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The title is a little lengthy -- I know -- but please bear with me on this one.

I observed today that some Google sub-sites (namely Google Images, Google Books, Google Shopping) redirect to Google's main search page when the Google logo in the upper-left hand side of the site is clicked.

Why does this behavior only occur on some portions of the site and not others?

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I believe its because its these subsites specifically use the Google search engine to retrieve results (from the world wide web) and are also subsets of the google search itself, and hence the logo on the top left serves serves as a medium to return to the primary home page i.e. the google search page.

However if you take something like Gmail,though Gmail is a part of Google its an independent entity and the search is restricted to the contents of Gmail unless explicitly specified.

I'll try to update this answer with some references if I can get some

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