Original Poster
IC Innova

Google Search Operator OR and Google Search Expressions

How exatly does the google search operator OR works?
Can I make an expression with it? For example:

"dog" "cat" OR "fish" "duck"

I notice that on google alert it does not read as ( "dog" "cat ) OR ("fish" "duck'), but how does it read then?
Does it read ("dog") ("cat" OR "fish") "duck" ? I don't get it.

Is google able to work with a large expression? Such as... "fish"-dog OR "duck" "bird" OR "my dog" "bull" etc

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Hello there!

Welcome to the Search and Assistant Help Forum!
Cheers for your inquiry. :) 

There are loads of different expressions that you can use to Google something. In your case, Google reads it as ONE word, or ONE WHOLE SENTENCE or KEY TERM/S. So, if you were to Google Hire a non scary clown, Google would read that as different key-terms, and not only search for Hire a non scary clown, it'll also search for hirea, nonscary  and clown.

But, if you were to Google large expressions, as said above, by putting it all it in quotation marks, like "Hire a non scary clown"  it'll search for it as ONE WHOLE SENTENCE, and will only display results with the WHOLE sentence, and not key terms.

Hopefully, that's make a tad more sense to you! 
If you need anything else, let me know below! :)

Kind Regards,

Original Poster
IC Innova
Thanks for the answer Maxim, but maybe I didn't make my self clear. I'm having trouble with mixing quotation mark searches with the use of the OR operator while trying to use the operator more than once at the same google search.
For example, I understand that "black dog" will search for pages that have this exatly quote and that "black dog" "white dog" will search for pages that have both of these statements. What I don't understand is what happens if I search for "red bird" "blue bird" OR "brown kangaroo" "white kangaroo". 
Summing up, I want to know if google is able to deal with expressions and what in GOOGLE SEARCH is equivalent to MATHEMATICS round brackets ( )  .
Thanks a lot
Thomas P. - Top Contributor
Thomas P. - Top Contributor
Two things worth knowing:
1. Google does not support explicit expression grouping at all. Other search engine does offer such support through using parentheses (e.g. Bing)
2. Google has reversed operator precedence of OR and AND, whereas other search engines have a normal operator precedence (e.g. Bing)

The consequences for a Google search such as [ ("red bird" "blue bird") OR ("brown kangaroo" "white kangaroo") ] is that.
Step.1: Since Google does not support expression group, then parentheses are treated like most other punctuation is treated, i.e. discarded. 
: Thus the search is treated identical to  [ "red bird" "blue bird" OR "brown kangaroo" "white kangaroo" ] 
Step.2: Google's OR operator takes precedence over AND (AND is there implicit. While it's perfectly valid to explicitly write AND between operands, there's no need, so why bother.).
: Thus the search is treated identical to  [ "red bird" ( "blue bird" OR "brown kangaroo" ) "white kangaroo" ] 
  ! The red parentheses are to denote how it's interpreted, i.e. how it could be written if parentheses was supported for expression grouping.
Original Poster
IC Innova
Thank you very much. It was really helpfull. 
If you don't mind answering just one more thing:
Does those operators work the same way in google search, google alert and google news?
Thanks Again!
Thomas P. - Top Contributor
Thomas P. - Top Contributor
I'm confident that both OR and quoting (double-quoting, for exact word/phrase matching) works exactly same for all Google web related search kinds, i.e. WebSearch, ImageSearch, NewsSearch, Google Alerts, ... (even GMail support those two, though GMail searching is of course a completely different kettle of fish.)

Google Alert is, at heart, presumably just WebSearch running queries on a schedule, outputting limited search result sets, by email.
The most importing thing to know about Google Alert, is that it's unreliable. It has a long history with long periods of delivering little, or even nothing. 
I did "recently" (Jan.2014), do a quick look for alternatives, but didn't find much. 
What alternatives may exist today (and what I in 2014 may have overlooked): Well, you tell me ;-)
I've never been a Google Alerts user myself, but if you find something of value, then posting it here may help others.
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