Google Personal Search

Google is seemingly testing a new feature in search: the ability to quickly find locations nearby with a search query. It doesn’t appear to be working for everyone, but apparently when some search for “**” (don’t forget to drop the quotation marks), users get a list business that are physically near to you…

It’s not every day that we find a new Google search feature that hasn’t been uncovered, but as far as I can tell, this one hasn’t been documented anywhere until now. (Feel free to comment below if I’m wrong.) It’s definitely not on the list of official Google search operators (which does include the single asterisk, however).

A single asterisk, as it should, returns “Your search – * – did not match any documents.” If you want to try the double asterisk variant for yourself, click here.

For me, this just throws up a list of local banks, municipal utility locations, car dealers, restaurants, and fast food joints. All the results that I receive do seem to be tethered to my location in some way, but at the moment I can’t seem to figure out how these results are ordered. I will say that it doesn’t look like it’s based on which business are closest — the first result is close for me, but still a mile or two away.

Have you seen this before? Let us know in the comments.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.