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Different serps from 2 PCs on same network
phpmaven




msg:213263
 8:21 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a network setup where all PCs are accessing the Internet though 1 PC as a gateway. Machine A which is the gateway PC constantly gets different serps than machine B which is inside the network.

Now I'm not a TCPIP guru, but I would think that all traffic coming from my network would look like it was coming from the same IP. Why would the 2 PCs consistently get serps from 2 different datacenters?

This one's got me kinda perplexed. It's not that big of a deal. It's just kinda annoying when I tell me partner "hey, we're up to #10" and he says "It's at #14 on my PC”.

Any clues?

phpmaven

 

ritualcoffee




msg:213264
 8:18 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

load balance issue more than likely. maybe you hit it during a datacenter shuffle.

Is it still happening for you?

jeremy goodrich




msg:213265
 8:21 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google is now randomly shuffling results for one - and another, depending on which data center you got results from, you will see different results in your SERP.

Each data center doesn't always have the same data as another one, so it's not necessarily during "reshuffle" that this happens, but more or less "all the time" now. :)

Yidaki




msg:213266
 8:26 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Did you try with cookies disabled on both pc's ...?

phpmaven




msg:213267
 8:31 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thank for your responses.

What’s weird is that this has been going on consistently, day in and day out for months. These 2 PC's always get slightly different results. As I said before, this is more of an annoyance than anything, but I'm still mystified as to how and why it's happening.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to "learn to live with dissapointment" :)

phpmaven

AAnnAArchy




msg:213268
 8:35 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

That happens all the time in my household. Our computers are separated by maybe a foot and they share the same IP (the firewall's IP) and we often get different results. It's been happening for a long time.

phpmaven




msg:213269
 8:56 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, it's nice to know I'm not alone. I thought about the cookie issue as well. I tried disabling them but no diff. I don't think Google uses cookies anyway.

The only other thing I can think of is that Google is sniffing the agent or the platform. These 2 PCs are running slightly different versions of IE6 and one is running XP and the other 2000.

Can you spell C.L.O.A.K.I.N.G. ;)

phpmaven

jeremy goodrich




msg:213270
 8:58 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

As I said - Google routes queires to the data center with the least traffic at any given time.

Those datacenters aren't always in sync. Thus, when querying, unless you get the *same* data center from both PC's, it is very likely you'll get different results...as I mentioned before.

Nothing to do with cloaking, only load balancing (they get a lot of traffic...)

phpmaven




msg:213271
 10:26 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Jeremy,

I am well aware of how Google uses load balancing on it's servers. But obviously that is not what's going on here. I can sit at one PC and have my partner at hers and we can both hit "refresh" over and over and get the same different set of serps each time. Now during that period of time all of the packets going to Google's servers are coming from the same IP address. The ONLY difference would be the user agent in the HTTP header.

If this was just normal load balancing going on, then I would expect that during the little test we did, we would both be seeing the same results until we were routed to a different server and then we would both be seeing the same new results.

Somehow they are routing the packets coming from each PC to a different server during our little test. How they are doing it, I don't know, but I am convinced at this point that that is what is happening. Perhaps they are using a combination of IP & User Agent to determine which server to send the traffic to. After all there are quite a few scenarios where a tremendous amount of traffic would come from the same IP, AOL for example or proxy servers and so forth.

By the way, I was just kidding about the cloaking bit, I just find it very interesting trying to figure out what's going on.

phpmaven

caine




msg:213272
 10:28 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

could you be using different browsers, that would explain it, don't ask the rational though - industry secret.

phpmaven




msg:213273
 10:44 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

caine,

They are both running IE6, albeit not the same exact build.

phpmaven

Powdork




msg:213274
 10:57 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heres some fun. Go to your favorite simultaneous-muli-data-center-checking-thing and check on a familiar phrase. Spend two or three minutes noting the results (i.e. how many different indexes are apparent, where particular sites are, etc.). Then hit refresh. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I did this for a while last night and it was like watching the LCD of a graphic equalizer. It's still happening now. It was several days ago. I wonder if this is the new technology? Fluid contiuously updating serps.

caine




msg:213275
 11:08 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

phpmaven,

that maybe enough, different os interspersed with different browsers can have that affect - i see it every day.

It would not strike me as strange that relativily similar Os systems, as in same types but different configs hence different browser configs would do different things.

Don't get me wrong but there has to be classifications that G corresponds with, when relating out SERPs, there is absolutely no way that i can believe that with all the varience's of knowledge and of particular settings of the OS and Browser - that G can deliver a homogenous look ( got to be millions - struggling with indexing the web).

A really good contrast is at browser level, between IE and Opera when the SERPs are called. Browser level yes, but at OS level, when the browser is being used if the O/S is not exactly the same then different services of the OS/Browser may be called upon, presenting the G GUI serps interface with something new or accounted for but the main thing is Difference

mcavic




msg:213276
 12:19 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's still most likely load balancing. It's done through DNS, and DNS information is cached by Windows (in some versions) and by IE. This means that any particular PC will tend to stick with the same datacenter.

Try using an ip address in the url (like 216.239.33.99) and you'll get the same results on both machines.

sit2510




msg:213277
 6:21 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I tends to agree with mcavic about load balancing and "any particular PC will tend to stick with the same datacenter." - the problem does not seem to be the difference of OS and Browsers. In my network, we have window2000, XP, Window98 and browers from IE5 to IE6 as well as netscape. On a particular day, there is a chance that two computers tends to give different results from different datacenters for a period of time, but next day more weight on same results from same datacenters.

