The term ‘To Search’ has become synonymous, or it’s safe to say, has been replaced with the term ‘To Google’. Since its inception in 1998, Google has built upon its strengths, and gradually captured the imagination of billions of internet users.
“Googling” has evolved into a science of its own kind, with the user assured of getting better results if they query the search engine in a better manner. So what exactly do you mean by ‘better manner’? Those subtle changes you make on your search terms – the words you type into the search text box – can make favorable changes to the results you get.
Here are some of those tricks to get exactly what you wished to search for. From the very basic tips to the latest Easter eggs, this is by no means an exhaustive list. This is how I researched my way into becoming a better googler. If it seems very basic right now, wait for more posts – you will certainly find some useful tips!
1. Use web friendly words
A search engine works by matching the words you enter to pages on the web. Thus the words ‘headache’ and ‘my head hurts’ will give different results. Type in ‘headache‘ if you want the medical info, else type in ‘my head hurts‘ if you need a more generalized result.
2. Use exact phrase
Put quotation marks around words to search for the exact phrase in the exact order. Type in ‘My Quote’ to search for all webpages having this exact phrase. However keep in mind that this might exclude relevant phrases. E.g. Typing in ‘My Quote‘ will not search for ‘My Best Quote‘.
3. Google is case insensitive
This is more of a generalized tip than others. While typing in the query, do not worry about the case of the letters. ‘My alphabets‘ will give the same results as ‘MY ALPHABETS‘.
4. Google does not recognize punctuation
Those dreaded punctuation marks have no power when it comes to google! (I wish google opens up a school!!). ‘Where is my pizza‘ will give the same search results as ‘Where is my pizza???????‘.
5. Search within a specific website
Google being a global search engine, it searches your query in all of the trillions of petabytes of data it has stored in its databases. But what if you want to search if your friend has mentioned your name in his friends list on his personal website? Well, google is your answer! (How surprising!!). Just put ‘site:<sitename>’ after your search term. E.g. ‘op-ed site:nytimes.com‘ will search for the term ‘op-ed’ only in the ‘nytimes.com’ website. This also works for ‘site:edu‘ or ‘site:org‘ in case you want to search in specific domains.
6. Search by file type
Searching for phrases is too generalized? You are welcome to search for more specific content such as.. yeah files. Type in ‘filetype:<file_extension>’ after your search term. searching for ‘what is cloud computing filetype:ppt‘ will search for files with ‘.ppt’ extension containing the term ‘what is cloud computing’.
7. Exclude specific words
If there is a yin, there has to be a yang. Similar to including some words, you can also exclude specific words from your search term. Put a minus (-) sign before the excluded word. Typing in ‘pizza -dominoes‘ will search for webpages containing the term ‘pizza’ but not ‘Dominoes’ on the same page. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against Dominoes. Please do not stop sending me discount coupons!)
8. Find related pages
Liked a webpage suiting your needs? Want to get more such websites? Google has an option for that too. Just type “related:” followed by the website address. I want to watch the movie ‘The Croods’, and searched for it in ‘imdb.com’ website. Then thought of searching for additional information about it. Typed in the imdb link – “related:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481499/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv” and here is what i got:
This is not the end of this series. I will be posting a lot on this subject, considering its ever-expanding scope in your lives. So keep watching this space for more!