Wrong email or password! Try one more time.

Forgot password?

An account with this email already exists.

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to you.

Did you forget your password? Don't panic. Enter your email address,
and we will email you a link where you may create a new password.

If this address exists, we will send you an email with further instructions.

Back to authentication

Will Google implement the ability to search with regular expressions?

Will Google implement the ability to search with regular expressions? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Hi, everybody. Today’s question comes from Stockholm, Sweden. Jimmy wants to know, “Will Google offer the feature to search with regular expressions? When, or why not? I feel that sometimes you really want to be able to write very specific search queries where the normal operators and operands aren’t enough.” Great question, Jimmy. I tend to agree with you. Unfortunately, the number of people who really want to search with regular expressions is vanishingly small. And the amount of infrastructure and extra indexing space that it would take is quite large. So, for example, when we started to offer numb range searches, which you can still do. You can search for Mount Everest, feet high, and then you can search for 29,000 dot, dot, dot, or dot, dot to 32,000. And it will search for anything in that number range. That’s a really neat power-user function, but it takes a significant amount of index space to be able to support that. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely not trivial. So not enough people really have asked to be able to the search with regular expressions. On the bright side, if you ever want to get a job at Google, you can run a MapReduce over the entire web, and then you can write your own regular expressions and search over the content of stuff that we’ve crawled pretty easily. But at least to be able to surface that to the sort of people who do over a billion searches a day, it would take enough indexing and infrastructure capacity when it’s probably not worth it as far as building the amount of work in. So I wouldn’t expect that any time soon, sorry to say.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: