Google announced that it is rolling out “Verbatim Search” today. This is a new search tool designed to make up for the absence of the “+” search operator that existed until recently.
Last month it became known that the “+” operator was no more. People were not very happy with this. Google says less than half a percent of searches actually utilized this, but you wouldn’t know that from the outpour of anger that came following this news.
We speculated that Google probably wanted to do something related to Google+ with the “+” queries, and sure enough, last week they announced Direct Connect - a way for searchers to use the “+” to bring up Google+ Pages.
At Pubcon last week, Google said it might soon roll out some kind of replacement for the “+” operator, and now they’ve already made good on that. Verbatim will be available via the left panel on search results pages under “More search tools”.
When you use Verbatim, Google says it will use the literal words you entered without making the normal adjustments like:
- making automatic spelling corrections
- personalizing your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
- including synonyms of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
- finding results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops])
- searching for words with the same stem like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
- making some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]
One interesting nugget from Google’s announcement is that they’re applying “similar ideas” directly to their algorithms, “such as tuning the accuracy of when our query broadening seach improvements trigger.”