I go away on holiday for three weeks and on my return disaster strikes. ” Yahoo! drops Boolean support” was the headline that jumped out at me as I fired up my RSS reader. The story, carried by Pandia Search Engine News, refers to a report by Greg Notess in Online Magazine. I was not able to access the original in Online so had to make do with Pandia’s summary and test out the claims myself.
It turns out that it is only the NOT operator that has vanished. Not such a catastrophe after all as you can still place a minus sign in front of the term that you want excluded from the search results. The posting goes on to say that nesting with parentheses has also been dumped. That was definitely not the case when I carried out test searches on both the UK and US versions of Yahoo. All of my nested Boolean searches worked, once I had replaced the NOTs with minus signs.
I shall wait a a week or so before assuming that the change is permanent. Earlier this year, the link and linkdomain commands went AWOL. They were no longer available on the main Yahoo sites but still worked on AltaVista. After a couple of days they reappeared on Yahoo as suddenly as they had vanished. Hopefully NOT will be back – it is easier to remember to use only Boolean operators rather than a mixture of Boolean and math signs – and fingers crossed that none of the other commands disappear.