You can search for anything on Google, right? At least, so I thought. I was trying to see how the special characters get encoded in the url, like how & gets converted to %26. I started searching for *. It did not get encoded, but weirdly google didn't tell me that it was an asterisk symbol. All other search engines (yahoo, bing, duckduckgo) did.

See for yourself : In Google. Basically it treats it as a regular expression. So *+* will also not give any results. Still, shouldn't Google at least say that * is the asterisk symbol.

I don't know where else to ask this question, so I came to SO.

  • Perhaps this link might provide some useful information? booleanblackbelt.com/2009/09/…
    – Maria Deleva
    Aug 3, 2016 at 14:25
  • I’m voting to close this question because this question is obsolete. The link pointing to a Google Search query, no longer returns the same results than when the question was created. Oct 27, 2023 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


Google Search doesn't allow searching for punctuation characters.

Further, the asterisk (*) acts as a wildcard character in searches. For instance

* tart recipe

Should return recipes for apple tarts, pear tarts, cherry tarts, etc.

Google's own example from the search operators support page is

a * saved is a * earned

(That page also lists other special characters that can be used in search which, obviously, are then impossible to search for.)

Here's some other information you might find useful:

  • Yes I understand that Google search with regex is what we are discussing and so * is simply a wildcard. Still I repeat my question: when you search for * in Google, why isn't Google saying that it is an asterisk symbol? Shouldn't that be the default behaviour of any search engine?
    – 0aslam0
    Aug 3, 2016 at 18:43
  • 2
    Generally speaking, the only people who can answer why Google do anything is Google, and they're not active here.
    – ale
    Aug 3, 2016 at 19:01
  • This answer is obsolete. Oct 27, 2023 at 3:47

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