The Newbie Guide to Google Search

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Think you know everything about searching on Google.  Think again!  You may be surprised at what you don’t know.  Can you pass each level?

Beginner Guidelines for a Better Search on Google

1. Start simple.

Write a basic word or phrase.  If you are looking for something in a specific place, enter the city or zip code with the search term.

2. Ignore spelling there’s a built-in spell checker

Google’s spell checker will default to the most common spelling of a word.  Google will ask you, “Did you mean: (more common spelling)?”  Click on the correct spelling.  It will also show you related searches with other spellings.

3. Ignore cases.

Typing using upper case for titles makes no difference.  Benjamin Franklin and benjamin franklin will return the same search results.

4. Ignore punctuation.

Google search ignores punctuation marks.

5. Use single words or short phrases and not sentences

So if your back hurts type “backache”.  Keep it simple.

6. Use define:

If you are still not finding what you want, maybe you need to clarify.  Type in define: followed by the word you are looking for.  Google will return the definition.  This will make sure you have the word you need and offer other synonyms to search for.

Example: define: driver

Passing Score: Knowing 5 out of 6 Guidelines

 

Intermediate Tips for a Better Search on Google

1. Exact Phrase

Use quotes to enclose the exact phrase you are searching for.  So if you want to find information about dog houses not just dogs or houses, place double quotes around the phrase.

Example: “dog houses”

2. Either | Or

Typically Google will search for all the words you type.  If you wish to find results related to any of the words, type in OR (capitalized) or you can use the pipe symbol wish is located typically above the enter key on the keyboard.  If you don’t capitalize the word or, Google will return sites that include your search words as well as the or.

Example 1:  dogs OR cats

Example 2: dogs | cats

3. Not

If you want to exclude certain terms from your search, use the subtraction symbol “-“.  This prevents pages that contain the “negative” word from being in the results.  So if you want to find out about drivers such as NASCAR drivers, but don’t want to find computer device drivers that you can download, use the subtraction/negative symbol to exclude downloads

Example: drivers -download

4. Similar Terms (Synonym Search)

Use the “~” to include terms that are similar to your search term.  Use this symbol “~” and funny to get results for words like fun, cute, stupid, and cartoon.

Example: ~funny

5. Wildcard

The “*” asterisk symbol lets you find information when you can’t remember exactly the words you want.  It is the “fill in the blank” symbol.  Lets say you are looking for the lyrics of a song such as Can’t Get Enough of Your Love by Barry White.  Type in the part of the lyrics you remember inserting the “*” in where you don’t remember.

Example: can’t * your love lyrics

This will return results for every lyric that has those words such as Bon Jovi’s “can’t have your love” and Jackson 5’s “can’t quit your love” as well as Barry White’s song.

Passing Score: Knowing 3 out of 5 Tips

 

Advanced Tools of the Google Search Expert

1. Specific Document Type

If you want to find a specific document type such as jeopardy PowerPoint, then use the filetype extension and the letter file abbreviation.  Examples of file abbreviations that work are ppt for PowerPoint, pdf for Portable Document Format, xls for Microsoft Excel, htm or html for hypertext markup language (web pages), rtf for rich text format, or txt for text.  Google recognizes several other formats such as those for Lotus, MacWrite, Microsoft Works, and many others.

Example: jeopardy filetype: ppt

2. Location of term

If you want to specify where the term is to be searched such as only in the subject or only in the text (body) of the pages, you can specify.  The query terms are inurl: if it is in the name of the url, intitle: for in the title, or intext: for in the text.  Less common is the inanchor: which is for finding the term within the text used to describe links.

Example: intext: “funny video”

3. Site Specific Search

If you want to search a specific website only, then this is the query term to use.  Let’s say you want to search www.edtechtips.org for iPads, then you would type iPads and the term site: followed by the site’s url.

