A Google Search Operator That You May Not Know About!
Search operators in Google (see Google cheat sheet) help you refine and improve search results.
For instance, a query like “Taj Mahal AND Hotel” will search for pages related to the Hotel Taj and not the Mughal monument. Similarly, “kindle -site:amazon.com” will find all Kindle related resources outside the Amazon website.
Google Search supports an undocumented search operator called AROUND(n) that will help you find documents where the distance between two search terms is around ‘n.’ Here’s an example:
Google Around Search Operator for Proximity Searches
A search query like “CNN Obama” will mostly show CNN pages that are related to Obama. However, if we modify the query to look like “CNN AROUND(2) Obama,” you get results where the two terms are written on the page in close proximity.
The higher the number, the less the proximity.
Daniel Russell, who first wrote about the AROUND operator, says that AROUND is especially useful when the documents are rather long (think book-length articles) while a comment points out that it could be also be useful “when searching for quotes, speeches or a song that’s stuck in your head, but you can only think of a few words from it.”
Google’s wildcard search operator, represented by Asterisk (Obama * CNN), may achieve similar results but with AROUND, you even get to specify the distance between the two search terms. Do remember to write AROUND in all CAPS else it won’t work.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.