Google has added character search to allow users to search for punctuation marks and other symbols, but the capability is still yielding some problematic results.

Google’s Alex Chitu recently reported that search users can now include special characters, including punctuation marks, mathematical symbols and others, in their queries. According to Chitu, the changes have little effect on the results a page would yield, but providing the capability simply makes the search experience simpler for users.

Chitu said that the main reason Google has done this is to eliminate results that come up when a user searches for “percentage” or “colon” rather than the symbols. As Google has stated repeatedly, its main approach to improving search is making the user experience as strong as possible.

However, Chitu found that the results have not been refined. Searching for the punctuation mark “:” still brings about results about the human colon. The same is true for “.” Users will see results for “full stop,” which is a different term for the period, used predominantly to end sentences, rather than just results relating to the punctuation mark, users will see any and all references to “full stop.

Google’s frequent changes to algorithms and overall search capability have come a little faster in recent months, due to the widespread changes it made to its overall capability and SERPs. Many of the adjustments have been necessitated by the addition of Google+, its integration with search results and the company’s desire to make the platform a more relevant social media marketing tool. For example, Google changed the function of the “+” character in October, Brafton reported. 

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.