Matt Cutts: We have a question from Land Lubber
in Colorado. We’ve had a few from Land Lubber but you know these are kind of interesting
so I enjoy answering them. The question is, Do your SERPs, Search engine result pages,
return the exact same results on all browsers? That is, the same results on IE6, IE7, Firefox2,
3, Opera, Chrome and so on. The answer is, usually they do but not in
all situations. So let me give you a couple of situations where it could differ. If you
um, you know, personalization is based on who we think you are. So if you’re logged
in versus not logged in that might make a difference. Maybe you’re logged in on one
browser and you’re not logged in on the other. Another thing that might make a difference
is sometimes different browsers support different functionality. So even though the search results
didn’t change, last year we were using AJAX to sort of return very fast search results
on Firefox and Internet Explorer didn’t really have the support for that, that we would like.
So Internet Explorer eventually got that support but for a while if you searched on Firefox
you’d get the results in sort of this fast AJAX form, whereas internet Explorer would
do the conventional sort of way that we would return search results. That typically wouldn’t
vary the search results, but in theory it’s possible. The last thing would be if you might
be in what we call Bucket Testing. Now that sounds really unflattering you know.
[Mimicking country accent] Where’s my bucket? What’s this bucket doing on my head?
So think of it like Cookie testing. Different browsers depending on when you visit Google
might get different cookies, especially if you didn’t log in. And Google is always running
small amounts of tests on, or relatively small, it can be a large absolute number, amounts
of tests on users as they’re using Google. So for example we just rolled out a new way
of presenting our search results pages. Whenever you were using Google you might have gotten
into this Cookie test or Bucket test to see those new search results. So depending on
which browser you’re hitting, whether you’re logged in or not, which cookies you have,
all that sort of stuff, you might get slightly different testing done on the search results.
And that could include different algorithms. So while the vast majority of the time when
you’re doing a search on Firefox, Internet Explorer, or my personal favorite which is
Chrome, you’ll get the same search results, it is possible to have different search results
between different browsers.