Google Improves Wildcard Searches
Web searches are one of the most effective ways to learn more about a topic, but finding the answer to a specific question is not as easy on the Web. To that end, Google has enabled its search engine to "fill in the blank," meaning a statement can be written with an asterisk substituting the missing fact.
"So instead of asking [who invented the parachute?], you can enter the query [the parachute was invented by *]," explains Google Research Scientist Hiyan Alshawi. "There is so much text on the web that this method often works well, but to make it more effective, we've improved the way results are found in response to queries containing such blanks."