Early this morning something weird popped up on Google. If you did an image search, the first few pictures would be displayed properly. But if you scrolled down just a bit, every other image was replaced by one single one, of a Russian car crash. And so far, no one knows why.
The issue doesn't seem to be affecting everyone, but I've been one of the lucky few to have my Image Search results all screwed up. The topshot features a search for the word "puppies." This one, below, is the result of a search for the word "cars."
You'll also find the picture replacing all of the images on a random news search, such as this one, for "Jalopnik":
The issue pops up in Incognito searches in Google's Chrome web browser, and other browers, such as Apple's Safari, as well. These were the results of an image search I did in Safari for "kittens":
Users from all over the world are reporting the issue on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, but Google hasn't said what could be the problem yet. It's not affecting everyone, either, and it's not clear what is making the crash picture show up for some and not for others.
In the meantime, Reddit user anvile noticed that the original photos stem from a story about a car crash in Moscow that killed three people. The driver, a 28-year-old woman, was reported to be intoxicated. At weirder still, the crash occurred in November of 2012, according to this Pravda article, so it isn't recent.
But the main question we still have is why it's happening. Simple glitch in Google's systems? Or does someone want us to see this particular car crash, of which there have been so many?
We'll find out soon enough. We've reached out to Google, and will update if we hear back.