Question about the Google search engine

The logical operator OR means either/or, so why does using OR in the Google search engine limit my results.
For instance, if I have it search for “House”, I get 48,100,000 results. If I type in “Apartment”, I get 6,610,000 results. But if I type “House OR Apartment” I only get 5,690,000 results.

Are you using quotation marks in Google like you are here? Quotes make a big difference.

Use the “help” link, it tells you how to type in stuff so it’s more or less specific, or use the Advanced search help.

I repeated Joel’s search (but using “snafu” and “fubar”):

Even using the advanced search’s “with at least one of the words” you do indeed get fewer results. Definitely a snafu, I hope this doesn’t mean that Google is getting fubarred!

Note that “snafu or fubar” (without quotes) to the regular search searches for pages that contain all three words. So far fewer hits.

I wonder if, for large hit numbers, Google is guesstimating hits?

No, I just used the quotes for this thread. I didn’t use them in the Google test search.

If you type in house or apartment, won’t it search for pages that contain the word “house” and the word “or” and the word “apartment”?

c&p from Google’s page itself…
Searched the web for house. Results 1 - 10 of about 48,200,000. Search took 0.21 seconds.
Searched the web for apartment. Results 1 - 10 of about 6,630,000. Search took 0.14 seconds.
Searched the web for house OR apartment. Results 1 - 10 of about 6,070,000. Search took 0.08 seconds.

And just one more example that it doesn’t search on the OR operand:
Searched the web for house || apartment. Results 1 - 10 of about 6,070,000. Search took 0.08 seconds.

On a whim:
Searched the web for house && apartment. Results 1 - 10 of about 5,390. Search took 0.39 seconds.

My diagnosis? I’ve sent an email to Google saying “wtf” but in nicer terms. Hopefully I’ll hear back soon.

And Arnold? If you search with capitalized OR or AND, it will use those operands logically. If you search with lowercase ‘or’ or ‘and’, it’ll strip those words as they’re incredibly common. If you want to force it to search on those words anyway, you could override that by adding a + prior to the word.

So, house +or apartment would search on all three, house or apartment would search on just the first and last, and house OR apartment would search on either the first or last.

And then just to muddy the waters further:
Searched the web for house apartment. Results 1 - 10 of about 1,560,000. Search took 0.18 seconds.
and that’s not searching on the phrase, either, as:
Searched the web for “house apartment”. Results 1 - 10 of about 20,600. Search took 0.27 seconds.

So, I guess I should have asked Google why house apartment found different results than house OR apartment, “house apartment”, or house AND apartment. It found the same as house or apartment as that ‘or’ was stripped out.

I need a hobby.