Google Tips and Tricks to Make Searching More Fun

Introduction

Let's look at some useful features of Google that will make your searching more effective. Start by surfing to google.com with Firefox, Internet Explorer, or any other Internet browser. IE 9 is current, as is Firefox 4.

Click on the Advanced Search link, as illustrated in Figure 01.

Figure 01 - Browse to google.com and click on Advanced Search. Any browser will work.
Figure 01 - Browse to google.com and click on Advanced Search. Any browser will work.

All kinds of cool stuff happens here.You can configure your search to tightly focus your results.

Just for fun, let's say we want to search on the soccer coach named "Bill Nicholson". In Europe soccer is called football. So, we want web pages containg the exact phrase "Bill Nicholson" and the word soccer or the word football. We also want to dig deeply into the search results; let's change the Results per Page from the default 10 to 100.

Figure 02 illustrates how to enter these requirements.

Figure 02 - Entering search requirements into the Google Advanced Search page
Figure 02 - Entering search requirements into the Google Advanced Search page

When we click on the Advanced Search button we get the results illustrated in Figure 03.

Note that the search criteria was built for you and entered into the Google search field. Eventually you'll get the hang of the syntax and you won't need to use the Advanced Search page nearly as often. You'll be able to type your criteria into the search field, saving yourself a few seconds on every search.

Figure 03 - Results of the Search. "Bill Nicholson" and either "football" or "soccer"
Figure 03 - Results of the Search. "Bill Nicholson" and either "football" or "soccer"

For our next magic trick, we will search for all Adobe Acrobat documents that have the phrase "Data Warehouse" in the title and are published on educational domains. We chose Adobe Acrobat because most college research papers publish in that format.

Figure 04 illustrates how to set up the search parameters.

Note that the query syntax has been built for you; it's at the top of the figure.

Figure 04 - The Search Parameters
Figure 04 - The Search Parameters

Figure 05 shows the result of the search. Our search filters were effective enough to limit the results to only 481 pages.

Had we simply searched on the phrase "Data Warehouse" we would have retrieved "about 15,200,000" results.

Figure 05 - Results of the Data Warehouse Search
Figure 05 - Results of the Data Warehouse Search

Finally, we will look at a very useful feature that filters by age. In Figure 06 we search for Swine Flu, but only on pages that have been updated in the last 24 hours. This allows us to limit our search to recently created or recently updated publications. We're not all that interested in the history of Swine Flu, rather the current news about the disease.

Figure 06 - Limit search results to pages that have been updated in the last 24 hours
Figure 06 - Limit search results to pages that have been updated in the last 24 hours

Have fun with Google Searches!

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