Monday, October 31, 2011

Google Ditches the (+) Search Engine Math Symbol

Just as I put my last syndicated genealogy newspaper column to bed last week, there was a major change made at the Google search engine that conflicted with what I wrote in that column.

Google has changed the way one of their most useful search operators works: The (+) plus symbol operator.

Next time you want to make sure any single word or phrase appears in your search results, wrap it in quotation marks. To get exact results include specific keywords, you used to be able to add the (+) plus symbol operator to the front of a term, such as: +Georgia Atlanta

The search above would tell Google that the word "Georgia" must be on every search result and would ignore pages that don't have that word, such as a page that says, "Atlanta, Texas."

Now, rather than adding the (+) operator, you need to wrap the word or words in quotation marks, such as: "Georgia" Atlanta.

This will now give you the same results as if you had used the plus sign in the old way of searching on Google.