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How can I search for a keyword with special characters in Google Search?

I am trying to search something on Google.com using square bracket(s). Example:


No valid results are returned. They all include "something", but not "[something".

Escaping with backslash doesn't seem to work either.

Is this even possible?

  • Can you tell us what is that "something". As I typed in Google with my name and I got results.
    – avirk
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:08
  • something is actually irrelevant, as i need to search the bracket plus something/anything. For example, ctrl character: "[m"
    – jcinacio
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:16
  • I don't know why you are not getting result I tried it in these ways [avirk, "[avirk", "[avirk]" and [avirk] and yes I got the result. Now it could be possible that "something" is not recorded anywhere on Google.
    – avirk
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:20
  • the problem is i do want "something", i want "[something"... 8)
    – jcinacio
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:30
  • "[avirk" is example that I'm getting result and also "[something" gives the result on Google. What error you are getting its not clear yet to me? Is Google says there is nothing matched to your query or a blank page?
    – avirk
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


This goes down to how Google indexed the pages and do they consider '[something' as a word on its own.

Normally during indexing, texts goes through a process called tokenisation which breaks texts into individual words. Symbols are normally removed in this process. In some rare cases, however, the symbol is part of the word, so special cases must be added to keep those symbols during tokenisation. Obviously they can't really maintain all the special cases manually, so they probably did some data mining in search queries and webpages to see which words when accompanied by certain symbols seem to mean something totally different.

For example, if you search C# the result will be different from C, but the results are the same for net and .net, ke ha and ke$ha. Since people would rarely search for net or ke ha alone, not treating them as special cases will probably speed up indexing.

In your case, very few people has probably searched for [something before and even if they did, their behaviour probably indicated that the results for something were also relevant, so [something would have never made to the special cases list and will be indexed as something in their databases.

Thus it's probably not possible.

  • 1
    That seems valid, i guess. Still, you CAN search for "C#" or ".NET" (using quotes) - as seen by the results.
    – jcinacio
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 23:22