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New Google search operator

Try ~ in your search

     
7:22 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"You may want to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its synonyms. Indicate a search for both by placing the tilde sign ("~") immediately in front of the keyword."

[google.com...]

This is good stuff!

Added: Credits to Henk van Ess who found it first!

[edited by: HitProf at 8:56 pm (utc) on Aug. 4, 2003]

10:47 pm on Aug 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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BOL,
Do you mean like word proximity, or is it semantic spacing. The problem then would be that it can go too far. For instance search for ~swimming. The fourth result contains the word pool, but clearly it is unrelated whereas others contain the word pool as it relates to swimming.
10:59 pm on Aug 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>word proximity

word frequency, in the document and across the whole index.

Just like when you search for "~webmaster" the supposed synonym is HTML. IMO, it's because pages mentioning webmaster also mention HTML quite often. Or if you search for "scottish" BBC is the supposed synonym, perhaps due to the fact BBC is probably one of the most linkedto/popular scottish sites.

Maybe there is a correlation between results returned and the synonyms, either way it seems in googles nature to do it automatically, the statistical approach, as opposed to simply using a thesaurus.

12:04 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"let's make a "cool little fuzzy concept operator" and give it a geeky name like tilde (~);". In all fairness to Google they didn't invent the term tilde

Yeah I know PBG, I meant "let's associate it with a geeky symbol such as the tilde (~)". ;)

PS: The Spanish word tilde derives from the Latin titulus ("sign").

12:22 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think it Nice the future!
12:28 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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However the next part perturbed me:"Nielsen suggested they should not be offered advanced search options by default. "
Surely that would not be conducive to enriching the user's search experience. I hope that Google has not adhered to the accessibility guru's maxim on that one.

A little chronology, just to get things straight: the article by Jakob Nielsen [useit.com] that I quoted is from May 2001. Google's stripped-down user interface began to take its shape somewhere between 1998 and 1999. The "Advanced Search" link was introduced around mid-2000 and has stayed on Google's home page ever since. Nielsen joined Google's Technical Advisory Council in 1999 (I think).

1:46 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GG said: It's a cool little "fuzzy concept" operator. :)

Does this mean I have to stop Drinking Again?

8:46 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Brotherhood of LANs Scottish point makes me think that perhaps google should just have used a thesaurus with the ~ operator.

One thing I would say is that if Google ever does theme matching, then both features would be pretty powerful together.

E.g. the term "holidays" in the uk often means the same as "Vacations" in the states...or it can mean national holidays (such Easter, American Independence Day etc).

So google could allow you to click on the meaning of the keyword you entered ("did you mean 'cheap holidays' or 'holiday dates and special days'"), ... and then search for all related synonyms (only matching to that particular meaning of the word). Now that would be useful :)

2:09 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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i have been playing around with ~ on Google

the most interesting result so far was for
"religion" vs. "~religion"

question: i am finding the results of ~ on google very similar to the kinds of categories displayed by www.wordtracker.com for the same keywords - can someone explain the connections?

2:30 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So google could allow you to click on the meaning of the keyword you entered ("did you mean 'cheap holidays' or 'holiday dates and special days'")

I recall this feature from other search engines that didn't make it in the market, and as handy as it might have been on occasion, it really cluttered up the top of the page.

I think Google's minimalist formula would be a bit upset by it, though they could likely gear it more intelligently, so that it only displayed on certain commonly confused phrases, and not others. Too many 'suggestions' is annoying.

On a different note, I disagree with Google expecting word of mouth to be all the marketing a nice feature like ~ needs. They don't answer to the same tech audience they used to, who would be more inclined to pass the information along.

9:13 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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question: i am finding the results of ~ on google very similar to the kinds of categories displayed by www.wordtracker.com for the same keywords - can someone explain the connections?

I am pretty sure wordtracker generates its variations from the keywords in the meta tags of the pages is queries.

BOL's theory suggests that Google uses more than meta tags but you would never the less expect to see some similarities with the two different approaches.

10:50 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> Google expecting word of mouth to be all the marketing a nice feature like ~ needs. <<

I expect it will be mentioned on the search page once they are happy with the way that it works. Google occasionally has "hints" on their search page, like "Why not try Google Answers" and so on, with a link to the service.

10:54 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One would at least expect it to be on the Advanced search page by now...
9:01 pm on Aug 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Oh, and I would at least expect "~HTML help" to come up with "~CSS help".
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