Something that I always missed in Google Search was the fexibility of expressions building. Sometimes those tricks mentioned in the advanced search facility is barely enough to fulfill my immediate needs and I have to make series of searches and combine them later. That’s what always bugged me. Yesterday I was doing some collocations searches for my English classes after my working day full of coding was over and unexpectedly typed in an expression looking more like something from a programming language. To my astonishment it worked finer than fine and returned lots of useful results.

In this short writing I would love to share my finding with you. It may come that you have already seen a similar description somewhere or maybe it’s even documented (?). Who knows… Personally, I saw this functionality for the first time. So, let’s start some magic?

OK, here’s some basic stuff as a short introduction to what is really amazing. We all know well that ‘big read apple‘ means any of these three words should be in the document with priority to the exact match. If you write it this way, ‘big +red +apple‘, then each word becomes mandatory and priority remains the same. Going further…

Putting the words in quotes will instruct Google to look for some exact phrase ‘ “big red apple” ‘. Only those documents with exactly this phrase will match.

Well, this basic stuff already has some value, but it is far not all what we can have fun with. And now right to some black magic! I’m retty sure that 9.5 of 10 have never seen or tried this before. So, fasten your belts, it’s time to say goodbye to Kansas!

The first trick I would love to share with you is building word selectors. For example, you just bought a new car and looking for both handy accessories and good advices for newly baked car owners. You could easily make two queries in two separate browser windows, like this ‘new car accessories‘ and ‘new car advice‘. Sure, but take a look at this - ‘ “new car advice|accessories” ‘. Any explanations required? How about this ‘ “new|old car advice|accessories” ‘? The gears in your heads are already spinning? Good.

Now try this one ‘ new * tire ‘. It matches every expression starting with ‘new’ and ending with ‘tire’. In the middle there can be any word or fixed phrase or … not sure yet what else. I haven’t found any great application to this last one yet, but it may come up so unexpectedly that it’s better to keep that in mind.

That’s all tricks for today, folks. Was it useful? Let me know.