Google Blog: Fill in the blanks: "Fill in the blanks
8/09/2005 03:17:00 PM
Posted by Hiyan Alshawi, Research Scientist
Sometimes one wants to use a search engine to find a very specific piece of information rather than to learn about a topic. 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 *]. (The blank, or wildcard, search is marked by * - an asterisk.)"
Ah! - didn't know about fill-in the blanks - retrieves more search results than quoting and does seem more relevant.. e.g.wildcard vs quoted vs normal