Google 'intelligence' fills in the blanks

Google has expanded its search capabilities to include wildcard entries so Web surfers can look for specific pieces of information easier and faster.

"If search engines were truly intelligent, you could just pose a question the same way you would ask a person.

"An alternative is to get the search engine to 'fill in the blank', so instead of asking 'who invented the parachute', you can enter the query 'the parachute was invented by *'", Google research scientist Hiyan Alshawi wrote in his blog.

The wildcard search is, according to Alshawi, very useful when trying to answer specific questions or "exploratory searches". He cites "Glasgow is the * capital of Europe" as a good example of such a search.

The feature also works in any language, said Alshawi.

A search for the best operating system returned SUSE Linux as the first result while the worst OS is said to be Windows Millenium.

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