It's one small symbol for Google, one giant leap for humankind! Thanks for making my life that little bit simpler. This is actually a huge advance in querying, searchers no longer have to put term1 OR relatedTerm2 OR relatedTerm2(although few probably bothered to do so), just ~term1 and google will understand more or less what you mean (the promise of AI and "The perfect search engine which would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want" seems tantalizingly close). I only came across this by chance yesterday- how long has it been there? ( Initially I feared for the fate of the OR operator, would it be condemned to oblivion with the tilde operator, another victim of "progress"? However "power searchers" will still probably need to use OR for terms such locationX or locationY, which cannot be synonyms, so OR is safe for the moment). On a more serious note, how is Jo(e) Surfer going to find this new wonder operator? Something of this stature should be on Google News, or even in a link on www.google.com.(I know it would mean a few more bytes on the homepage, thus slowing it down by upto a millifraction of a nano-second, but you have to live dangerously sometimes). Few explore the advanced search options (in fact this operator does not seem to be included in the advanced_search page) so maybe Google should look at educating the "normal" users (those who may think "SERPS" are natives of Serbia). Personally I don't feel the "advanced search page" is the panacea it is purported to be, for a variety of reasons. Furthermore it is not enough to have what aspires to be the "best search engine" if the majority of users are unaware of how to use it properly. Some are too lazy to do so, but I suspect many are just unaware of how to get the most out of Google. People are not generally "stupid" - they just need guidance sometimes,thus the onus is on both Google and the end user to raise standards in querying.(Educating the normal user, although not as glamourous as building super-slick search algorithms, may even spare us from a deluge of Slate articles lambasting the 'alleged bias inherent' in Google's results, when all the "researcher" needs to do is learn how to utilize Google correctly and refine queries accordingly.) Just a thought, and once again I am grateful for the tilde.
Kindest Regards and happy August to all