Google doesn't like colons

by brian d foy

What happen to colons in Google searches? As a Perl person, I used to be able to search for module names, such as "Term::ANSI", and get back meaningful results. Now I get back results for "term ansi", which is not the same thing.

Google's become a lot less useful to me all of a sudden.


2005-06-09 02:43:18
Well, it always said it disregarded punctuation, and it has always disregarded some punctuation and such (like $ signs). For some punctuation marks it did seem to weight results toward those which included them, though, despite also finding hits which didn’t include them. Looks like that has changed for some reason.

As a search engine for Perl programmers, Google indeed just lost a good chunk of usefulness.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that they no longer filter stop words? Try to search for this and that f.ex: Google will gladly oblige. You can even search for and alone (usefulness of the results notwithstanding).

2005-06-09 06:47:36
Funny enough, you can search for * and & punctuations.
2005-06-09 09:35:39
Just add Perl
The search term

perl Term::Ansi

seems to return reasonable results.


2005-06-09 10:17:16
Just add Perl
That doesn't work for me. Previously, the first page of hits would be about Term::ANSI. Even adding "perl", none of the first page of hits is about the Term::ANSI module.

The results aren't useful at all since I'm looking for a particular Perl module.

2005-06-10 04:37:40
colons are reserved in Google searches
colons are used as a special delimiter in Google, such as in searches like:


No surprise then that it "filters" them out.

2005-06-10 07:09:03
colons are reserved in Google searches
They didn't have a problem with that before. One colon is a delimiter, but two colons isn't.

I'm surprised because they use to work, and now don't.

2005-07-06 03:57:01
It's always done this
I'm pretty sure that it's always done this.

My guess is that you're hitting a change in the ranking algorithm Google uses rather than a change in the treatment of colons.