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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Google Synonym Behaviour

You probably know that you can google using the synonym operator preceding a keyword. A tilde, e.g. ~visual-basic. Now you might also know that you can find out about all the synonyms Google stores by excluding bold words from the result list. Like ~visual-basic -visual-basic will return “VisualBasic” in the result.
What was new to me until I tried out today is that synonyms don’t just form a group, but that you might find e.g. “Visual-Basic” being a synonym for “VB” – not the other way round.

Try this search ...

~vb -vb -code

.. and “Visual Basic” is highlighted in the SERPs.
Now try ...

~visual-basic -visual-basic -visualbasic

... and you won’t get any results, even though “VB” is not excluded. Which means that A can trigger B, without B triggering A – the relationship is not necessary bidirectional. You can also find proof with other keywords, like “War” has “Vietnam” as synonym, but “Vietnam” doesn’t have “War” as synonym.


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