Hard Facts on Software -Get the most out of Google continued
Last week we started looking at some ideas on how to get the most out of Google search. Let’s delve deeper into this subject, as sometimes you need a bit more search power. Herewith again tips as found on the Google Help pages.
“Here we highlight the more advanced features of Google Web Search. As always, we use square brackets [ ] to denote queries, so [ to be or not to be ] is an example of a query; [ to be ] or [ not to be ] are two examples of queries.
Phrase search (“”) By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are telling Google to consider the exact words in that exact order without any change. Google already uses the order and the fact that the words are together as a very strong signal and will stray from it only for a good reason, so quotes are usually unnecessary. By insisting on phrase search you might be missing good results accidentally. For example, a search for [ “Alexander Bell” ] (with quotes) will miss the pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
Search single word exactly as is (“”) Google employs synonyms automatically, so that it finds pages that mention, for example, childcare for the query [ child care ] (with a space), or California history for the query [ ca history ]. But sometimes Google helps out a little too much and gives you a synonym when you don’t really want it. By putting double quotes around a single word, you are telling Google to match that word precisely as you typed it.
Search within a specific website (site:) Google allows you to specify that your search results must come from a given website. For example, the query [ iraq site:nytimes.com ] will return pages about Iraq but only from nytimes.com. The simpler queries [ iraq nytimes.com ] or [ iraq New York Times ] will usually be just as good, though they might return results from other sites that mention the New York Times. You can also specify a whole class of sites, for example [ iraq site:.gov ] will return results only from a .gov domain and [ iraq site:.iq ] will return results only from Iraqi sites.
Terms you want to exclude (-) Attaching a minus sign immediately before a word indicates that you do not want pages that contain this word to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space. For example, the query [ anti-virus -software ] will search for the words ‘anti-virus’ but exclude references to software.
Fill in the blanks (*) The *, or wild card, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example, the search [ Google * ] will give you results about many of Google’s products. The query [ Obama voted * on the * bill ] will give you stories about different votes on different bills.
The OR operator Google’s default behavior is to consider all the words in a search. If you want to specifically allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator (note that you have to type ‘OR’ in ALL CAPS). For example, [ Blue Bulls 2004 OR 2005 ] will give you results about either one of these years, whereas [ Blue Bulls 2004 2005 ] (without the OR) will show pages that include both years on the same page. The symbol | can be substituted for OR.
Alright – enough of that – search and try this a bit. Don’t forget you can also search for specific pictures in specific colors. So go find that picture of the red soccer ball! Now back to work!
Until next time then – Keep it (A)fresh.