Google is the only search engine that doesn’t need any presentation. Used in whopping percentages all around the world, this engine receives several hundred million searches on a daily basis. Besides awesome marketing ideas, Google’s success is based on an intelligent algorithm named Page Rank, which basically ranks web pages that match a given word.
Google was launched thirteen years ago and since then a lot of different techniques and features were implemented by its developers. Unfortunately, not many people know that Google can interpret a wide range of searching tricks to improve results and that there’s more to searching than simply inserting words.
How can you search Google better?
There is a wide range of things you can do with Google and with our help, you will be able to use them and improve every search. The following search tips can be applied for every instance of the famous search engine, meaning every country and every language.
In the beginning, I want to point some different facts that are important to be known before you go Googling:
- Punctuation doesn’t matter.
- Uppercase and lowercase letters are the same for Google.
- The limit is set to ten words and everything after that is truncated and ignored.
- Word order matters to Google.
- Small words such as “the”, “and”, “or”, etc. will be ignored unless they are specific operators and, capitalized.
Operators and distinguishers
If you are looking for certain content on internet you should use the quotation marks “ “ for better and more exact results. For example, instead of just writing experience miraculous Sri Lanka which will provide all results containing those words, put the whole construction between quotation marks into Google’s search box and it will show only the ones that contain that full sentence.
Google also has the ability to search for a particular phrase on a specific site. Say you want to buy a new car of a special brand on a specific site which hasn’t got a built-in search service. Just type site:nameofthesite.com in the search field and Google will do the job for you; for example:
If you want to add a word in the search box and to find websites which include similar words or synonyms for it, you only need to add the tilde operator ~ in front of that particular word. For example:
- “installing thermostats” ~professional
If you are not sure about the information you are looking for, you can use the OR operator between two keywords. Google will show results that have either the first keyword or the second one, whereas if you will omit OR it will show results containing both keywords. Try searching la galaxy league winners 2011 or 2002 with the operator and without it to see the differences. This trick also applies for the AND operator, telling Google that the terms on either side of AND should be included in search results.
Searching for a certain document of a particular file type? Google can easily find results that are of a specific type; just use the filetype feature after the name of your query (for example: “World War II” filetype:ppt) and it will provide the expected results.
We all know that some results are better than other so when you are trying to find an authority page, which receives a lot of links for a certain term, use the allinanchor parameter, followed by your keyword. This will find sources regularly linked with that keyword. Moreover, the allintitle operator will filter results only to sites that have your keyword in the title.
This is a very useful tip because it helps you limit the results to a particular number range. It can be used for ranging years, prices and everything else. All you have to do is use the A..B modifier after your query, like in this example (between A and B are only two points). The A and B limitations can also be used for time ranges, allowing people to search for certain terms between two periods. A simple example could be:
- Manchester United 2012..2013
You don’t know what a word means and you have to search it? Type it directly into Google search box after the define: command and it will show its definition automatically on the result page.
If you want to exclude results that contain particular words, just write the minus sign after your query and the word you want to be excluded. For example, if you want to search particular content about travel to Greece and you are not interested in what the tourist agencies are saying, type into the search box: “travel to Greece”-agency.
The Wildcard is another interesting Google operator which was visually interpreted as the asterisks symbol. Using it in any types of query, Google will automatically replace the wildcard with any other word, or phrase. This can help users search for ambiguous terms and reveal exactly what they want. A simple example could be:
- “weight * diets”
Google’s smart functions
Search weather followed by any city in the world or even directly by the US zip code to get information about weather conditions. It will show a detailed weather report, information about precipitations and the forecast for the next days.
If you are called on your mobile and you don’t know the person who is calling, you can try the phonebook feature from Google. Type into the search bar phonebook and after it the number, like this:
- Phonebook: 000-555-1111
Next time when you are browsing and you have to do a quick calculation, don’t open the Windows application. Use Google instead, because it’s able to do complex operations directly into the search field.
If you need to look-up an area code for a phone number that you don’t recognize, just type the 3-digit code from the beginning of the number and Google will directly show the result. For example, if you have the number 320-111-8888 you will only have to type into the search box the 320 code as shown into the picture.
It’s very simple to convert units using Google. Just type the number and the unit of measurement, for instance: A [units] in [units], and the calculator feature will automatically do the conversion. It also works with the currency, so enter A [currency 1] in [currency 2] into the search bar and Google will convert it at the daily rate.
To check the time anywhere in the world, search time followed by any country or city you want. You can also track shipping packages by typing the tracking number directly into Google’s search box and the status of shipment will be shown in results page. Note that it only works with FedEx, UPS and USPS tracking numbers.
Say that you are looking for a good restaurant in a certain area of the city; type the zip code at the end of any query and Google will show location-specific results (these queries may also include certain products, such as “Italian food”, “red wine”, “hotdogs”, etc.). Also, Google will show a map, phone numbers and reviews about all the places found. If it’s not added, the search engine will automatically calculate your location and show results that are nearby.
