On any day, Google Search brings in approximately 30% of the visits to this blog. The most significant portion of that group arrive at this site by literally typing the URL into the Google search bar, which indicates that many people don’t know how to use Google or their browser efficiently. I have a set of articles covering how to use a modern browser: for now, let's cover some basic points on how to use Google.
- Don’t go to google.com. There is rarely any need to go directly to google.com in order to initiate search. All modern browsers allow search directly from the URL bar or a specialized search bar to the side. All of the techniques I’m about to discuss can be typed directly into the URL bar or the sidebar, shaving several seconds from every search.
- Use Boolean search Google will often deliver millions of results in response to search terms. To narrow the field, indicate words that you do not want with a minus sign: penguin -book -clothes -game -computing will deliver web pages with “penguin” in the content but without the words “book”, “clothes”, “game”, or “computing”.
- Use phrases, rather than terms To further narrow search results, group words together inside of quotes: this means that the words must appear together. For example: "blue footed booby"
- Receive files, not web pages, as search results For specialized topics, documents can often deliver more information than standard HTML pages. Google indexes everything that can be searched on the web: to deliver only results from documents, use the filetype command with an appropriate extension. For example: "yellow eyed penguin" filetype:ppt This will deliver only Powerpoint files in which the phrase “yellow eyed penguin” is used. Some other extensions:
filetype:doc Word documents filetype:xls Excel Spreadsheets filetype:ppt Powerpoint presentations filetype:pdf PDF documents filetype:torrent Torrent files
Use your postal code, not an address
Google Maps suggests that you use your street address to find locations near you. It’s not necessary: simply use your postal code. There’s no need to go to
local.google.comeither. For example, type the following into the URL bar:
- Restrict search within a particular site
Finding what you want inside a large site can be difficult; often, site's built-in search can provide sparse results. In those cases, restrict Google to search inside a particular URL with site: For example: CSS site:thenewcode.com