Feeds

Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

Users question if more keystrokes = more efficiency

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Updated 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 replaced by Register “BOFH”.

“We're constantly making changes to Google Search - adding new features, tweaking the look and feel, running experiments - all to get you the information you need as quickly and as easily as possible,” said Kelly Fee, Google Search community manager in a Google forum. “This recent change is another step toward simplifying the search experience to get you to the info you want.”

Based on the feedback in Google’s forums, the move is not a popular one. Fee’s statement was found useful by only two readers out of 13, while every reader who commented supported the following user rant shortly afterwards:

“How does requiring us to type two characters instead of one in order to ensure that a key word appears in the search results simplify the search experience? For that matter, how do random and unannounced changes requiring us to change our documentation (and you you're own - which you haven't done) help anyone? If you want to expand the functionality of quotation marks, that's great, but why remove functions that have worked before?”

Oddly, other popular and long-standing search operators, such as OR and the – symbol, are unchanged, leading to speculation by some that the move is to cut down on confusion with the Google+ social networking site.

Update

"We're streamlining the ways you can tell Google to search for the exact keywords you type, whether it's an exact phrase or a single word, by focusing on the functionality of the quotation marks operator," a Google spokesman told 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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.