See symbolhound.com

SymbolHound is a search engine that doesn't ignore special characters. I was always frustrated that I couldn't search for symbols like >> and && using Google or the custom Stack Overflow search, so I made a search engine for programmers. It currently searches mostly Stack Overflow pages, with plans to eventually index a much wider range of programming websites (including symbols, of course).

This is a problem that I know a lot of other Stack Exchange users have run into. It is frequently asked about:

MSE: Is it possible to search for punctuation/special characters?

SO: How can I use a search engine to search for special characters?

WebApps: How to search the internet for terms with special characters




It uses the open source Apache Nutch and Apache Solr for crawling, indexing, and searching, with a small PHP backend for processing user queries.


Nutch and Solr, which power the backend of SymbolHound, both use the open source Apache license.

  • 4
    +1 I tried it with some Perl variables (which are impossible to search for with Google, etc.) and I'm pleased to report it worked perfectly. Nov 29 '11 at 22:34
  • 2
    this is really great -- and answers at least a few requests on meta.stackoverflow.com Dec 16 '11 at 19:50
  • Oddly enough, this was not at the top of the list when I search stackapps for "symbol search" haha. I think it was like 10th down.
    – styfle
    Jan 17 '12 at 0:54
  • Too bad you can't flag a post "Awesome!"
    – l0b0
    Apr 3 '12 at 14:40
  • Fantastic work! Just tried several special character "strings" for different languages and all queries where answered topic-related, whereas Google just displayed junk.. o) Searching for "color-stop()" made Symbolhound stall, though!
    – Robert G.
    Apr 18 '12 at 23:10
  • It doesn't seem to work for me. The following search: ffmpeg -progress does not find the following SO question: stackoverflow.com/questions/40216927/…
    – JoeMjr2
    Mar 7 '19 at 19:41

Unfortunately there is a bug:

enter image description here

It seems like some of the results for "©" are not from Stack Overflow at all.

  • 1
    Use advanced search.
    – kinokijuf
    Jan 2 '12 at 20:43
  • Note: this problem doesn't seem to happen with other symbols (like Perl variables, etc.). Jan 2 '12 at 23:17
  • 5
    Though the site does say it searches multiple sites - "SymbolHound searches a growing index of programming websites", maybe there aren't that many posts with the copyright symbol in them.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 2 '12 at 23:20
  • 7
    Like ChrisF said, this isn't a bug: SymbolHound is expanding to index sites other than Stack Overflow (currently most searches will still give you almost entirely SO pages, though). There is an advanced search feature that allows you to limit searches to specific sites, if you only want to see SO pages.
    – dncrane
    Jan 6 '12 at 1:49
  • Ah, thanks for the clarification. I must have missed reading that part :) Jan 6 '12 at 3:23

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