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back to article Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

Google has quietly dropped the use of the + symbol to link search items, in a move it says will simplify the process of Boolean searching. The + search operator, widely used in searches to confine results to a specific search term, has now been replaced with quotation marks. So, for example, the search Register +BOFH is now …

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Meh

There's probably a trade-off there...

Making Google Search Results worse, by making Google Ad Delivery on the results page better...

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Boffin

Alternatives to Google/moronic 'intelligent' autocorrections

One alternative is to write a script to reformat the search or its results. I find the Greasemonkey scripting community to be handy for this. In terms of moronic autocorrections, I find this one works wonderfully: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/103507 - it parses your original query, and only supplies the "Did you mean...?" as alternatives, not as the main results. Also instructions for modifying the Firefox search bar to do the same thing. It's worth searching for other scripts to handle any other new Google/Facebook/whatever functions that you don't like, the GM scripters are quite prolific.

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Yeah Reg! Find me the 2011 equivalent of Altavista circa 2002 when the web was actually searchable and not gamed so much the results are worthless.....

PS As long as the rest use Google, as I have to game that to make some money...

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Anonymous Coward

More likely

It is obviously not easier to use quoted string instead of +string and it is inconsistent with the OR and -string operations.

Google knows a lot about language design and they wouldn't do something so obviously wrong unless they had a better (more lucrative) use in mind for +.

My bet is that they will somehow use + in Google queries to link with Google+ entries and try and drive traffic from one to the other, or more likely both ways.

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Totally agree +Paul Turner 1

I predict you will be able to soon search for anything you or any other Google+ member has =1'd right from the Google search page.......

Search term:-

Android iOS patent war +Paul Turner 1

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Big Brother

Bah

Google are the new Evil Axis. Worse than MS ever was, who only wanted your money. Google wants your soul (Profile) and hopes to wreck your head so you don't notice.

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With the chief difference...

...if you don't like Google, you can try someone else. Erm, without having to ditch every other website on the Net.

Try that with Windows and a software collection of any reasonable size. Good luck, let me know if you get CoD Black Ops working in Linux.

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FAIL

Also degraded

Since they decided to high rank all the sites you went to before. I want to find NEW sites with "that" content., I'm not looking for a Bookmarking service

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Facepalm

Uh oh!

Marketing speak is sometimes so bizarre it is funny (even when like today it insults ones intelligence).

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Anonymous Coward

It might be just one more character...

...but it could easily end up with more than just a couple more keystrokes to get to where you want to be.

Imagine that you have already entered a set of search terms and you decide to try and force the inclusion of one. Once you've entered the first double quotes you have to keep on pressing the right key until you get to the end of the word you want to force to be included. It's irritating.

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Windows

Try Ctrl + Right

Or should that be Ctrl "Right"?

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Anonymous Coward

errr English fail?

When I, and I suspect most people, put a single word in quotes it means that we don't actually mean what is written, I really "liked" that. Does not mean that I really liked that and, I wouldn't instantly connect such a "brilliant" idea to the notion of looking for that word specifically as a good thing.

If I'm looking for a string then quotes make sense.

TBH though I rarely use the + far more common to use the -

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FAIL

Google-

Asinine.

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Well that was dumb

After 15 years of implimenting + instead of quotes they now change their mind. The logic was that - (minus) means don't include this and + means definately do include this. To get rid of + is like ying losing its yang!

I think it was done to reserve the + symbol for returning results related to Google+ or to just avoid confusion which, I'm sure, has actually added confusion.

Booo!

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That's Yin...

... not ying.

Still, the Google+ link is probably right, as «Paul Turner 1» wrote a few posts up.

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Pint

GaryF was probably thinking of...

"up the ying-yang"

since any of the definitions of that phrase seem apt with regard to Google

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+"effing stupid"

Actually, given how superbrainysmart they all are at Google HQ, I'm kinda surprised that, back when they were cooking up their social thingamawidget, someone didn't say "Hey, ahh, don't people use a plus sign when they do searches? Could this get confusing?" But no, it's far far easier to take a fairly intuitive idea (+wanted -unwanted) and scrap it for something built by bureaucrats.

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Flame

I'm finding Google almost unusable now...

because it WON'T stop making substitutions! Instead of giving me what I very, very specifically searched for, using proper advanced operators, quotation marks, minuses, spells, a Boolean rabbit's foot and the "yes I DO mean "wombit" dammit!" command,

Google STILL returns what it apparently believes is the correction of my "typos."

