Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

The Plastic Podcast

An audio program about movies. Listen with your iPod or computer.

Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

Other Recent Podcasts


Favorite Recent Tweets

via Twitter


Daily Plastic is a Chicago-based movie blog, a collaboration between Robert Davis and J. Robert Parks, the same pair who brought you the wearable movie tote, the razor-thin pencil pocket, and that joke about aardvarks. If you know the whereabouts of the blue Pontiac Tempest that was towed from the Plastic Parking Lot on the evening of August 7th, 2008, or more importantly if you've recovered the red shoebox that was in its trunk, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Davis was the chief film critic for the late, great Paste Magazine (which lives on now as a website) from 2005 through 2009, and he counts this interview with Claire Denis among his favorite moments. Every once in a while he pops up on Twitter. He's presently sipping puerh in Chicago, even at this hour. Meanwhile, Parks, whose work has appeared in TimeOut Chicago, The Hyde Park Herald, and Paste, is molding unsuspecting, college-aged minds in the aforementioned windy city. Media types are warned to stay clear of his semester-sized field of influence because of the distorting effects that are likely to develop.

The © copyright of all content on Daily Plastic belongs to the respective authors.

Google is constantly updating and tinkering with its search algorithms, and most of the time we never notice. The service is a black box, and what goes on inside is anybody's guess.

But I've noticed something in the last week that's going to affect the way I type queries. About a decade ago (cripes), I picked up the habit from Robot Wisdom, the granddaddy of all blogs, of searching for a phrase by typing periods between the words instead of the more common way of surrounding the phrase with quotation marks. It's much easier to touch-type


"three one two"

especially when you're searching for two phrases at once, which I sometimes do when I'm looking up lyrics, bits of dialogue, or something I remember from a news article. Typing quotation marks requires pressing shift and moving your hands, but periods are easy. And until very recently, the results were identical.

This no doubt exploited some quirk of Google's punctuation handling, and I can see that there aren't many people who do this, so the side effect was bound to disappear at some point. I'm just surprised it has lasted this long. I'm sure this latest change includes lots of invisible improvements that we'll all grow accustomed to without realizing it, so I won't complain that this now produces different results from this.

Time to retrain my fingers.

5 Responses to “Missing.Google's.Dot.Handling”

  1. Mike says:

    I've always used


    which was documented as being the same as the quoted version, though doesn't appear to return exactly the same results.

  2. Robert DAVIS says:

    Yeah, it used to be that just about any punctuation would work sort of like a non-breakable space (and even a collapsable space, I think), except that colon could sometimes be confused with something else in the Google syntax (like site: or cache:). Periods were easy to type, but I guess semicolons would have been even easier.

    Now, the hyphens are clearly doing something different from periods and spaces and quotation-marks-around-the-whole-thing. Strange.

  3. jorn says:

    It looks like a hyphen or single quote may work as substitutes. GgBlogoscoped discussed this recently:

  4. Robert DAVIS says:

    Typing hyphens or single quotation marks between the words doesn't seem to work the same as surrounding the phrase with double quotation marks, at least not today. But thanks for the link -- glad I'm not the only one who noticed the change.

  5. opoq says:

    I used periods too!.. Surprising how disappointing I find this change :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

⟨ Earlier PostLater Post ⟩