Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why Doesn't Google Search for Partial Words?

Is it too much to ask? I know about stemming, but partial search would be much simpler.

For example, searching for compl* would find every word beginning with compl regardless of the ending.

This would make it possible to search for a specific form like completed without getting other hits, and when we want those other hits then we could use the asterisk form above.

Partial search would also be very useful for searching in languages other than English. The stemming algorithm is not that good for other languages, so partial search would help a lot in those cases.

The index for partial words could be generated trivially and I don't think Google would have any problem dealing with the bigger index size.

So why don't we have partial search already?

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