Google-search – Why doesn’t Google give search results for ‘*’ [asterisk]


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.

Best Answer

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: