[Corpora-List] Re: problems with Google

Deane, Paul pdeane at ets.org
Thu Mar 17 17:00:32 CET 2005

Has anybody checked whether the behavior with Google's Web API and its
standard search is different?

I have code using the Java Web API which makes use of the asterisk to blank
out a single word (not an unrestricted wildcard.) As of yesterday, when I
tested the code, it still appeared to be working as designed.

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kehoe [mailto:Andrew.Kehoe at uce.ac.uk]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:27 AM
To: CORPORA at uib.no
Subject: RE: [Corpora-List] Re: problems with Google


Even if you put double quotes around the wildcard character Google will
ignore it. When you search for:

"what does "*" mean"

Google is actually searching for 2 'phrases': "what does " and " mean". You
cannot nest double quotes in Google so the double quotes around the * are
actually closing your initial quote and beginning a new quote, with the
wildcard ignored completely.

It may be the case that SOME of the pages Google returns will contain "what
does", followed by one other word, followed by "mean" but your query does
not ask for this specifically. Google could (and does) also return pages
containing "mean" and "what does" in the opposite order, or with multiple
words in between.

Similarly, "what does "*" "*" mean" is actually searching for 3 'phrases':
1) "what does ", 2) " " (a space), and 3)" mean".

So, Google hasn't retained support for wildcards at all I'm afraid, and this
is why we are developing our own search engine in WebCorp, as Antoinette
Renouf mentioned yesterday.

Andrew Kehoe
Research and Development Unit for English Studies
Univerity of Central England in Birmingham

http://www.webcorp.org.uk/ <http://www.webcorp.org.uk/>

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-corpora at lists.uib.no on behalf of John Milton
Sent: Thu 17/03/2005 13:39
To: CORPORA at uib.no
Subject: [Corpora-List] Re: problems with Google

I just discovered that Google seems to have retained some use of the
wildcard for words if you use double quotes with the asterisk. A search
for "what does "*" mean" and "what does "*" "*" mean" results MAINLY in
any one and two words respectively. If anyone else is using web searches
as language learning/teaching resources, this also looks promising:
http://www.findforward.com/ <http://www.findforward.com/>

John Milton
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

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