Form last few days a post by Brian Brown on SEOMoz about Dropping ‘O’ from Google logo on search result page is creating buzz. After investigating entire issue in detail, here I am posting my reasoning.
First and most important, if you have missed it, appending &num=100&start=990 to any search URL forces Google to drop second ‘o’ from logo they display on search result page.
To make difference clear, I am posting original and modified query around with relevant portion of Google search result pages…
Original Query: http://www.google.com/search?q=Rahul
Modified Query: http://www.google.com/search?q=Rahul&num=100&start=990
As you have might have noticed there is no yellow colored ‘o’ in modified search result page.
You can also obtain same modified search result page from appending &start=991 to original query. In fact any number equal to or greater than 991 after ‘start’ will force yellow ‘o’ to be dropped. Try This.
Lets move to reason part now…
Google is fooling us…
If you have noticed, on modified query page, just below search box Google says, “Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query.”
First conclusion – Google is fooling us by saying it has few million results for popular search term like paris hilton. In fact they never had more than 1000 results for any search term! May be they had it in past, but today, even for sex, they says sorry… like above.
Mysterious yellow ‘o’…
On Google search result pages, Google logo we see is made of separate images. Yellow and red ‘o’ are rendered from different images. If there is only one search result page (check this), the Google logo at bottom of search result pages highlighted in below screenshots never shows up. For each extra search result page (upto 10, on each side), a yelllow ‘o’ image is inserted which link to relevant search result pages.
Check following logo captured from this query page…
or check this…
As you can see number of yellow ‘o’ changes for different query.
Conclusion – How many number of yellow ‘o’ will show up depends on number of search result pages. For ‘no result’ and ‘only one result page’ conditions, no Google logo showed at all.
Connecting the ‘o’s…
Its apparent that Google handled two exception conditions but forget to add a condition like, ‘if user request results beyond first 1000, do not show logo’ at all.
Google is smart enough to prevent user going to error page from navigation links. Check this query. This is last one, so do not loose your patience!
The above one shows results #981-992, just before hitting limit of 1000. Above one does not have next link!
Google in fact, partially anticipated query modification via URL change and put error message “Sorry…” on search result pages beyond 1000. They just forgot to remove bottom logo generation logic from such pages.
As logo logic is there without any linkable result page, Google logo renders without any yellow ‘o’. NO result page means NO yellow ‘o’… !
Red ‘o’ in logo always stand for current page and is not hyperlinked. But depending on search query upto 9 yellow ‘o’ inserted.
In the end…
Revelation – You come to know how Google fooled us by showing some pseudo-count of millions of search results for popular queries.
Apart form this, there is nothing else except fun! If you think you owe me something for the revelation (or fun), you can instantly clear your debts by donating some bucks for my baby Orkutfeed!