The wildcard feature was used to shorten search queries and return more results, but is no longer supported by most search engines.
Many search engines that started in the 1990’s (excepting Google) initially supported the wildcard feature. The intent was to enable easy searching for words with more than one ending with a star “*”, as in a search for “dog*” to designate “dog”, “dogs”, “dogged”, etc. However, the use of this feature had to be specifically designed into the search engine at some overhead, and is generally not considered worth the cost by most search engines in operation today.
As an historical example, the first search below returned about 15% more results than the second search on Alta Vista when that engine supported it, showing that wildcards enabled construction of Internet searches that were more concise and efficient at the same time:
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