As the time goes, Google search takes more and more control over. What I mean is that it makes its best guesses as to what we “really” want to see in the search results. I agree that cleverly delivered interpretation of search requests benefits unsophisticated users.
Unfortunately, those of us who use advanced Boolean searches (a very small % of total population, of course) have to jump through hoops if we try to search for what we want, not for what Google thinks we may want.
Here’s who Google’s updated help page reflects this direction: “ Search engines use a variety of techniques to imitate how people think and to approximate their behavior…Synonyms might replace some words in your original query…A particular word might not appear on a page in your results if there is sufficient other evidence that the page is relevant. ”
As part of this tendency, The PLUS Operator Has Been Replaced. This was an announced change and got some bitter comments on the web. A change that went almost unnoticed was the removal of the operator ~ (tilde) from Google help pages. It’s not very clear now how ~ works, since Google supposedly brings synonyms without being asked.
Are there any good news here? Sure – for those who like challenges! We now need to be even more insightful, creative, and posses stronger Boolean string knowledge to keep control in our own hands.
By the way – can you guess that happens as of today if you put Google+ in your search string?