I just did a search on "Joi Ito" and got this as the first link. In fact, all the links on the page had a redirection component in the result links. Normally, Google gives the link to the website directly. Looks like they may now be starting to track clickthroughs. I repeated the search on a few other keywords, and I didn't find it again, so I guess it is one of those Google experiments.
Hey! Stop that!

Reading the comments on Rajesh's blog, it appears that Google does this regularly. I hope it's not personal, and I hope it doesn't have anything to do with Homeland Security. ;-p

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It seems to be random and not really frequent, since I've only seen it twice... but it's definetly true.

Just weeks ago, it was like that all the time for me. Now, it looks more selective. If it is indeed random, it's at least not random per query, but per words.

I just noticed this for the first time today; browsing through my referrers I saw a couple of interesting keywords that had landed people on my weblog. Playing around in Google, I found that every search I tried presented links like the one above.

Of course, I'm in Australia -- given the behaviour of our politicians during George W's visit this week, I wouldn't be surprised if Homeland Security had decided to keep track of our entire convict populace. ;-)

Yes, Google does do this regularily. As Don noted above, when they do this, they track 100% of the searches of a particular user for a limited period of time. Searchers (not words) are "randomly" selected and Google modifies the searcher's Google cookie to track all queries made by that user. After a period of time, Google changes the cookie back to normal. In most cases, the searcher never realizes that this is happening.

Killing Google. Yes, just in time for their insipid (they say inspired) IPO,.. why you ask. I noticed this tracking thingie in an odd way several weeks ago. I searched a simple 'word' without accepting a cookie which used to work. Soon I realized that in some, then in 'most' cases when I tried to click through to the link using Google cache, when I did't let it set a cookie - it wouldn't give me the page. I tried opening pages in "new" tab. (running Moz 1.3x) It wouldn't load the pages (unless) I fed it a crumb. Thinking I was doing something unusual I went back several days in a row and tried this in varying ways. Conclusion: when I fed it a cookie, it worked, .. when I failed it failed (but not consistently) hmmm.
My comment really is that if Google kills search, after Compag killed Altavista, which in my own personal view was (better) don't all scream; and HP is burying it, then we are left--for the moment, at least--with no alternative search engine. The web without search is a no-go, as most would agree. I have had my trust in Google smashed. People will rush to get a drop of blood from the IPO like they did in the boom bubble, and many, no doubt, will get rich in a few minutes. The very lucky ones will. But at the end of the day the real losers will be all the addicts who don't know how to find anythng without Googling for it... Sorry for the lonnng rant. I really enjoy your site Joi Ito!!

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