Exalead enhances NEAR command

Exalead has enhanced its NEAR command by allowing searchers to specify how close they want their search terms to be to one another. By default, NEAR looks for your terms within 16 words of one another in the order specified. You can now specify the maximum number of words that can separate your terms by using NEAR/n.

For example:

climate NEAR/2 change

finds climate followed by change but separated by up to 2 words.

climate NEAR/5 change

finds your terms separated by up to 5 words.

It is interesting that Exalead is resurrecting some of the search options that used to be standard but have been dropped by most of the major search engines. AltaVista used to have a NEAR command but this disappeared soon after it was bought by Yahoo.