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
    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 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].

  • You can try Google Code Search (google.com/codesearch?hl=en), but I'm not seeing any way to restrict the site to stackoverflow.com.
    – devuxer
    Dec 7, 2009 at 20:13
  • 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
    Dec 7, 2009 at 20:18
  • Stripping all symbols is a standard text processing technique.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    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. Aug 30, 2013 at 7:10
  • duckduckgo.com worked for me with "Redis::Queue".
    – eebbesen
    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
    Dec 7, 2009 at 19:59
  • 1
    +1 If Google can't do it, it must be impossible. :P 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. Dec 17, 2009 at 23:18
  • The worst explanation I've heard from Jeff... Feb 9, 2012 at 19:27

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