Google isn’t the number one site on the internet for no reason. These days, Google has it’s hand in everything from smart phones, to television, to global politics. But it didn’t become a $23 Billion company because it knows how to take on China. Google is primarily about search, and it does search very well. So well in fact, that it came out of nowhere to dominate every other search engine on the planet, including Yahoo!, MSN, and Lycos. There is world of power beyond that stark homepage, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Google Search.
1. Power Search – Many people just type in a word or phrase into the Google search box, and wade through the pages of results like a blind dog looking for a bone. So sad. If only they knew that putting quotes around a phrase searches for that exact phrase, instead of content with all of the words somewhere in the text. Also, AND and OR can be used to narrow down the mass of results, and find only the pages you care about.
2. This not That – In addition to exact phrases and Boolean conditions, you can also limit content with the minus sign. For instance, searching for flowers -roses will give you all the results including the word flowers, without the word roses.
3. Telling Time – Don’t have a watch and want to know what time it is anywhere in the world? Searching for what time is it in Los Angeles will return you the current time in L.A.
4. Conversions – Have you ever wondered how many pounds equal a dollar at the current exchange rate? Simply search for 1 US dollar in British Pounds to find out. Ever needed to convert bytes or inches? It works the same way. Type 10 inches in centimeters and BAM, you have the conversion.
5. Toss the Reference Set – I like a clean desk. If you do too, toss your expensive reference set and use Google instead. Typing define: and a word will give you the definition. Adding a tilde to any word like so, ~excited, will search for that word and its synonyms.
6. Facial Recognition – This one is cool. In Google Image Search, you can add &imgtype=face to the end of the url in the browser address bar to limit the images to just faces. For instance, if you search for cruise and you just want to see Tom’s mug, drop &imgtype=face into the url or select Face from the type section on the left side.
7. Search Inside – What if you want to get results that include your word or phase in the title or the url? That can be done. Type InURL: followed by you keyword to get results with it inside the url. Type InTitle: and your keyword to get pages with your word in the title tag.
8. Search In Site – Have you ever wished that your favorite site had a search box on it? Google to the rescue! Type Site: followed by the site you want to search and you get just results from that site. So, “coffee mug” site:amazon.com would return only coffee mug products that are on the Amazon site.
9. Wildcard Game – Wouldn’t it be cool if Google had a wildcard search? Yep, it does. Type * anywhere in the search string and Google will assume that you want to replace the asterisk with anything else. Typing i like * and cats will return pages where someone is a cat lover, but might like other things as well, such as dogs.
10. Advanced Placement – If you don’t like having to remember all of these filters and search parameters, try using Google’s advanced search, located to the right of the search box. This offers a page will many of the features listed here spelled out in easy to use text boxes. You might even discover a few more options that we didn’t have time to cover.
Beyond Search – If you find that Google knows what it’s doing when it comes to search, why not try its take on a few other technologies. You can find links to these services at the top-left of the Google search window.
- Google Docs – a set of web-based applications for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It even has export to PDF!
- Google Calendar – a web-based calendar with capabilities for multiple sub-calendars, and shared calendars.
- Google Translate – it can translate text or an entire website from and into many different languages.
- Google Maps – the satellite view and street view make this the best map site on the web.
- Gmail – free web-based email that keeps track of mail in conversations, so you never again have to search through past email to figure out what was said prior.