Okay, either Google has changed something or I have completely missed this in my several years of using the search engine.
Today I was searching Google for something — I started to put a phrase in quotes and changed my mind about halfway through typing. So I left the quote open. The query looked something like this:
“for better or for worse snowblower
(That might not be exact.)
Image my surprise when I didn’t get any results. I mean, I know it’s an odd query but I thought I’d get SOMETHING.
After a few experiments I noticed that Google was adding a close quote to the end of the entire query. (It looks like Google just goes all the way to the right of the open quote and adds a close quote.) The query
for better or for worse snowblower
Provided results. Not many, but some.
So if you get results that seem oddly limited, make sure you don’t have an open quote in your query somewhere.