I thought I knew at least the basics of Google Search - but once again I'm wrong. There's an undocumented advanced operator that has apparently existed for 5-6 years, and I just learned about it today via Digital Inspiration [labnol.org] blog.
That operator is AROUND(n). Here's more information from an earlier article by DanielM. Russell [searchresearch1.blogspot.com]
What's odd about that is that nearly every librarian I've ever talked to about the clever uses of Google search has asked me about it...
The AROUND() operator MUST BE IN CAPS. The number sets the max distance between the two terms.
Note also that if Google can't find anything within the limit, it will just do regular ranking of the terms without the AROUND coming into play.
Using AROUND is especially useful when the documents are rather long (think book-length articles).
Russell give this example. A search for [ "Jerry Brown" AROUND(9) "tea party" ] will find hits illustrating the relationship between Jerry Brown and the Tea Party.
I can see this advanced operator being particularly handy when my first search gives me mostly results where the various query terms appear only in disconnected parts of a page.