Saturday, November 19, 2011

Google Introduces Verbatim Search

Google has just introduced Verbatim Search which can be used when you want an exact search to your query.

Doesn't Google already give exact search results?  Well, actually, Google may make the following changes to a search query:

  • Make spelling corrections
  • Personalize your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • Include synonyms of your search terms (matching “genealogy” when you search for [family history])
  • Find results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “burial” when you search [cemetery])
  • Search for words with the same stem like “obituary” when you’ve typed [obit]  
  • Make some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [died circa 1843]

Google call these changes to a search query "normal improvements"  and most of the time these improvements really help broaden your search and give better search results.  But for the times you want an exact search, you may want to try Verbatim Search.

How does a Verbatim Search affect your Google search results?  With Verbatim Search:

  • Every search term must be included in results 
  • Spelling must match exactly (even if your search term is mis-spelled) 
  • No word stemming - obit and obituary will not match, cemetery and cemeteries will not match, research and researching will not match.

Verbatim Search is NOT the same as putting a phrase in quotes.  A phrase in quotes must appear on the page exactly in the same order as the search query.  The words in a Verbatim Search must appear on the page but do not have to appear consecutively.

A few weeks ago, Google announced they would replace the Google + operator used to search for exact terms with double quotes around the word.   I think Verbatim Search may be Google's answer to the many requests to bring back the + operator.  But Verbatim Search and the + Operator are not the same.  With the + operator, you could choose only one of the words in your search query to be exact.  With Verbatim Search, all the words in your query must be exact.

You can access the Verbatim Search tool under “More search tools” on the left-hand side of Google Search Results.

When Verbatim Search is enabled, the word Verbatim in the left column of your search results will be red.

Try the same search query with and without Verbatim Search and you will see the huge differences in search results.

1 comment:

MainStreetMaven said...

Interesting tip. I have an aunt that will be excited about this (she's into researching and documenting ancestors)!