For many of us, Google is our default search engine, and we turn to it many times a day to search for information, everything from research to school to fun facts. Many people open their browser and simply type in their search term. If you do this, you may not be using Google search to its full potential.
Below are some tips to help you search smarter and obtain faster and more relevant search results.
1. Use Quotes
If you type in a search phrase, Google will return results containing all of the words in the phrase in any order. If you surround the phrase in quotes, however, Google will search for the phrase exactly as you typed it. This can be helpful if you are searching for a specific phrase such as a quote or words to a song.
2. Exclude a Word
Using a hyphen before a word excludes that word from your search. For instance, let’s say you want to search for information about the Forza video game but each time you do, results for both the Honda Forza scooter and the video game appear. If you want to eliminate the Honda Forza from your search results, you would type:
This tells the search engine to search for Forza but eliminate any results that have the word “Honda” in it. This can be a real time-saver when you want to find information about a specific topic without having to sift through irrelevant results.
3. Search a specific site
If you want to limit your search to a specific site, you can type in the site name preceded by a colon. Let’s say you want to browse through the Apple corporations Mac computers. If you typed in “Mac” in the search box, you would receive thousands of results. To limit your search to Apple’s website, you would type:
As another example, let’s say we wanted to find images of Tom Petty on the Getty images site. In this case, our search term would read:
Tom Petty site:gettyimages.com
4. Define Words
There’s no need to search through an online or physical dictionary to find out the definition of a word. Simply type in: DEFINE: and then the name of the word. For instance, if you wanted to learn the meaning of the word indoctrinate, you would type in:
5. Using Wildcards
If you want to search for all variations of a particular phrase, use an asterisk to replace the word(s). This comes in handy if you ’ve forgotten a word or two from a specific phrase, song lyric or movie quote.
For instance, let’s say that I know a line in the song begins with Hey and ends with “don’t be afraid,” but I can’t remember the person to which the song was referring. So I could type:
“Hey * Don’t be afraid”
This will return the song “Hey Jude.”
6. Use Google’s Tabs
On top of the Google search window, are several tabs: Images, Video, News, Maps and More. Using these tabs is an excellent way to limit the results of your search.
For instance, if you want an image of a beagle, click the Images tab on top of the window and then type in your search term. You will now only receive pictures related to the word.
7. Finding Related Sites
Another handy feature is the ability to find sites that are similar to a specific site. For instance, let’s say you typically shop at Barnes and Noble for books and decided that you want to explore other online booksellers. To get a list of sites similar to Barnes and Noble, type:
The search results will display links like Powell’s Book, Books-a-Million, Amazon, and Smashwords. This is an excellent tool to discover new sites that are similar to your interests.
8. Searching Newspaper Archives
Google’s News site has an option that allows you to search from newspapers around the world going all the way back to the late 1800’s. You can search all newspapers for a search term or click on a specific newspaper.
To get started, navigate to: http://news.google.com/newspapers. Once you’ve chosen your newspaper and entered your search term in the box, make sure you click the Search Archive button on top of the window.
9. Unit Conversions and Calculations
Did you know that you can quickly discover currency conversions right from the Google search box? To do so, enter in any conversion, such as 85 dollars in euro. This works with measurements as well, such as 3 liters in cups.
Likewise, you can also perform mathematical calculations by typing in the equation in the search box: (4 x 287)/5
10. Image Search
Google search includes a handy image search feature that allows you to identify an image. To use the feature, click the Images tab on top of the Search window and then drag an image from your computer to the search box. Google will display similar images found on the Web.
11. Using AND and OR operators
If you type in a search term such as tigers and lions, Google assumes you want results that include both of those words together. But if you wanted your results to include either tigers or lion but not necessarily both, then use the OR operator, in uppercase letters:
“tigers OR lions”
12. Set the time period
You can limit your search results to only those within a specific time period. For instance, let’s say you want to see all the articles about the iPad that were posted in the past week. To do so, click the Tools button on Google’s search page and then click Any Time to display a list of possible choices. From here, you can choose from: past hour, past 24 hours, past week, past month or past year.
To limit your results to a specific date range, choose Custom Range from the list and then enter in the beginning and ending dates.
13. Track Your Packages
You can track your images using Google search. To do so, enter your FedEx, UPSP or UPS tracking number directly into the Google search box. To display tracking information for your package.
Do you need to translate a word or phrase from one language to another? You can do so right from the Google search bar. Just type in: Translate word to language. For example, if I wanted to know how to say cat in French, I would type:
Translate “red cat” to French
Want to find information about a specific stock? Type in “Stock” followed by the company name or the stock’s ticker symbol into the search box. For example, to see how Microsoft’s stock is doing, type:
“Stock MSFT” or “Stock Microsoft”
Want to find out the weather forecast? Type in Weather followed by the name of the city or the zip code. For example, to discover the weather in Milwaukee, WI, type in:
Weather Milwaukee or Weather 53201
So that’s it. Hopefully, these 16 tips will help you to find whatever you want on the Web quickly and make Google’s search engine work for you.