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Google Search not Working Properly in IE

 5:26 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google Search works just fine with Firefox. It acts like it should. However, if I use IE, there are no search results where there should be. Has anyone else run into this problem? This could be accounting for my poor search earning.



 5:53 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have you checked your computer for malware/spyware ? This does not sound like a problem with Google itself. They would immediately know if their search results page did not work on IE - it would be fixed like lightning.


 6:12 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have checked and there is none. Actually another company emailed me this morning and told me there was a problem with the Google Search in IE, then I checked it on my IE, and it did not work either.


 6:37 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use IE8 and Google search works just fine. Everything is quite normal.

Recheck for spyware using another tool. In the past I've found that AdAware, Spybot and others will each find things that the other programs will not.


 6:53 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you very much. It's interesting that someone at Kontera in San Francisco and I in Phoenix had the same problem with IE.


 2:50 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

To clarify - my site uses a Google Custom Search Engine.

Someone told me that when they go to "search the site" and type in a search, they get error messages that kick them out.

When I use IE, it takes me to the search results page, but there is no information listed. This makes three different computers in three different locations that are having trouble with the custom search engine application using Internet Explorer. The problem does not occur when using Firefox.


 2:57 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the clarification - that really helps. I found a post on Google's CSE Help Forum [google.com] that seems to describe the same thing. Unfortunately there's no fix in that thread.

Try a CSE on Google itself - [google.com...]

Does that give you the same problem?


 3:13 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

I tried the Google link you provided in both browsers - IE and Firefox. It worked just fine.


 6:44 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

OK - then it's not the same as the more general problem that's being discussed in that thread - it may be something more particular to your site and its code. You may want to take the issue up at Google's CSE Forum where you can post your domain and get a review specific to your site and its code.


 2:10 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you, Tedster. I appreciate all your help.


 6:57 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just checked a couple competitors' sites using their Google Search feature with IE. There was trouble at each one of them. However, the search worked with Firefox. I'm beginning to think this is a Google problem and not a coding problem.


 7:45 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Might be the new hash mark queries that are floating around. The after hash mark stuff inthe url is sent client side, so that might be something that you'll see there. Does the url look like this with the hash mark instead of a question mark?

http://www.google.com/#q=[query here]&hl=en&safe=off&start=10&sa=N&fp=1&cad=b

[edited by: tedster at 7:53 pm (utc) on May 14, 2009]
[edit reason] de-link the example [/edit]


 8:06 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, zuko105, I get the hash mark queries at the end of the URL when I land on the search results page both in IE and Firefox.


 8:47 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something or is google being dumb here?

The # after a "page name" (the default "home" page in this case) means "go to bookmark named..." where the bookmark is defined by <a name=...>. Nothing after the # is used except for this purpose. This is a browser process, not a server one. So if you are already on the google home page this would try to take you to the (non-existent) bookmark on that page instead of submit the request to google, surely?

There used to be problems with some browsers interpreting bookmarks that included both # and querystrings - you had to get them in the right order. If that is still a (partial?) problem then it may account for the IE/FF discrepancy. Or possibly FF has added an over-ride to the # if it's google? You never know! :)


 12:04 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

@dstiles and @azlinda
That's what it is then. The hash mark is only sent in the browser, and not to the server itself. The page can use client side scripting (javascript) to then resend the query back to google to get the search results.

We saw this happening a couple of months back, but now looks like they've expanded this quite a bit starting yesterday/today.

Looks like the client side stuff on your IE is either blocking it or it's not working on your IE browser because of some sort of error.

I don't know the purpose of this hash mark technique, but I can speculate: Maybe to stop automated query generators that check rankings? Maybe some sort of client side browser identification to do this also?

Problem is when we saw it last, our logs just say www.google.com as a referrer so we don't know how we're found when users go to our sites from these search results. Maybe analytics is now getting these queries, I won't know the answer to this until I have a couple of days of data and see if the google analytics will only get the keyword phrase from their queries as opposed to other analytics programs.

That would push more sites to use google's analytics also.

Thoughts on my diagnosis theory and reason theories anyone?


 12:51 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

The # after a "page name" (the default "home" page in this case) means "go to bookmark named

I don't know the purpose of this hash mark technique

It's also an Ajax technique today, and not just a page fragment identifier. For some background, see this Microsoft page [msdn.microsoft.com]


 2:01 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's late and I'm over-stretched right now but I failed to see anything useful at that link, tedster. It talks about something I am unfamiliar with (Ajax) and fails to give a proper link example - at least, anything that looks remotely like Zuko's link.

One thing that did ring a warning bell is the statement "The potential problem is that some Web sites manually manipulate the hash of the URL for their own purposes." That suggests that the original "bookmark" anchor technique is a naughty aberration rather than something that millions of web sites have been using for years. Plus, as I said before, it's built into the browser to obey "bookmarking".

In particular, though, if scripting is turned off in a browser the # WILL, I would have expected, behave as it (once upon a time?) should have done and never leave the page. If that is so then google will become totally useless to me.

That's if we take "hash" to mean the # symbol. Hashing, to me, is an entirely different concept related to encoding and encrypting.

Quite apart from which, as I understand it, it's MSIE which is failing, not FF.


 3:45 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

MSIE doesn't fail for me. I tried a search on one of my own sites which has a Google CSE using IE8 and results were as expected.

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