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October 2, 2010

Google Instant and Special Characters

Google usually ignores special characters from queries, so you can't search for :) or x^2. There are some exceptions: popular terms that include special characters (c#, c++).

Google Suggest is less smart than the search engine and doesn't offer relevant suggestions if you type c# books. Google ignores the hash sign and shows the suggestions for c books. To find results for your query, you need to press Enter or to select the last item from the suggestion list.

Another example: type $1 and Google shows suggestions for 1. Instead of showing relevant results for the query, Google displays the search results for [1 corinthians 13].

Bing's suggestions are actually useful:

While Google Instant helps you type popular queries faster, sometimes it's slowing things down because it shows the results for a different query.

{ spotted by Sundararajan S. }


  1. 1 guy 1 cup is relevant to me

  2. Google Code Search is better for those types of searches anyway.

  3. Are there any Web search engines supporting special characters?

  4. Kurtextrem,

    No, Bing doesn't respect special characters (except only a few well-known combinations).

  5. I would have never noticed that, good looking.

  6. Thanks for sharing, really helpfull

  7. As we mentioned in a blog post on our website, "will people actually take the time to click the link to turn Google Instant off if they do not like it?" Personally, I gave it a chance for several weeks and did not like it as I tend to do specific long tail searches.

  8. I really despise Google Instant's results sometimes; and its speed.

    It slows me down more than anything... does anybody know what I am talking about? That small lag when you start typing...

  9. Is there any way to identify Instant searches in the query string?

  10. respects special characters.
    [full disclosure: I am a developer for the site]

    Google ignores @#$%^&*()=+[]\, even in quotes, and codesearch is really only for searching source code. You can use SymbolHound to do a web search that includes characters.

    Hope that helps! Good luck.

  11. I hope shows the search with special characters.You can try out.