I'm trying to conduct a search for a specific class name (containing colons): e.g. search parameters [perl] Class::Data and am coming up empty: https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=[perl]%20class::data&tab=relevance
are both redirected to

Is there any way of conducting such a search?

EDIT: I'm making this a feature request for the ability to search with colons. -Lance

5 Answers 5


Your best bet is to search for [perl] "Class Data" this will restrict to all terms with Class and Data as adjacent words - as colons are stripped out during analysis this should also match Class::Data, however it will also match Class-Data Class Data etc... - you're then going to have to search through the matches yourself (there are only 2 on StackOverflow)

  • I agree... however, it would be nice if the SO search engine recognized this and rewrote the search parameter, rather than allowing google to strip one of the search terms.
    – Ether
    Commented Dec 7, 2009 at 22:58

The only search engine I know of that doesn't ignore special characters is SymbolHound. It's a search engine designed for programmers, so it indexes programming-related sites and does not strip symbols away like other search engines.

Here are the results for your example search for perl class::data.

Full disclosure: I am a co-founder and developer of SymbolHound. I also posted it on stackapps.

  • The first link is broken (it times out— "The connection has timed out. The server at symbolhound.com is taking too long to respond."). The same for the HTTPS version. It was still alive in 2015. Commented May 14, 2022 at 10:51
  • 1
    It appears it was broken in April 2022. Commented May 14, 2022 at 11:00
  • (For some reason, comments can't be linked to on Stack Apps, but it is near "I have been a regular but not very frequent user for the last few years. It worked for me up until a few days ago.") Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 15:41

The new search engine handles this much better, we'll no longer direct and give some decent results for [perl] Class::Data. That being said, I think we can do even better on those results - I'll keep this example in mind as we tune.


Ok, it would seem that google strips colons from search terms. At least, http://www.google.ca/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=136861#exceptions_punctuations does not list : as one of the exceptions, so it seems to be in the "ignored" class. :(

Edit: Note that it strips the colons, not stripping the search term entirely. It would at least be better to turn a search for [perl] Class::Data to [perl] "Class Data", rather than to [perl].

  • 1
    Jeez, even quoting it Google decides to discard the colons. Thanks, Google! Bing behaves the same way, too. Think you might be hosed. :(
    – John Rudy
    Commented Dec 7, 2009 at 20:18
  • Stripping all symbols is a standard text processing technique.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Dec 7, 2009 at 23:00
  • Don't bother with the codesearch recommended by @DanM. I assume it worked but it is no longer available. Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 7:10
  • duckduckgo.com worked for me with "Redis::Queue".
    – eebbesen
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 16:10

Can you do it through Google?

If not, then the odds of us being able to do it are.. vanishingly slim.

  • 5
    Google searches for "class" and "data" rather than simply invalidating the entire "Class::Data" search token. I don't know if that's any better, but it's at least something.
    – mmyers
    Commented Dec 7, 2009 at 19:59
  • 1
    +1 If Google can't do it, it must be impossible. :P Commented Dec 17, 2009 at 20:21
  • 6
    @Jeff, we're programmers, we can do anything, Google just doesn't have the incentive to modify it's search for the programmer niche, but SO should certainly have the motivation. There's not much more frustrating as a programmer than not being able to search for symbols. Commented Dec 17, 2009 at 23:18
  • The worst explanation I've heard from Jeff... Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 19:27

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