Google Kills Another Search Feature | No More Tilde for Synonym Search
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One of the most popular "hidden" Google search feature we discuss in our live Cybersleuth Investigative Research MCLE Seminars is the ability to use the tilde (~) in a Google search to indicate that you want Google to return results for the keyterm you've entered AND any synonyms that Google automatically recognizes. Unfortunately, Google has recently done away with this feature.

google tilde search results

Google Search Results as They Appeared When the Tilde was Functional

Video Illustrating the Tilde Search

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In a blog post explaining its discontinuation,  Dan Russell, Google's Uber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness explained, "I agree it's a useful operator in a very small number of cases, but the usage was minuscule bordering on nonexistent, and the feature took up a disproportionately large amount of index space given the low usage. So Google made the call to turn it off.  (Or to think about it in personal terms, I used ~ twice in all of 2011, and I write about this stuff.)"

On the contrary, we write and speak on conducting effective Google searches and frequently use the ~.

Owners of The Cybersleuth's Guide to the Internet and Google For Lawyers should delete the reference to this feature from their books.

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