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Searchers say bug bars way back to Google

IE8 back buttons bolloxed

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Updated Google users are complaining of a search bug that prevents them from returning to the company's web-dominating search engine via their browser "back" buttons.

The company has acknowledged the bug, saying it affects users running Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8, and it plans to roll out a fix today.

According to multiple threads on Google's Web Search Help forums, some netizens are finding that when they visit a webpage through Google, they're first sent to a redirect url. And when they try to return to Google's search results, they hit this redirect again and it sends them back to the webpage they've already viewed.

"Essentially you click on a search result, and instead of it taking you to your page you are first taken to a Google redirect page," one user tells The Reg. "This then takes you to your requested page. Now clicking Back in your browser takes you to the redirect which leaves you on the same page and unable to return to your results — very frustrating."

This user says he's experienced this issue for several days. And in the support forums, another says the problem went away when he cleared his browser cookies.

In responding to this user, a Google employee suggested that the issue is related to a test the company is running with a limited number of users. "You may have been randomly selected to be part of one of our many experiments that helps us evaluate our results and test small changes," the Google employee says to one user.

"Clearing your cookies likely removed you from that experiment. However, even in the experiment, the redirect should not have interfered with your browser's Back button... I'm curious if this is a bug in one of the experiments, simply an anomalous glitch, or some other conflict."

In an email to The Reg, Google acknowledged this response was from a genuine company employee, and it later pointed to a new post in the forums that says the bug is related to IE8 and that a fix is on the way. "This is indeed a bug affecting Internet Explorer 8 users. We have a fix and are in the process of rolling it out, so you should have Back button functionality restored later today (within a few hours if all goes well)," the post reads. ®

Updated: This story has been updated to show that Google now says that the bug is related to IE8 and that a fix is on the way.

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