Perhaps you may want to turn off your computers, routers, hub, or switch for about 30 minutes, 1 hour or 1 night and see the results again.

marcs




msg:213278
 6:26 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Could have something to do with the cookie Google sets.

If that were to determine which datacenter is used for your searches, then browser/OS/IP would not matter.

Just an idea.

hetzeld




msg:213279
 7:06 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

phpmaven,

This is perfectly normal, I'll try to explain...

Google is using a round-robin algorithm to balance the load across all datacenters. This means that www.google.com doesn't have its own IP but will take the IP of one of the datacenters instead.

When you open a window on your first PC, go to www.google.com, your PC will have to learn about the IP address of www.google.com . It will thus issue a DNS (domain name server) query and get the IP of any one of the 10 datacenters in return, due to the round-robin algorithm.

This name resolution isn't valid forever as it is associated with a TTL (time to live) of 5 minutes. This means that for a period of 5 minutes, the IP will remain valid and there will be no need for a DNS query. Past that period of time, the IP is marqued as obsolete on your PC and any further request will force a DNS query.

There is a good chance that you'll get the IP of another datacenter... in fact 9 chances out of 10.

That's for your first PC, and this explains why the SERPS can change with time and DNS queries.

For any other PC on the network, as the first request for page www.google.com will need a DNS query, there is again 90% chances that you'll be redirected to a different Datacenter than the one used by your first PC... new DNS query means new IP == new datacenter.

If you have 2 pcs in a network, and those 2 pcs have 1 chance out of 10 to reach a given datacenter, you have thus 1 chance out of 100 to have both PCs connected to the same datacenter... which explains the differences.

Hoping it was clear enough :)

Dan

PS: this same rule applies for the resolution of the IP of toolbarqueries.google.com , in charge of the PR display in your toolbar.
It is this DNS "dancing" which gave its name to the "Google Dance" :)

Some_Bloke




msg:213280
 8:44 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Actually I tried to post on this issue a few days ago but it wasn't let through :-(

In my situation, I'm using the same pc but consistently getting different serps from IE and Netscape. Even using the "dance tool" all centres were showing one result in one browser and slightly different in the other, so it doesn't seem to follow the load balancing ideas.

hetzeld




msg:213281
 9:31 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Are you using a proxy server? Or maybe connecting through AOL?
In the last case, your IP changes for every request and this could play a role.

Dan

[edited by: hetzeld at 9:40 am (utc) on Aug. 13, 2003]

globay




msg:213282
 9:40 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you have 2 pcs in a network, and those 2 pcs have 1 chance out of 10 to reach a given datacenter, you have thus 1 chance out of 100 to have both PCs connected to the same datacenter... which explains the differences.

The chance that both PCs are connected to the same datacenter, is still 1 out of 10.

<added> ...because it does not matter, which datacenter is used by the first pc. </added>

hetzeld




msg:213283
 9:42 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

> The chance that both PCs are connected to the same datacenter, is still 1 out of 10

You're perfectly right... I meant that there were 100 combinations for 2 PCs and my weak english didn't let the message pass through :)

I hope my round-robin explanation was understandable, anyway ...

Some_Bloke




msg:213284
 9:46 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Are you using a proxy server? Or maybe connecting through AOL? <<

No, cable modem and static ip.

The strange thing is the consistency of the differences, if you know what I mean.

I had the browsers open side by side and kept refreshing the screens and each datacentre.

Initially I thought it was the disappearing index problem but on closer inspection it appeared that a few of the second pages of sites, the indented ones, were not showing in IE.

Dave

Dave_Hawley




msg:213285
 9:53 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

hetzeld, nice technical explanation.....trouble is i dont think it holds water :o) I have 2 PC's networked and I get the exact same results each time on both PC's?

Dave

mipapage




msg:213286
 10:22 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have 2 PC's networked and I get the exact same results each time on both PC's?

Consistently, all the time, for any search? Maybe the search you are making is 'relatively stable' across the datacenters. Some of mine are some aren't.

I had the browsers open side by side and kept refreshing the screens and each datacentre.

Would'nt this fall under the load balancing theory?

Dave_Hawley




msg:213287
 10:34 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Consistently, all the time, for any search? Maybe the search you are making is 'relatively stable' across the datacenters. Some of mine are some aren't.

Could be the reason, I only tried about 5 or so different search terms.

Dave

Some_Bloke




msg:213288
 10:35 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Would'nt this fall under the load balancing theory?<<

It doesn't seem so to me - the results I'm looking at are pretty stable and every refresh was showing a consistent difference between browsers.

I just tried it again and got similar results.

hetzeld




msg:213289
 11:11 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Dave_Hawley,

If your 2 networked PCs are sharing IP using the Windows share, then it's normal as all internet requests are done by a single box, including DNS resolving.

Dan (still afloat :) )

SlyOldDog




msg:213290
 11:22 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I asked about this about 15 months ago and we had all the usual explanations you can see in this thread.

Load balancing does not explain this as we received consistently different results on the 2 machines. The only possibility is that Google is taking some data from the browser or using a cookie, but c'mon...for what purpose?

hetzeld




msg:213291
 11:56 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well... another conspiracy theory coming up? :)

Some_Bloke




msg:213292
 12:00 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

SlyOldDog:

I wondered about the toolbar but I get the same results with it uninstalled.

What I'm finding is that IE and Opera give certain results but Netscape gives more.

My site shows several places higher on IE as some sites above it have their indented pages not listed.

This doesn't appear to be happening with a search on Yahoo. Perhaps some others should try with their different setups.

Dave

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