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Last month I heard a rumor that Google was going to do some kind of recalculation in the area of semantics - and this increased fuzziness could be part of that kind of effort.
At any rate, I've actually started to file a "complaint" when the results are particularly frustrating - by using that small link at the very bottom of the results page that says "Dissatisfied? Help us improve".
There should be an option that enables users to turn these semantic annoyances off.
Im also having to use + "" more often and to be honest i cant be bothered. Ive had to dump Google and use bing three times this week to get results that are on target.
At this rate i will change my default search engine to bing, im using G out of habit and its no longer delivering in 30% of cases
Some of my computer phobic friends have said searching has become more frustrating in '09. Methinks suggesting Bing to them is near as my testing shows them much improved since June in my niche.