More Punctuation Searching at Google
Somehow I missed the announcement last month from Google which included a note that Google has started indexing more punctuation marks. Based on this announcement, it looks like we can start searching with all of the following (some of which have been possible for years, like the dollar sign): %, $, \, ., @, #, and +.
It does not seem that Google has fully indexed all pages with these punctuation marks, but as it continues to refresh its indexing, more content should be indexed with these symbols and thus findable via a Google search. Already this change makes it possible to search for social tags like @bios and #cildc. I find it interesting that the top result for the last example is a link to a Twitter search for that hash tag (which by this point finds only 3 tweets). A much better search option is Topsy which claims over 1,000 tweets for the hash tag, but Google's new support of punctuation means its search finds the hash tag on other web pages. I need to explore more of these options, like using the + for the blood type ab+ or even b+ (which finds more uses than just blood type). Beware using old searches where the + is supposed make the term an exact match. Now the search may find a Google+ user instead.
I have never understood why Google supports the $ for searching prices but still does not support other currency symbols like the Euro, Pound, or Yen. But maybe this expansion of searchable punctuation will lead the way to more punctuation search capabilities.
If a search using one of these punctuation marks finds no results, Google offers the search results without the punctuation and links to a new help page on punctuation searching.