"17,940,862,3467,803 results found for "wombat""

And underneath, in teeny letters,

"Click here if you really, really wanted to search for "wombit", but we don't believe there's any such thing, you're just pretending you meant to type that, neenerneener... "

A flarkneling link I have to click, in order to do a SECOND search for WHAT I ASKED FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!??????

Sorry, let me try to put this succinctly and calmly:

I'M SICK TO DEATH OF THE DAMNED SEARCH NOT RETURNING THE RESULTS I ASKED FOR.

What the hell good is a search engine that flat-out refuses to accept the strings I enter, no matter WHAT they are? Between Google's obnoxious, condescending nagorithms and the #$$%^&*()TR%ing fascist behavior of defaulting to Instant and Semi-Safe Search every time I sensibly let the cache/cookies/crap get flushed down the drain at quit, I'm about to buy a ticket to Google Central and shoot one server per hour until they at least give me back my + sign.

And why is there only beer here! I need a SCOTCH for heavens sake. Double. Neat. No, make it a triple.

Hell, just give me the bottle.

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Emj

Damn it - you owe me a keyboard!!

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Damn

Damn. I was hoping that was temporary. Adding &nfpr=1 to the end of the search address seems to stop the spelling "correction" though, which is half the reason I used the plus in the first place. So that's something, whatever it stands for.

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WTF?

Jeez, people get so intense

Google replaces the + by "", and it's like the end of the world...

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it's obvious...

Google won't search for [+ sign] because it knows you don't find [+ sign], he finds you.

Or maybe it what [Chuck Noris] instead ? :-)))

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FAIL

Never used it ...

... but I do use - OR and quotes.

However, I will agree in the sentiment, why remove it at all? Just leave it in there - it's been part of search for a very long time.

Google-

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Boffin

@ Cordwainer 1, 2-Part Return, et al

In Firefox at least, and presumably you can fiddle similarly with the config of other browsers:

In the URL bar, type about:config. Locate keyword.URL and change its value to http://www.google.com/search?nfpr=1&q= (or whatever other default domain you prefer).

It's the nfpr=1 part of the URL which prevents Google from showing search results for keywords it *thinks* you intended to enter, and instead forces it to return your actual query as stated.

Sorted.

@ AC, 24th October 2011 23:33

"When I, and I suspect most people, put a single word in quotes it means that we don't actually mean what is written"

English fail indeed - but unfortunately *your* fail, not theirs. Partial quotations are used in English to help paraphrase; check out the BBC's RSS feeds, they do it all the time (looking at it right now, I see things like: Syrians 'tortured' in hospitals; Writer hails 'genius' Steve Jobs). This means that a word or phrase was lifted directly from the original source and is a quotation from, rather than something the author has included by himself. While it "can" be used for varying types of emphasis, this is only where options such as italics are unavailable (such as in these comments) and really isn't the correct way to use it. Just because it's "common" on the internet doesn't make it in any way grammatically "correct". Go back to school.

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@Jason Togneri

Thank you :-) I hadn't run across that tip before & will definitely give it a try!

p.s. you had to go and spoil a perfectly good grumpy mood, didn't you?

grumblegrumblemumblegrumble

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FAIL

Message to Google

BOOLEAN is a standard you fuckwits...

NOT Goolean....

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Dear Google...

Dear Google,

Please read all the above comments regarding your search engine.

Thankyou

Your's sincerely

Your customers.

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You are not Google's customer.

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Happy

Dear "Customers"[1],

We suspect you may be missing who owns our search engine and who's paying for it. If you don't like it, please try not to let the door hit your arse on the way out.

Yours Sincerely,

Google

[1] In quotes because......oh fuck, our heads just exploded.

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As someone who has helped with more than one Adwords campaign...

...please put the + back.

Now tell me I'm "not a customer".

(or +not +a +customer, if you like)

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:(

+Google +"missing the point" +again ???

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Flame

"... only appears in links to this page."

Fuck off.

That is all.

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Documentation

The documentation says that all search terms are now included by default, ie. there is an implicit "+" (the old fashioned sort) in front of every term in your query. That seems to contracdict the email sent to the Reg.

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Anonymous Coward

Less time searching for [magazine +latina] more time not breaking established standards.

