Frequently Asked Questions

What is Symbolhound?

SymbolHound is a search engine for special characters. Unlike other search engines, which treat non-alphanumeric symbols such as * or & as boolean operators, or ignore symbols like @ or \ altogether, SymbolHound actually searches the internet for these characters. That means that when you do a web search for the character #, you actually get results with the character # in them. This can be important for programmers who actually need to find out what a symbol means, or find example code or tutorials with that character.

Who would use it?

The people who will probably get the most practical use out of a search engine like SymbolHound are programmers, web designers, and other folks who need to search the web for a special character in their given frameworks. Your average person probably doesn't need to search the internet for symbols all that often; but if they do, SymbolHound can help! For example, a quick search on SymbolHound could let you know that :) is 239 times more popular than :] it (at least in the sites we've indexed). While fun, that's likely a fringe case! Most of our users are programmers searching for code with non-alphanumerics in it.

How is this different from Google?

Google purposefully strips special characters and most non-alphanumerics out of internet searches. That's probably because most of the time, they are typos or not useful to the actual search query. SymbolHound, on the other hand, is a symbol search engine. That means that it lets you perform a search without removing symbols. A search that doesn't strip out special characters can (in some instances) be more useful, such as for programmers trying to find a certain specific string on a coding tutorial site like StackOverflow. If they tried to Google "lisp #" for example, they'd be disappointed when Google returned results for just "lisp".

Why doesn't Google do this?

SymbolHound is primarily a programming search engine. Searching for symbols is just not that useful for the average Internet user. Google could probably very easily do this, but it wouldn't make their search engine any better for the vast majority of their user base; in fact, it might make it worse. But for the small percentage of people who find themselves needing to search for special characters, Google is not useful. However, SymbolHound is a symbol search engine and is perfect for that query.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. SymbolHound is free to use. We have some advertisements on our results page, which help us keep the lights on. If you want to support us, please consider disabling AdBlock or making a small donation. The server space needed to do indexing is expensive, and your support helps us improve the service by increasing the number of pages we can index (resulting in better, more relevant searches).

How can I help?

A small donation goes a long way, but at the very least, please consider disabling AdBlock so that we can keep this site up as a free resource. If you know of anyone who would find SymbolHound useful, or would just like to shout us out on social media, your referrals are appreciated! On the flip side, if you have constructive feedback, please let us know by reaching out on our contact us page before leaving a negative review. We'd love the chance to understand how we can make SymbolHound a better resource for you and improve our service.

What is indexed?

For financial reasons, we have to prioritize our crawl to include sites that we feel have the greatest chance of being useful to our user base, such as StackOverflow. If you have a site that you would like to see indexed, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Why can't I find ___?

See above. It can be expensive to crawl new sites (and we do our best), but we're a small operation. If you can't find a particular query, it may just not be represented in our index yet. Please let us know and we'll do our best to include it.

Who made this?

SymbolHound was created by David Crane and Thomas Feldtmose while they were students at the University of Connecticut. David was looking for a tool that would help him search the Internet for special characters without removing them from his query. When he couldn't find one, he decided to make one. SymbolHound went on the receive awards and recognition from the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the D.E. Crow Innovation Award, and InnovationQuest.

How can I get in touch?

We would love to hear from you! Please reach out using our contact us page. Feedback or requests are appreciated and encouraged.

I'm ready to search the Internet for special characters.

You can get started here.