=stackoverflow&...

Displayed results (larger image):

Error in Google results for Stack Overflow

Actual page on doioig.gov (larger image):

doioig.gov screenshot

This has no resemblance to the content displayed by Google.

I have tested this using Chrome Incognito without logging into Google so there is no search bubbling and also no plugins on Chrome that are playing these tricks.

I am not tagging this as a as it seems unlikely that this is an issue within Stack Exchange control.


Searching for stackoverflow on the US or some other region specific site, this effect is not observed. But searching explicitly for stackoverflow doioig brings up a slightly different result:

Larger Image Other regions

  • 2
    No repro. I am getting stackoverflow.com as the first result. – Oded Feb 27 '13 at 21:17
  • 10
    Repro, I'm seeing what Pratik is seeing – Pëkka Feb 27 '13 at 21:18
  • @Pekka웃 - I am on google.co.uk, as in the screenshot. Are you on .de? – Oded Feb 27 '13 at 21:18
  • 11
    @Oded yup, i.stack.imgur.com/BpyFB.png Maybe we are witnessing a natural miracle that occurs once a decade: a bug on Google. We will be telling our grandchildren about this :) – Pëkka Feb 27 '13 at 21:19
  • 1
    Norepro too, also stackoverflow.com here (google.uk). Also stackoverflow.com on google.de. – Daniel Fischer Feb 27 '13 at 21:19
  • Regardless - nothing we can do. This is a google issue, and seeing the disparate results, probably transient. – Oded Feb 27 '13 at 21:20
  • 1
    Repro, when going to my own Google (google.no). – Martijn Pieters Feb 27 '13 at 21:21
  • @Oded yeah. It's a genuine bug though: it's showing my Google Plus friends' +1's for the real Stack Overflow on that result. (ah, and the quick links as seen on bPratik's screen shot) – Pëkka Feb 27 '13 at 21:23
  • @Pekka웃 - Glad it's not just me... although the exclusivity was appealing! – bPratik Feb 27 '13 at 21:23
  • 1
    Maybe, must maybe some developer put up a SO page on the site to knowingly steal the page rank, and later removed it. This is just the final phases that we may be seeing on it... – bPratik Feb 27 '13 at 21:25
  • 3
    @bPratik but why would Google show SO's quick links and stuff on it? That doesn't make sense. It must be a bug. – Pëkka Feb 27 '13 at 21:26
  • 1
    Repro on google.ca, too. – Hannele Feb 27 '13 at 21:35
  • 24
    I've reproduced it here. I'll report it internally tomorrow - thanks for bringing it up. – Jon Skeet Feb 27 '13 at 21:53
  • 2
    Still seeing this – Ben Brocka Mar 2 '13 at 17:37
  • 2
    @AlexandreJasmin: I'll keep an eye on it internally (I didn't report it in the end as I couldn't reproduce it the next day - but it has been reported) but I doubt that I'll be able to give any feedback here about what happened. I'll see though. – Jon Skeet Mar 3 '13 at 16:31
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So apparently this is pointing to an issue with google. If you use fiddler or wget and request http://www.doioig.gov you will see the following response:

Fiddler for doioig

Notice the meta refresh pointing at http://stackoverflow.com - it seems that a developer copied and pasted the answer from here without changing the example URL:

https://stackoverflow.com/revisions/5411601/3

Apparently doioig.gov has pretty significant rank and authority with google - so much so that it is currently impacting what is displayed and linked for our domain. We will try to get the attention of people at google and see where this goes.

Credit goes to http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5311151 - there's a discussion going on about this right now.

EDIT: It appears that google has taken action and resolved this issue. At this point I am seeing our usual links for the search term "stackoverflow"

  • 1
    Googlebot should take the URL it's being redirect to as the canonical one (here doioig.gov says I'm at stackoverflow.com now) But it's the other way around. Kind of strange. – Alex Jasmin Mar 3 '13 at 0:21
  • 5
    You got someone at Google's attention: "I've reproduced it here. I'll report it internally tomorrow - thanks for bringing it up. – Jon Skeet Feb 27 at 21:53" =) – Josh Darnell Mar 3 '13 at 0:26
  • 1
    interesting. arguably the SO redirect is the correct one, but the practical experience for most users will be the DOI redirect. google's right to be confused. (also i'm not sure what to make of SO being ousted from google by a government programmer blindly copying code from SO. the mind boggles.) – Eevee Mar 3 '13 at 2:15

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