Public information can also be extracted by searching the name of a certain city or country. Google will intelligently display important information in the right-hand side of the screen, such as the population, minimum wage, important cities and other stuff like that.
To find out at which time the sun rises or sets use Google’s features. You will only have to type the words sunrise and sunset followed by the city you are searching for and Google will show the exact time in your results.
To see timetables of movies that are running in your city, just type movie and the name of the city and Google will show directly the best options. In addition, it shows trailers via YouTube which can be accessed with only a tap of a button.
With Google it’s possible to search flight schedules and prices from a particular airport or city. Type flights to or flights from followed by the desired destination to show all flights that are coming to or leaving that point. Also, you can add another destination with to, like this: flights from London to Barcelona.
To search information about a common disease, symptom or even a generic medicine, just enter its name in the search box and Google will provide expert summary and description in the left-hand side of the screen. For medication it will also show side effects, dosage and important data which is delivered by the National Institute of Health. In both cases, you can click through to read a more detailed article about it.
Are you eager to know what your favorite team did last night or which is the next match? Type its name in the Google search bar and information provided by STATS, Inc. will automatically appear. You will receive the most recent result, a schedule for next matches, the team’s logo and essential information about the crew.
This is useful for every stock exchange player that wants real time information about his quotes. Google needs only the ticker symbol (a unique code assigned for each company) and it will show current listing for stocks. Furthermore, for a detailed analysis, Google offers the possibility to go to the Finances section with only one click of a button. The same applies for the stocks: operator, followed by the company’s name:
- stocks: Apple
Advanced Searching Class
Whenever operators and other tricks seem to be a bit unfriendly to remember and to use, Google has a “Search tools” menu implemented in every results page. As it can be seen from the image above, after pressing this button three important sub-menus appear. Here are their specific use and functions:
- Search the web - from this tab users can choose what type of sites can appear in search results. The default option will include all languages, while pressing the drop-down arrow will display an option for recently used languages (usually it’s English and your native language). By choosing the secondary, results will be filtered to sites that provide content only in those specific languages.
- Any time – this second menu gives a simple mechanism that can change the time range of results shown. Users can choose to filter results and only show sources written or updated in the last hour, day, week, month, year or, include a custom range.
- All results – the last menu targets can filter results based on various criteria. For instance, users can choose to show only sources that have images included, the reading level desired or only articles from sites already visited. Each of these sub-menus can narrow down the search so it’s worth giving them a shot.
Another trick that is worth using is the Cached menu. This works extremely well for when a website is down or has been intentionally deleted, because it shows a copy of the website saved in Google’s cache. With Google supplying the snapshot directly, this can also be used when the user has a slow internet connection and cannot load the desired source. Unfortunately, cached pages are downloaded by Google at random moments so the original information may have changed in time. To activate a cache version of any certain page, just press the down arrow near the website name, like in the picture above.
Searching images can be easily done with Google. As with the regular search option, the Image section comes with a wide range of options and of course, the Search tools menu. From here, you can choose the resolution of displayed results from the Size menu. They can either be large, medium, small, icon or an exact choice.
Right next to the Size option there is a Color section, that allows users to filter results after certain coloring schemes. For instance, you can easily choose to obtain black and white images or go for full transparency.
From the file type section users can choose to find faces, pictures, line drawings, clip arts or animated pictures of their query.
By far the best trick Google Image is capable of pulling is to actually search relevant images, by any given source. For instance, you can manually drag and drop a picture into the search bar and the engine will find related results.
The classic Video searching engine still exists in Google, even though YouTube has replaced it in the casual search bar. To access Video searches just navigate to http://www.google.com/videohp and use the regular Search Tools menu to tweak results after your liking. As usual, you can manually pick the duration of the clip, its source, quality and other stuff like that.
Another interesting thing would be to search videos directly on YouTube, the primary resource for plenty users. Searching here can sometimes be tricky, because there are tons of spammers trying to get the first hit on an important keyword. The first thing that can filter results is the actual Filter menu, situated right under your keyword. By pressing that button you will gain access to four important sorting options:
- Relevancy – matches results that have a relevant title / description to your query. This is the default option in YouTube, and usually the best.
- Upload date – can find the most recent videos, especially useful if you are looking for sports highlights.
- View count – can be used to display the most viewed videos at the top.
- Rating – a tricky little parameter, than can offer mixed results. Usually, awful videos receive many dislikes but depending on your query, it may become less relevant.
There is more to searching videos on YouTube than these obvious options. For instance, just like in the regular Google search box, YouTube allows the use of quotes to force an exact match.
Using the plus sign between two or more terms will make sure that results will absolutely contain those words. As you may have already experience, YouTube has the habit of dropping certain words if the result is not so relevant. Moreover, by adding the intitle: operator at the end of a query (followed by a keyword of course) will force YouTube to show results that contain that word in the title.