Google's magical cursor-jumping search box bug

If you have been experiencing a cursor-jumping bug when searching Google for the past week or so, you're not alone. Here's how to fix it for the time being.

For those of you not using Google Instant (if you type a search into Google and results start showing up as you type, you're using Google Instant), you may have started noticing an odd bug while searching: the cursor jumping from the middle of a search query you go to refine after performing an initial search. I first noticed this happening to me about a week-and-a-half ago. Initially, I thought it was some weird Firefox bug that was happening due to the number of tabs I had opened -- a scenario that typically yields buggy behavior for me. But then, I tried searching Google in another browser (IE). Then another (Opera). Then another (Chrome). Following those, I tried searching on another computer, which produced the same results. Then, I had my roommate try and he was able to reproduce it. Lastly, I had a number of friends give it a whirl, and though their results were varied, most were able to reproduce the behavior. Heading over to Google to search for others having the issue, I ran across the following thread on the Google Web Search help forum. There it is: confirmation. Commenter "rhyno40" sums up the behavior of the bug quite nicely:

For example, if I was to type in "animals," then click search, then decide "animals" is too broad, then I would try to search for "circus animals," it would appear as "canimalsircus." The cursor jumps to the end of the search after the first letter is typed. It's REALLY annoying.
With that said, I've created a video of the behavior. At first, I search for "Stephen from ZDNet here." Afterwords, I successfully add "This is" to the beginning of the search query and search again. But then, I try adding "This is" to various places within the search query and search a few more times. As you will see, the cursor gets all happy on me: Kelly, a Google search community manager, commented in the noted Google Web Search thread on 9/2/11, thus confirming Google's awareness of the bug:
Hey everyone! Thanks for joining this thread. We're looking into what might be causing this. Stay tuned! -Kelly
If you, too, are experiencing this issue, the current workaround appears to be enabling Google Instant. Personally, I can't stand Google Instant, and to this day, people are coming to the decision to opt out of it for various reasons as well. With that said, if you would like to enable/disable Google Instant, here's how: 1 - In the upper right-hand corner of Google's search page, look for the image of a gear, click it, then click "Search settings." It looks like this:
2 - When the preferences page loads, scroll down to where you see "Google Instant," then click the radio button next to "Do not use Google Instant" if you would like to disable Google Instant (which will allow you to see if you can reproduce the bug). Conversely, if you're looking to enable Google Instant, click the radio button next to "Use Google Instant — predictions and results appear while typing" (which will allow you to get rid of the buggy behavior). Whichever you choose, make sure you click the "Save Preferences" button in the bottom right-hand corner. That should set you up to either attempt to reproduce the behavior, or get rid of it for the time being. Hopefully, Google will get this bug worked out in the near future. As a "search ninja," I loathe Google Instant, so I would rather deal with the bug than use it. Likewise, with the nature which I furiously search Google and refine my search queries, this is perhaps the most inconvenient bug I've ever had to deal with from Google. I find it strange this is such a persistent bug, too. This is the type of thing I would expect Google to have taken care of in a couple of days; not a couple of weeks. What about you? Have you experienced this issue or are you able to reproduce it? Let us know in the comments below! -Stephen Chapman
SEO Whistleblower

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