21 Mar 2010 @ 2:01 AM 

Answer: NOT ME

Solution: Google Synonyms within the Google Coop


Ok, my very first blog post on my old blog was on this very subject.  A later post on the subject was much more in depth.  Things have changed, google has changed, but guess what, the laws on the subject haven’t really.  There is a work around though, and it’s not overly complicated, and I can’t say for sure that this will hold up for very long once they realize, but for the moment, it’s spectacular.

If you aren’t familiar w/ the Google Coop, the key nature of it’s purpose is to provide your own custom tailored search.  You can get REALLY fancy with it like I have, you can use it on a local intranet, you can manipulate it to find anything you want and exceed all of the preconceived notions behind the number of search criteria.  I’d go into more detail, but for the moment, I’d kind of like to get to the meat and potatoes of this posting, so consider this more of an advanced piece.

First and foremost, the key item I’ll be addressing here is the relatively new ability to define synonyms using the coop.  Normally, when searching for a synonym you’d use something the tilde (~) character followed by the key term you’re searching for.  This uses Google’s pre-defined synonyms to essentially stem out and look for terms within it’s definition.  Their coop now has the option to define your own with a maximum of 10 possible definitions per synonym.  How is this useful?  Here’s an example:

New Synonym Name: atlzip
Definitions: 30301; 30302; 30303; 30304; etc….

I’ve chosen the name “atlzip” because it’s not a common word returned in searches and is simple to remember.

Atl = Atlanta / zip = zip code.

The definitions are the zip codes I’ve decided to add to this particular synonym.  To refresh, you’re limited to 10 possible entries for definition. Let’s say you had 40 zip codes you wanted to enter?  You might make 4 synonyms: Atlzip1 Atlzip2 Altzip3 Atlzip4, etc.

Useful nature of this?  When running a search, you type in your new synonym name and wallah, your results will include those defined terms.  Let’s say you had 40 zip codes and 4 new defined words, you could easily put:

*NOTE:  Synonyms get fickle sometimes when used w/ too many operators and background refinements

(atlzip1 | atlzip2 | atlzip3 | atlzip4)

Guess what this is achieving?  Yes, that’s right.  You’re now searching for 40 different zip codes condensed into 4 simple words which you’ve created. This feature allows you to take the coop through a 3 layered search.  Not only are you searching in the background for your refinements, you’re also searching for you’re 2nd level refinements (Synonyms), and finally your keywords.




How does this help me find the “@” sign?  Well, here’s the secret.  The ability to define synonyms let’s you include funky characters for some reason, which is something google is typically prohibited from doing.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s 2 sample coops to prove this works.

Example #1:
Example #2:

In these two example coops, run searches using this phrase:  a emzz1

Here are the results pages:

Example #1: Results
Example #2: Results

The Synonym “emzz1” for Example 1 is defined as:  ibm
The Synonym “emzz1” for Example 2 is defined as: @ibm

You’ll notice the results are entirely different.  Also, if you go into Example1’s results and do a find (Control+F): @ibmMOST of of the sites WONT HAVE IT

Now, go to the results for Example2 and do a find for @ibm Guess what… all of them do.  Unless it’s dated information on a forum or blog and that info hasn’t been updated/indexed since.

PRETTY SICK HUH? This particular function of the coop amuses me to no end because if you use it in conjunction with other FireFox addons like GreaseMonkey, LOTS of possibilties become available.  Check back for more on the subject soon.  Too many other topics I want to cover right now.

Concerning the putting together and way of implementation since there is no actual option within the coop itself, I’ll run through it quickly.  If you have questions, ping me, or check THIS DOCUMENTATION.

First off, you need to have a coop and go the ADVANCED settings of it.  From there, you can upload and download the XML.  I advise downloading the XML and then opening it w/ NOTEPAD.  Once you have it opened in notepad or whatever editor you chose, search for the text:


Then paste in your synonym code AFTER </BackgroundLabels>.  The code looks something like this:

<synonymentry word=”emzz1″>

Then Save and Upload back up.  Then test it out for yourself.  If you wanted to use multiple words as in the zip code example, it would look something like this:

<synonymentry word=”atlzip”>

And you just keep adding more up til you have 10… if you need 10.  If you want multiple synonyms, just copy and paste everything twice and make your edits etc.

<Synonyms> AND </Synonyms>

YOU SHOULD ONLY HAVE THESE TWO LABELS 1x EACH. They start and end the script.

That’s all for now.  Happy Sourcing!


Posted By: MikeN
Last Edit: 30 Mar 2010 @ 01:07 PM



Responses to this post » (4 Total)

  1. MIke, Excellent article. Google Coop is one of the export targets of the Broadlook Universal Exporter. Unfortunatley, very few people take advantage of it. You gave me an idea: create an export target that automates the creation of the synonym XML….I’ll need to noodle on it.

  2. MikeN says:

    Hehe. If you think about all of the other possible applications, it goes pretty deep. Those 2 particular engines are also very limited. They don’t have my refinements running, and the include/exclude list is pretty thorough. If I were to open it up to the entire web, you could do LOTS more w/ it.

    I used to run a perl script on the SOAP API when google offered it which allowed you to do something similar. But I haven’t touched that in forever and I’m not sure google even supports the soap API anymore. You can do some pretty wicked stuff w/ their AJAX API also, but… the SOAP was better IMO.

    anywho, thanks for the comment^^

  3. Brad Fuellenbach says:

    there is a “New!” option under “Control panel” for Synonyms which lets you create this without having to dive into the code. But if you still want to jump into it you can just add commas “,” between each synonym you’d like to use to make life slightly easier as well.

    @gmail, @yahoo, @hotmail, @aol, @live

  4. MikeN says:

    ooooooooo….. that certainly wasn’t there when I wrote this post. The “index” option i noticed yesterday which is new also. guess they’re doing some major mods/updates for it. score!

    Thanks for the update^^

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