Posted November 16, 2011 12:29 am by with 5 comments

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Google continues to refine its search function. This time it feels like they are almost going back in time by allowing users to get search results based on what they actually type: verbatim.

When you go click on more search tools at you can choose “verbatim search” and the following typical algorithm assists are NOT used according to the Inside Search blog.

  • making automatic spelling corrections
  • personalizing your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • including synonyms of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
  • finding results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops]
  • searching for words with the same stem like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
  • making some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]
So in other words, on those occasions when you are looking for that perfect misspelled search you can have it so Google won’t go in and do the thinking for you.

I’ll be honest, I am not sure when this would be used but Google has to keep making “improvements” to search to look like they are concerned about competition.
  • Well, one application for verbatim searches would be lexical research: how often is this specific term used? Or: where is a certain term used? As a translator I find that very useful, for example when evaluating roughly equivalent alternatives to pick the more commonly used one.

  • Chris Dugdale

    “I am not sure when this would be used” – do you actually use Google?

    They have continually eroded the usefulness of quoted searches over the years. Google has been known to match close synonyms in quoted searches as well, which mostly defeats the object of doing a quoted search.

    Only this morning I was searching for [“question comma”] and it was matching things like “question; comma”, “question. Comma” and “question, comma” which alter the meaning significantly. Trying this now with Verbatim search returns the same punctuated variants. Would be good if it actually worked.

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