There’s No AND

booleanstrings Boolean

Fellow colleagues who work on perfecting your command of the search syntax on Google. Here’s something I’d like to make more visible.

Google does not support the AND operator.

It is not listed in its help.

It would not make a difference if you include it in your search with any sort of capitalization: and, AND, or ANd.

Here’s an example search slightly modified from a recent post on the Boolean group:

“turbocharger” AND “mechanic” OR “repair” “resume”

Compare the results with this:

“turbocharger” and “mechanic” OR “repair” “resume”

and this:

“turbocharger” AnD “mechanic” OR “repair” “resume”

Do you see the difference in the search results?

The results are, in fact, exactly the same. The word 6AND is, in fact, included as a k*eyword. (Well, maybe it is not included in every case since it is so common; every time it’s up to Google to decide. I mean it, since Google tries to make sense of what we might be searching for.).

Of course, Google does support the Boolean logic. It will combine all the terms you put on a search string together. But AND only takes the space and makes changes to the search results that we do not have in mind. Don’t use it.

On Bing (and on LinkedIn) there is the AND operator (the word AND needs to be capitalized). It doesn’t need to be there, though; all the items are combined by default.  It’s not necessary to include it.

There’s No NOT Either

There are some other differences in the search syntax. On Bing there’s the operator NOT (capitalized). On Google, we have to write the minus in front of a word or a phrase to exclude it.

On Google, the parentheses don’t matter. On Bing, OR statements need to be included in parentheses to be executed first.

A common mistake is to copy and paste search strings between the search engines without watching for the syntax differences.

That’s it for now. And this is what our kitten R2D2 has to add (he has just jumped on my keyboard): 🙂