Don’t Save the String

booleanstrings Boolean

It’s funny that people in our industry would talk about Boolean Strings as if those strings were “heavy”, complex, and lasting. Just think “building a string”, “crafting a string” and “saved Boolean Strings”, “Boolean Strings storage”. Boolean Strings storage is serious business.

But you know what? Saving Google Boolean search strings is just like saving the sentences you say so that you can repeat them later. (Feel free to disagree).

Those of us with teenage children may have to repeat the same “string”, like “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”. (Can you relate?) But we don’t “reuse” things we say in real life. Knowing the language, we can phrase what we mean. Now, the “Boolean” language is simpler than any human language, so why spend the time saving and organizing “Strings”? (It’s not all black-and-white of course. Saving some notes on a search, or a long OR string of target companies, or sharing a search string with a colleague, as necessary, are all perfectly reasonable).

There is also an exception regarding the use of “saving Strings”, for novices – saving searches may help to learn the Boolean language. If we have just started to learn a foreign language, we may keep the top 10, or 300, expressions in a phrasebook or a language-learning app. But we can only say so much in a language until we learn it well enough to stop checking with “cheat sheets”.

Saved strings also don’t reflect the full scope of performed searches. There are always parameters and settings that are not reflected in the strings and may significantly affect the results. (Saving a search URL will take us to a closer – though still not “identical” – reproduction of a search.)

Why have I written the e-book “300 Best Boolean Strings” then? It is simple: the book is intended to explain how to search for a variety of social profiles and professional information, and the multiple strings are examples – they are not something to reuse. (The strings in the book are links you can follow, so the URL parameters are also “saved”.)

Expressions in a tourist phrasebook stay relevant for a long time. But Google search strings that produce desirable results change a lot. (Each new edition of the Book has required more than 25% of the queries to be rewritten.)

So here is a message to Saving Boolean Strings practitioners: consider dropping the practice, unless you have novices to train. If you do keep the Strings, remember that they are getting outdated as we speak.