TECH
11/16/2011 03:57 pm ET

Google 'Verbatim' Tool Lets You Search Literally (PICTURE)

Sometimes Google's algorithms don't know better, or at least that's the thought behind "verbatim", a new Google Search feature announced on Wednesday.

In verbatim mode, which can be accessed by clicking "Show search options" in the left-hand column of a Google results page, Google will not make any of its "normal improvements" to your search and will only look for the literal words you type into the search bar. According to the Google blog, the improvements that Google will not make when searching in verbatim include the following:

  • 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]

It used to be that a "+" between keywords would denote an exact search, but in October it was reported that Google had quietly dispensed with the rarely and incorrectly used symbol in favor of double quotes around keywords.

Some said the "+" search operator was replaced because Google wanted to use it in Google+ profile searches without confusion.

Regardless of the reason, there was a niche uproar over the change. According to Wired.com, blogger Andy Baio tweeted, "Google phased out the + operator yesterday, which means I now have to 'quote' 'every' 'term' 'like' 'this'. Nobody else finds this annoying?" A Google employee quickly responded to say they were working on a fix. Today's announcement of Verbatim, which Google calls a "more deliberate" way to search exact terms, appears to be that fix.

Baio was apparently pleased. Following the verbatim announcement, he tweeted, "It feels strange to have influenced Google, and I'm frankly astonished at how quick the change was introduced. Nice work."

Take a look at the screenshot (below) to see where you can access this new search tool.

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