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When I search Stack Overflow, I usually do it with Google's flag.

If I only do basic search, how would you say Stack Overflow's inner search engine compares to the site-specific Google search?

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Someone will have to confirm this, but I think the SO search only looks at body of posts, not comments. Google probably catches comments too, for better or worse. – JNK Sep 23 '11 at 16:05
make sure you're aware of the advanced search options at – Jeff Atwood Sep 24 '11 at 21:36

SO's search has a lot of limitations, which I won't go into here.

A standard Google search (as has been previously mentioned) searches everything, but it's easy enough to tell Google to not do that. Here's the query:

 yourKeywords -inurl:tagged -inurl:meta

So if you wanted to search for unicorns, you just need to look for:

 unicorns -inurl:tagged -inurl:meta

Try it yourself!

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what's the point of -inurl:meta? it's already scoped to a specific domain via site: – Jeff Atwood Sep 24 '11 at 21:37
@Jeff - When you search the domain, by default, you also get questions. The good news is that it makes SE2.0 network-wide searches really easy: just swap in – Dori Sep 24 '11 at 22:54
@Dori Would using restrict it to the main site? – YatharthROCK Sep 11 '12 at 14:53
Those sub-domains (that's what they're called right?) like the plus in are dedicated servers for that part of the site, yeah? So does www. mean that only the 'general' or 'main' serves get to handle the data? – YatharthROCK Sep 11 '12 at 14:55
Why was www. ever required? Isn't enough? What's the point of it? The http (that's the scheme, right?) specifies the protocol... – YatharthROCK Sep 11 '12 at 14:56

I find it difficult to find questions/answers I know I've seen before using the SO search unless I remember exactly a unique phrase that I can search in quotes "like so". The ordering of results is bad without this, I usually see unrelated or tangentially related results first. I mostly search on Android Enthusiasts, though, so things could be better on SO.

Perhaps it's because I have years of experience getting Google to spit out what I want, but I don't have the same issue with Google. If my first attempt at search doesn't have what I need in the first few results (rarely), my second or third search does. Not so with the search here.

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When you do the google search it seems to search EVERYWHERE on SO.

That includes -

  • Questions
  • Answers
  • Comments
  • Tags
  • User pages
  • The List goes on and on...
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But in practice, do you find it's better or worse? I never got anything but a question page when I Googled SO. – ripper234 Sep 23 '11 at 16:16
@ripper234 -- see here:… I searched testing – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Sep 23 '11 at 16:17
I guess I internally filter those results. I actually think it's nice to find a tag page, but I agree user pages are pretty worthless. The reason I like Google so much is for its "other features", like spell correction. Just compare to – ripper234 Sep 23 '11 at 16:35

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