I don't know if this is the correct place to share this, but here goes:

If I search this phrase:

\t _ _\n\t|_||_|\n\t _ _\n\t| |_| |\n\t\\_____/

with DuckDuckGo, it takes me to https://login.i-ready.com/. The phrase is a compressed ascii-art of a smiley face.

Any ideas what on earth causes this strange thing to happen?

I don't even really know if this is suitable for stack exchange, I'm just curious why this happens.

EDIT: It really is random, not just a single website.


This is a "feature" called "!Bang"... as documented here: here and here. There is nothing special about this string (try cutting it down), aside from the very first \.

Specifically giving a ! or \ at the beginning of your query will have a special effect... ! goes to a registered site for quick access, while \ goes to the first search result.

A couple of examples they give are:

  • !youtube or !yt
  • !g

If you type your "query" character by character, then you'll see the autocomplete options appear below.

Fundamentally, entering \stackexchange in the search box is equivalent to searching for stackexchange and then immediately clicking the top link.

Equally, entering \t _ _\n\t|_||_|\n\t _ _\n\t| |_| |\n\t\\_____/ will take you to the first result of the query t _ _\n\t|_||_|\n\t _ _\n\t| |_| |\n\t\\_____/.

example autocomplete for \

example autocomplete for !

  • 4
    This explains the idea behind !bangs but doesn't explain why OPs search query works. As far as I can see, \t isn't bound to any sort of !bang. For obvious reasons, I'm a bit reluctant to try this out for myself. – grooveplex Feb 26 '19 at 21:29
  • 5
    @grooveplex \t makes you go to the first search result of query t. If you search for the query from the question but without leading \ , then you see that i-ready is the first result. It doesn't have to be bound like the bang. Actually I think \ isn't really part of the bang feature but its own feature. – kapex Feb 26 '19 at 21:53
  • 1
    @kapex Woah, that's so cool! I had no idea. Thanks for enlightening me :) – grooveplex Feb 26 '19 at 21:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.