Over and over in this thread and others like it, you see people asked to give examples of search not working. They provide numerous examples of search not working. And then it's ignored, or hand-waved off with a say-nothing "response":
Jessica, I would like to see your reply to our replies. Somebody from Google has already come in this thread and said the exact same thing a while back. We all submitted specific results as he asked... yet he never replied and that was the end of it. So, do you truly want to know or are you just another bot coming in once in a while to feign concern and pacify the unhappy masses?
So, to sum it up:
- + used to mean "only show me pages that include this string"
- - used to mean "don't show me any pages that include this string"
- "" used to mean "only show me pages that include this exact phrase"
Not only are all of these gone, they've been completely removed as options. I wouldn't care how shitty their default search was if they left the OPTION to do it differently. But no.
"If they can't even get search right, who would trust them with anything more?"
More evidence, straight from the elephant's mouth:
Google has gone downhill
Why can't I do a truly "verbatim" search anymore?
Why doesn't Google's "Verbatim" return verbatim results?
How do I force the inclusion of the word houston in search results now?
Is there any way to force google to actually search for the request I enter, rather than picking random words and searching for them instead
Results from a quoted search
Searching for explicit words or phrases without Google trying to be "clever" about their interpretation
Getting Google to work like it used to
Why have Google search results deteriorated so much?
Boolean operators suddenly don't work
Programmer-friendly search engine?
Quit obsessing over anchor text already This 2011 article notes "a ton of buzz about the deteriorating quality of Google's search results over the last week" and links to six other similar posts.
Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?