26 August 2013

Google's undocumented AROUND search term

Want to search on Google for one term in proximity to another? There's an undocumented protocol you can use on Google mentioned by Donald R Snow during one of his lectures at the One World - One Family conference on Saturday.

term1 AROUND(n) term2

Where n is the maximum number of words that can occur between the words, and in either order.

I'm not sure it works correctly

A search for John Reid produced 137 million results, "John Reid" gave 1.3 million results.  John AROUND(1) Reid gave 82.7 million, John AROUND(2) Reid 82.6 million and John AROUND(3) Reid 82.3 million.

Why would allowing a greater number of intervening term produce fewer results?

Could it be undocumented because its got bugs? Nevertheless, you may want to try it.


Barbara Tose said...

I would think with something like a name, more words between the first and last name would reduce the number of hits. Since the most likely terms to be used between a first and last name would be other names, I would expect fewer hits the more intervening names you use. No doubt there are more John Reid references than there are for John George Reid and fewer still for John George Jacob Reid.

I certainly will use it for my name and see what it comes up with. I run into problems when doing general searches for my surname because of spelling mistakes (tose for those) and because there is a software out there named TOSE. I'll let you know how it works for me.

Thanks for the tip.

GeniAus said...

So useful for genealogy. One of my favourite tech bloggers wrote about this last year and I had forgotten all abiut it. Thanks for the reminder. http://www.labnol.org/internet/google-around-search-operator/18251/