In Google web search, when I search for:

+ortho4xp +image +compression

I receive one relevant site result containing the 3 words, followed by 6 results ridiculously telling me "Missing: +ortho4xp".
I only want to see pages that contain ortho4xp ! That's why I typed +ortho4xp

There is no "Must include ortho4xp" link next to these results to let me force the word (although that would be stupid anyway, I've typed the + prefix). I have also tried quoting e.g. +"ortho4xp" but this has absolutely no effect.

Before you ask, I have posted questions on the wasteland that is https://support.google.com/websearch in the past and received absolutely no useful response.

  • To the close voter/s, this is a real question about the power features of google search and why they don't appear to work. I thought Superuser was for power user questions? The search example is what I am actually using to find out how I can reduce the space of flight simulator aerial imagery on my hard drive.
    – Ash
    Jul 8, 2020 at 7:11
  • Hi. I've removed the rant part to focus on the problem and save the question from attracting downvotes. Still, I think this question fits WebApps SE better, so I'm voting to migrate it. If you agree, you can flag it for mod's attention asking to have it migrated.
    – gronostaj
    Jul 8, 2020 at 7:21
  • No problems, I've done some more research and can possibly add an answer myself. Even though it does not seem resolve the issue 100%.
    – Ash
    Jul 8, 2020 at 7:31

1 Answer 1


On further research it appears + is no longer a valid search modifier see https://support.google.com/websearch/thread/13355219?hl=en

Supposedly this helpful and obvious modifier clashed with the plus in the now dead Google+,
but of course it has not been brought back now we have "GSuite".

Instead it seems quoting takes its place now. However as stated in the linked thread, quoting doesn't always seem to have the desired result.

So instead of

+ortho4xp +image +compression

we must use

"ortho4xp" "image" "compression"

I'm not sure if this actually works as using this I am now seeing many more results than using+

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