Google Now Lets You Search for Exact Terms Using Verbatim

A few weeks ago, Google removed the ‘+’ operator that allowed users to specify Google search queries in a better way. According to Google, there was an alternative to the ‘+’ operator- the quotes (“your search term here”). With quotes, users could specify the exact word or phrase they wanted in the search results, just like using the ‘+’ operator.

Power users were not happy with the removal of ‘+’. They complained because the ‘+’ operator was handier than quotes. To pacify those users, Google has brought back the usability of the ‘+’ operator and quotes. However, this time, it has been put it in a drop-down style menu, and is called verbatim.

While the verbatim mode cannot justify the missing ‘+’ operator, it does a good job by searching for exact terms in the query. Moreover, the withdrawal of the ‘+’ operator was inevitable, given that less than 0.5% of searches used it, and out of those, two-third of them did not know how to use it correctly.

The Inside Search blog announced the verbatim search, saying:

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 sites you’ve visited before
  • including  synonyms  of your search terms (matching carwhen you search [automotive])
  • finding results that match  similar terms  to those in your query (finding results related to floral deliverywhen you search [flower shops])
  • searching for words with the same  stem  like runningwhen you’ve typed [run]
  • making some of your terms  optional, like circain [the scarecrow circa 1963]

You can access the verbatim search tool under More search toolson the left-hand side.

How to use Verbatim Search in Google?

Using the new verbatim search in Google is simple. It takes only two steps. First, you type-in your search query and perform a regular search. Do you notice how Google enforces a correction?

Then, in the left sidebar, expand “More search tools” to get the verbatim option.


Click on it and the search result will change, searching for the exact text you were looking for.

Apart from verbatim, Google is also working on a better search algorithm that will decide whether to correct the search query automatically,  or not.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.