Once upon a time, if you put a phrase in quotes (e.g. “abc xyz”), search engines would only find hits where the words appeared exactly as typed (modulo non-alphanumeric characters being treated as whitespace). In other words, they wouldn’t find hits where “abc” and “xyz” appeared on the same page but not adjacent. If you wanted that, you would have to type +abc +xyz. This was not perfect (the non-alphanumeric bit) but I could live with it.
But then they “improved” the engines. Now if you type “abc xyz”, it’s the same search as if you typed +abc +xyz. I first noticed this on Google, then Yahoo and now AltaVista. Also NorthernLight is that way.
The problem is, there are times (in fact, usually) where I want to find the exact phrase but don’t want all those other hits. So does anyone know of any search engines that are not “improved”? Or some way to make the “improved” search engines not give me the results I don’t want?