If you’re not the best of spellers, or perhaps you’re a little lazy, then Google’s automatic spelling correction tool will probably work pretty well for you. But if you like to be in full control of your searches without having Google second-guess you all the time, you’ll be pleased to learn than the search giant is rolling out Verbatim Search, which lets you search for items exactly as you type it in the search engine.
Of course, there has previously been the “+” operator to help search for specific terms, but apparently it was often used incorrectly, so Google removed it a couple of weeks ago. And then there is the ‘double quotes’ around your search term, which is an old favorite. But it seems that’s not enough for a lot of people:
In a blog post today, Corin Anderson, Principal Engineer of Search at Google, says:
We’ve received a lot of requests for a more deliberate way to tell Google to search using your exact terms. We’ve been listening, and starting today you’ll be able to do just that through verbatim search. With the verbatim tool on, we’ll use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements such as making automatic spelling corrections, personalizing your search by using information such as:
- 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]
To access the Verbatim Search Tool, once you’ve searched for a word, look down the left-hand column and go to “More search tools” and then activate ‘Verbatim’. It won’t be available to everyone yet, and will be rolled out to everyone over the next few days:
Google also says it will be applying a similar philosophy directly to its algorithms, such as “tuning the accuracy of when our query broadening search improvements trigger. In the meantime, if you want to search for a very specific term, be that [carosel] or the [etymology of sissors], give the verbatim tool a try”, says Anderson.