Google is driving me nuts
March 18, 2011 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to automatically "force" Google to search for the words I typed in, without having to manually include "+" before every single term? I do sometimes utilize fuzzy search, but I'm finding that lately, it is doing more harm than good, and nearly every search requires me to go back and add "+".

I've noticed that more and more of my searches return CRAP these days. For instance, my search terms include "semple" and I get results that include the word "sample" -- but not "semple". And I don't even get the benefit of the "Did you mean..." notification to alert me to the fact that Google didn't actually look for what I asked for. Quite often I can't tell a result is irrelevant because none (or just one) of my search terms show up in the preview, and it's not until I click and Cmd/Ctrl-F for a term that I realize it's not even on the page.

If this isn't an option somewhere in Google settings, is there a script or website I could use that searches via Google for what I type instead of what it thinks I want. Ideally, the script/service would auto add a "+" to all my search terms, but allow me to specify in the rare instance I want Google to go fuzzy on a word or term (like if I want Google to check my spelling). Bonus points if it also works for books, scholar, and other specialized Google search areas.

I realize I may just have to suck it up and learn to preface everything I google with "+", but at this point, alternate quality search engine recommendations would be much appreciated (besides Bing).
posted by lesli212 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
You can use quote marks as well, around the word or phrase in question.

(FWIW, my search for semple just turned up a bunch of pages with ... semple. No sample.)
posted by bluedaisy at 10:53 PM on March 18, 2011

Response by poster: Just to clarify, I'd like to not type anything extra, unless I want fuzzy search.

Also, quote marks are for phrase search, not exact search. Google will do a fuzzy search on phrases too.
See "tigr blood" vs +"tigr blood". i'm so sorry; charlie sheen is in my nightmares!

And I am not referring to a search for "semple" alone, I'm referencing a search for "semple" that includes other terms, one of which is pretty rare, which is what I think causes google to automatically expand "semple" to include "sample" -- without telling me.

I'd rather not type all of the terms I've been using tonight -- it's kind of personal. But I'll see if I can think of another search that does the same thing so I can post an example; I realize it's kind of a confusing issue -- until you notice it, then it drives you nuts! :-)
posted by lesli212 at 11:13 PM on March 18, 2011

Google Advanced Search
posted by empath at 11:16 PM on March 18, 2011

Best answer: The code:

allintext:example1 example2 example3

will restrict the results to pages that have all example words in the body of the document. Notice how there is no space between the operator "allintext:" and the first search example. There are also operators for title & url searches (allintitle: & allinurl:, respectively), if you want to search those specific items on a page, too (rather than the text body).

Unfortunately I don't see any search operators (other than manually using plus signs between each search term) for searching all of those at once (text, title, url). It may exist, I just couldn't find it.

Since I use Firefox, what I would do is set up simple bookmark keywords for each search operator. For the first type (allintext:) the keyword would point to this URL:

I'd use something simple like the word "text" to as my keyword. Since the keyword process isn't difficult but is a little wordy, here's an article on how to set them up: Firefox Keywords

Once it's set up, you'd just type something like "text example1 example2 example 3" & Firefox will insert the search terms into the URL you've saved for the keyword and presto, inclusive search accomplished without having to manually type plus signs for every word, ever again.

I hope that helps.
posted by empyrean at 11:16 PM on March 18, 2011 [42 favorites]

Response by poster: Awesomesauce - empyrean was onto something, thanks!

I'm using Chrome (though this process should be similar for Firefox), so I went into Preferences / Manage Search Engines and changed my default search. It's basically the same as google, except it searches allinurl, allintitle, and allintext for all of my search terms. For anyone else who'd like to do this, my chrome search string is now (with line breaks added for ease of reading):


As an example of how this works, compare these two searches:
1. kazakhstan semple puce
2. allintext:kazakhstan semple puce OR allinurl:kazakhstan semple puce OR allintitle:kazakhstan semple puce

The first gives me results with "sample" instead of "semple", but the second does not. Yay!

This is my default, so if I want regular google fuzzy craptastic search, I now type the keyword "?" to get plain old fuzzy search.
posted by lesli212 at 12:30 AM on March 19, 2011 [10 favorites]

empyrean, that was great. can you suggest any resources for learning more esoteric tips about google searching?
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:55 AM on March 19, 2011

Of course, now the first link on both searches is this very page!
posted by wyzewoman at 8:02 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: This has been bothering me for a while as well, at least the last couple of months spent getting irritated at my search results, even when I accidentally mispelt something. Here's what I whipped up for Firefox*.

The action is on the Param name="q" line, you can fix up your google search any way you want on that one. Drop it in Firefox's "searchplugins" folder wherever you have it on your system and restart browser.

*Tested on FF4rc1, YMMV.
posted by mcrandello at 4:31 PM on March 19, 2011

(what I linked does pretty much exactly what Lesli212's does. Many thanks for the idea.)
posted by mcrandello at 4:34 PM on March 19, 2011

Any solutions for Safari?
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:39 PM on March 19, 2011

Thank you so much all of you. This is very annoying, specially when googling similar words out of your "predetermined" language zone.
posted by omegar at 11:36 PM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: Quisp Lover- While I don't know too much about Safari or the Mac environment I did find this plugin which advertises the ability to add search engines (Hopefully someone more familiar with the platform can come along and give an up/down vote for it?)

Using that plugin you'd follow the directions on adding a new search engine and in the 'Query url' field paste something like:

the 'allinurl' and 'allintitle' portions may be a bit overkill however I'm leaving them in on mine for a while to see how much it bothers me having to go back up to the search field to adjust queries as opposed to retyping them on the actual google page.
posted by mcrandello at 12:50 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks! But, doh, I just realized I've already got a tool for this: Keywurl (which allows you to trigger searches at various sites via shortcuts typed in the URL bar). I can set that up to give me an option of using non-fuzzy Google.

The current version of Keywurl doesn't work for Safari 5, but there's a hack.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:34 AM on March 20, 2011

Google also supports boolean OR using pipes, e.g. (example1|example2|example3). This even works as part of a phrase, for example: "ronald (reagan|mcdonald)". You can also do NOT by putting a '-' before a search term, so if you searched for semple -sample you would get all pages with semple without the word sample
posted by Frankieist at 9:08 AM on March 20, 2011

This is terrific. Thanks so much for putting into words a problem I didn't quite realize I was having until I saw it explained.
posted by kostia at 3:29 PM on March 20, 2011

There's a new extension for Chrome to submit strict searches.
posted by BrainTree at 3:28 AM on October 9, 2011

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