Feeds

Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

Users question if more keystrokes = more efficiency

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.