Social Question

Zaku's avatar

Is there a way to search Google requiring and excluding certain terms and phrases, any more?

Asked by Zaku (24978points) November 2nd, 2016

One used to be able to do things on Google web search such as:

+hello George
– This would only give results that have “hello”, and favor ones with George as well.

+“bye bye” -Emilia
– This would only give results with the phrase inside the quotes, but not results which had Emilia

And there used to be an Advanced Search mode, which I see no way to get to, now.

Now, it seems to treat +Hello as a request to search for ”+Hello”, and so I don’t see any way to do useful combos requiring or excluding certain words or phrases.

There is a new “Tools” button which allows the “Verbatim” option, but that applies to the whole thing, so it’s massively lame compared to how it used to work.

Is there no way to get those good old features, or an equivalent?

If not from Google, is there a better current search engine someone recommends?

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8 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Thanks very much!

I tried to Google it before, and got all sorts of irrelevant stuff.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Google ignores punctuation in quotation marks, so I suspect ”+hello” returns the same as “hello”. But “hello” -emilia should give you results with far fewer or no instances of emilia.

However, you’re right in thinking that it’s getting harder to search for specific things. Google increasingly pushes past the user’s search-limiting terms and returns what it thinks is best or most popular. There are searches I could do successfully five years ago that are pointless today. It’s infuriating.

Zaku's avatar

I didn’t mean that I would type ”+Hello” with the quotes.
I mean I would type +Hello and it used to mean only results with Hello in them because of the plus sign being interpreted as meaning that, but yesterday it seemed to be interpreting +Hello as a search for the string +Hello with the + sign literally before the word Hello, signalling that that syntax was no longer being responded to the way it used to.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Zaku Ah, I understand. In fact, if Google appears to be ignoring hello as a search term, putting it in quotation marks will improve your results. I usually use them to search for exact phrases, but once in a while I’ll use it to force results for a specific word, if Google is redirecting to something it thinks I want.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Dang, Jake, that is some bad-ass Google-Fu in that link.

Zaku's avatar

Wow I’m glad I asked this. Some useful info here.

BTW, I’ve been trying using the Advanced Search page, and so far I’m fairly confused by what it seems to be doing. I think maybe Google are in the middle of some weird changes.

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