This bodes well for DART, and explains the huge success of similar G-ventures.

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"When I, and I suspect most people, put a single word in quotes it means that we don't actually mean what is written"

-I think this may have lead to many years of not quite getting the point. Quote marks are, well, "Quotations" as in, word for word what was said/written. I've never come across this reversespeak usage before.

and the rest of you should know by now that marketers define the universe. You "will" consume what you're told to consume, in the manner you are told to consume it.

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@Wyccant

They're called "scare quotes".

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FAIL

What I want...

OK, I used to think that "search for exactly this word" *was* done with quotes, because that's something different to "definitely include this word (or its variants)", requested with, oh, I don't know, a + sign or something.

But now (and for some time, apparently) these two functions have been merged together in a somewhat (bad word)ed way, and this is just changing the symbol used for this.

And "an exact phrase" will find "an exact... ; - - - - - ../?, phrase", (punctuation and all). How do I stop it doing that?

And why does the default search query not include the following items:

* -kelkoo

* -ciao.co.uk

* -experts-exchange

etc. When I am looking for hardware reviews, I don't want to see three pages of links to price comparison sites with no actual reviews of the interesting product on them.

Google used to be good, now it's not. I guess that makes it evil or something... (joke)

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Anonymous Coward

So how do I distinguish between

"must include this term" and "use this term verbatim"?

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Anonymous Coward

Is there a search engine with regex support?

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FAIL

Google-

As searching with Google has become so crappy, I have been using a less-evil alternative: Blekko.

See https://blekko.com/ along with http://blog.blekko.com/ and http://www.skrenta.com/ (latter is blog of one of the founders, Rich Skrenta).

A decent overview, "14 Facts about Blekko", is at http://cognitiveseo.com/blog/149/14-facts-about-blekko-infographic/

It uses a smaller index of search pages than its arch-nemesis, but it does not include much of the spam and link-farm sites.

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Aside from realising there was a door to close after the G+ nominative problem horse bolted, this is an absolutely and entirely incomprehensible decision.

Absolutely stupid.

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On the plus side...

...finally searches for C++ will work in Google. At long bloody last.

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Linux

Google to be as unpopular as Microsoft?

Are google trying to become as unpopular as Microsoft? 'We changed this BECAUSE WE CAN', so go away.

DuckDuckGo.Com still allows proper search stuff.

Penguin cos it's as close as you've got to a duck.

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Megaphone

Fun search site - Duck Duck Go

I'm quite a fan of Duck Duck Go, reminds me of Google in it's early days. You know, when it was good. The !bang syntax is kewl....

http://duckduckgo.com/ or http://ddg.gg

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Paris Hilton

Cant believe no one caught this

".....The Register in an emailed statement. "So, if in the past you would have searched for [magazine +latina], you should now search for [magazine "latina"] to get the same results.""

magazine "latina" now returns as one of the front page sites:

http://www.oyemag.com/

*I think its safe but I didnt bother looking now Im going back to bed with the woman.

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Pint

I'm guessing that Google+ hijacked the "+"

Google+ stole the damn "+".

What about Google Calculator? .... 2 "2" = 4 ??

There's no Earthly reason why Google couldn't provide an 'All Of The Above' type solution. They could parse the +term into "term" all by themselves if they wish. Don't bother the humans with it.

Stupid. Google should change their motto to: "Don't Be Stupid", and then live by it. Lately they've been quite stupid.

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Google is getting a little full of itself....

Granted, most people you meet would not know "Boolean" from "Bologna", but by now most of the internet-searching public has intuitively grasped that you want to search for world + dog instead of world "dog".

Didn't people once accept Google as the search leader because their search was simple and intuitive? It sounds like Google is going down the road that MS embarked on when they made Vista, a PC operating system that was such a resource hog it would not run on 75% of the installed base of PCs.

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Not feeling so lucky anymore

When Google first appeared, I was blown away by the ``I'm feeling lucky'' button. Ten to twenty percent of the time I'd use it, and more often than not get what I wanted. I've been using it less and less in recent years. If I'm not alone, that should tell Google something.

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search: do +not +evil

Did you mean "Do evil"?

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They announced this?

I figured this out by trial and error weeks and weeks ago. Google continues to find ways to make searches return more and more irrelevant results. I assume because 90% of the people on the internet can't spell.

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