Google Finds Twitter Handles, Hashtags, but Not Emails Yet

April 5, 2012

Remember this recent post on Mashable Google: Sorry, Twitter, We Don’t Index the @ Symbol? Those of us on the Boolean Strings group, who are search syntax perfectionists and are tired of seeing yet another suggestion to search for @*.com or *, etc. to find emails, were glad that this info (that is present in Google’s help as well, by the way) was confirmed once again.

It still remains true, regarding searching for emails. Try these search strings:

As of today, there’s no difference.
However,  some us of have been noticing that some special characters are being recognized lately, in some special circumstances. It was not a surprise when Google posted a vague description of an update called Deep Maroon saying they have started to look for some characters: Improvements to handling of symbols for indexing….Based on analysis of our query stream, we’ve now started to index the following heavily used symbols: “%”, “$”, “\”, “.”, “@”,“#”, and “+”. 

Now everybody’s talking about Google searching for special symbols. But wait, it hasn’t quite happened yet!

(Let me remind you, how much celebration, tweets, and re-tweets we had just two months ago about Google Showing Results for Punctuation Marks. What happened at that point was that Google started recognizing search strings consisting of just one special symbol such as / or @)

With the necessary reality checks in place (and let’s watch the strings above and hope they will look for emails one day) here is what I have noticed so far.

Google would recognize

Please note: things change as we speak, so the search results may change in the future. It's obvious, however that changing @ or # for another symbol in the last two strings above does make a difference, and that is quite new.

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