Google is your friend
The name Google has now passed into common culture. Since its launch in 1998. it has surpassed Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM and HP to become the second most valuable brand on the planet. Most of us don’t think about that, however. It’s just where you go to find out... well, anything.
How many of us really know how to search effectively though? There are lots of little tricks you can use to make your search queries more efficient and change the way you use Google. Let’s look at a few of them.
Google search tricks
The web is full of outdated and irrelevant information, so the idea is to do a more “refined search” and get exactly what you’re looking for in the first page of results. Try to choose descriptive words and don’t use any unnecessary ones. Google is case sensitive. You might think just typing your search phrase in will do it, but in fact Google may only search for pages containing some of those words in any order. To avoid this, simply put quotes around your search. This causes Google to restrict the results to pages which contain all those words in that specific order. This will give you more focused results, but it still may not return quite what you want. You can exclude a word from your search by entering a minus (-) sign directly before it. Search for a phrase only as you’ve entered it by preceding it with the plus (+) sign or allow any word in the middle of a phrase by using the wildcard (*) symbol. To refine it further, we can use the Google operator allintitle: to return only those pages which have all our words in their title. For example, if we were looking for pages with North Devon wildlife in the title, we could enter allintitle:”North Devon Wildlife”.
Similar to this is using intitle: which searches for pages which contain any one of our words in the title. You can also use Google to search just one website using the operator site, as in site:en.wikipedia.org. If you’re looking for particular file types (say, you’d like a PowerPoint presentation on a particular subject), you could use the operator filetype:ppt after your search. Have you ever noticed the letters in square brackets to the left of your search results – they denote if the link leads to a file (and it’s type) rather than a webpage.
More than just a search tool
Hopefully some of that will help you to search better, but Google is more than just a search tool.
You can use Google as a scientific calculator. Type in a formula, no matter how complex, to get an immediate answer.
It’s also a dictionary. Use the define: keyword to instantly see the meaning of a word and check it’s spelling. If you type a word incorrectly, Google will also make suggestions as to what you may have meant - type in Jounal and Google will respond Did you mean Journal?
Google is a world clock. If you want to know the time in Seattle, just enter time Seattle.
Those clever folks can give you a weather report, weather Edinburgh will tell you exactly what conditions are like north of the border.
The list of features is getting longer all the time, so get googling!
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