Google is clearly the mot popular general-purpose search engine on the Internet today
But most people don't use it to its best advantage. Do you just type in a keyword or two and hope for the best? This may be the quickest and simplest way to search, but with more than 3 billion pages in Google's index, there's an easier way to get the results to a manageable number.
Google is a powerful tool which eases and enhances your Internet exploring. Google's search options go beyond simple keywords, the Web, and even its own programmers. Let's look at some of Google's lesser-known options.
Syntax Search Tricks
Using a special syntax is a way to tell Google that you want to restrict your searches to certain elements or characteristics of Web pages. Google has a fairly complete list of its syntax elements at
Here are some advanced operators that can help narrow down your search results.
Intitle: placed at the beginning of a query word or phrase (intitle:"Google search") restricts your search results to just the titles of the Web pages.
Intext: does the opposite of intitle:, searching only the body text, ignoring titles, links, and so forth. Intext: is perfect when what you're searching for might commonly appear in URLs. If you're looking for the term HTML, for example, and you don't want to get results such as
you can enter intext:html.
Link: lets you see which pages are linking to your Web page or to another page you're interested in. For example, try typing in
Try using site: (which restricts results to top-level domains) with intitle: to find certain types of pages. For example, get scholarly pages about your favourite author by searching for intitle:"favourite author"site:edu.
Experiment with mixing various elements; you'll develop several strategies for finding the stuff you want more effectively.
The site: command is very helpful as an alternative to the mediocre search engines built into many sites.
Google has a number of services that can help you accomplish tasks you may never have thought to use Google for. For example, the new calculator feature
lets you do both math and a variety of conversions from the search box.
Google can help you find out if you've got the right spelling—and the right word—for your search. Enter a misspelled word or phrase into the query box (try "gougle serch") and Google may suggest a proper spelling. This doesn't always work; it works best when the word you're searching for can be found in a dictionary. Once you search for a properly spelled word, look at the results page, which repeats your query. (If you're searching for "Google search," underneath the search window will appear a statement such as Searched the web for "Google search.") You'll discover that you can click on each word in your search phrase and get a definition from a dictionary.
Lets say you want to contact someone and don't have the phone number handy. Google can help you with that, too. Just enter a name, city, and state. (The city is optional, but you must enter a state.) If a phone number matches the listing, you'll see it at the top of the search results along with a map link to the address.
Google offers several services that give you a head start in focusing your search. Google Groups
indexes literally millions of messages from decades of discussion on Usenet. Google even helps you with your shopping via two tools: Froogle
which indexes products from online stores, and Google Catalogs
which features products from more 6,000 paper catalogs in a searchable index. And this only scratches the surface. You can get a complete list of Google's tools and services at
You've probably already gotten used to using Google in your browser. But have you ever thought of using Google outside of your browser?
Google alert monitors your search terms and e-mails you information about new additions to Google's Web index. (Google Alert is not affiliated with Google; it uses Google's Web services API to perform its searches.) If you're more interested in news stories than general Web content, check out the beta version of Google News Alerts
This service (which is affiliated with Google) will monitor up to 50 news queries per e-mail address and send you information about news stories that match your query. (Hint: Use the intitle: and source: syntax elements with Google News to limit the number of alerts you get.)
Google on the telephone? This service is brought to you by Google Labs
In 2002, Google released the Google API (application programming interface), this is a way for programmers to access Google's search engine results without violating the Google Terms of Service. A lot of people have created useful applications not available from Google itself, such as Google Alert. For many applications, you'll need an API key, which is available free from
Thanks to the many different search properties, Google goes far beyond a regular search engine. Give the tricks in this article a try and You'll be amazed at how many different ways Google can improve your Internet searching.
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