Example: ipads site:www.edtechtips.org

Example2: site:www.edtechtips.org ipads

4. Search and find specific terms

If you want to find each instance of a word or phrase on one webpage or in an online article, this will search and highlight each instance.  Once you are on the page you wish to search through, hit Control-F.  At the bottom of your screen a search field will appear.  Type in your search terms.  Choose from the options of Next, Previous, and Highlight all.  You can also click if you want it to match the case (capital letters)

5. Backlinks

If you want to find the pages that link to a specific URL, then use the query link:  This can be used to refer to a main page or to a subpage.  Not all links to a URL are listed.

Example: link: www.edtechtips.org

6. Search locations

Type in a zip code or an area code and Google will tell you the place.  With the zip code a small map listing the town or city will appear.  With the area code, a Wikipedia article with a snippet telling the location will appear.

Use this feature with a regular search to narrow down your search criteria.  Want to find a rental cars in your zip code, type rental cars and the zip.  This is useful for finding local businesses such as restaurants or gas stations.  Google will also give you a map.

Example: rental cars 93612

7. Reverse Phone Lookup

Type in a phone number and Google’s phone book feature will give you information.  Next time you get a phone call from an unknown number,  look it up.

8. Numeric Ranges

If you want to find information in a restricted time period, Google will find it for you.  For instance, if you want to know who were the Presidents between 1960-1970 or when the price of oil was between $1.2b and $1.3b, use the “..” (double periods or dots) to signify a range.

Example: presidents 1960..1970

9. Calculator

Type in any calculation, and Google will solve it.  As you type in the calculation, Google will show the answer at each step.

Example: 7^2*3 + (6*2)/4 – (sqrt 16)

10. Stocks (Ticker Symbol)

Type in a valid ticker symbol and Google will give you the current financial information and a thumbnail graph.

11. Movies

Want to discover what movies are showing at the local theaters and the show times, use the movie operator and your location.  Google will bring up a list of movies showing in your town along with the length of the movie, its rating, and a trailer to watch.  Click on the movie and the theaters and times will show.

Example: movie 93720

12. Weather

The term weather followed by the city and state, zip code, or city and country will return a four-day forecast, the current temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, the wind speed, and humidity.

Example: weather San Francisco CA

13. Time

If you want to know the current time in another place, type in time followed by the location (name of the city).

Example: time Frankfurt

14. Sunrise and Sunset

Type in either sunrise or sunset and the city to find out the time of the event.

Example: sunrise New Orleans

15. Sports Scores

To see scores and schedules of your favorite teams, type in the team name or league name.

Example: rams

16. Specific Search Type

The left hand navigation includes many options several are hidden under the term more…  These include: web, images, maps, videos, news, shopping, books, places, flights, discussions, recipes, applications, and patents.  Type in your search terms and click the option to filter your results.

17. Earthquakes

To find information about recent earthquakes, type earthquake and the city and state or zip code.  Try typing in just the word earthquake to find out the latest around the world.

Example: earthquake

18. Unit Conversion

Use Google to calculate unit conversion such as in weight, length, volume.

Example: 15.8 cm in inches

19. Public Data

You can find public data such as population or unemployment rate in a specific place.

Example: population New York

20. Poison Control

Type in the words poison control and the US hotline number will show at the top of the search.

Example: poison control

21. Suicide Prevention

Type in the words suicide prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number appears.

Example: suicide prevention

22. Flight Tracking

To see the flight status for arriving and departing US flights, type in the name of the airline and flight number.  Google shows the times and gates.

Example: American Airlines 202

23. Flight Schedules

If you want to see a list of flights to or from a particular destination type in flight from or flight to and the place.  You can include a second destination.

Example: flights from San Francisco to Denver

24. Package Tracking

You can track packages shipped through UPS, FedEx, or USPS by typing in your tracking number into the query field.  Google will ask you if you want to track your package after you enter the number.

Example: 1Z9999W99999999999

25. Types of numbers

Google algorithms can recognize patterns in numbers you enter.  This allows you to search for telephone area codes, vehicle ID numbers (US only), Federal Communications commission (FCC) equipment numbers (US only), UPC codes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane registration numbers (US only), and Patent numbers (US only).

Passing Score: Knowing 12 out of 25 Tools

 

So are you an expert at Google after all?