Google tricks you may not know

Fri 29 March 2013 15:00, Tamara Yadvichuk

Most of us use Google to search for pretty much anything, and usually it does a good job finding what you are looking for after one or two simple searches. But you’ll be surprised to know that Google has some very useful features you probably have never heard of. Here are a few nice tools that you may have missed!

Google tricks you may not know

Image Search

Searching by image is an awesome way to find images similar to the pic you have, find out the name of a place or person in the picture (celebrities, places of interest, movie characters, etc.), find shops that sell a product you saw somewhere on a blog, or to find the image you have in higher resolution.  You can search by URL of the image or simply drag and drop the file from your computer into the Google search page with the Image tab open. I love this feature!



Search operators allow you to better define your search using specific symbols in the search bar  without clicking on extra search tools:

“query” – put the query in quotation marks to search for this phrase exactly excluding other word forms and synonyms. I often use it to find a song if I only remember a few words from the lyrics.

-query – exclude a keyword from your search if you are looking for something with multiple formats or categories to filter out irrelevant ones (ex. you are interested in Batman comic books and not the movies -> add -movie to the search)

~query – ask Google to look for a wider range of synonyms than it does normally

site: - this is really useful as it allows you to search websites that do not have a built-in search feature – place the URL of the site right after site: into the search bar of Google before your normal search query and you will get results only from that specific site. You can also search multiple sites at once (repeat the site: operator) or exclude the ones you don’t want ( ).

filetype:pdf – search for files straight from Google search bar by typing filetype:extension before your search query. It works very well for academic papers (.pdf), books (.pdf, .txt, .doc, e-book formats) and other text document formats.

* – use a * for a word you don’t remember in a specific phrase in combination with an “exact” search (ex. "a * saved is a * earned" )

OR – search for pages with either of the search terms (free events + amsterdam OR utrecht)

20..100 – use .. to specify a range of numbers or use number.. and ..number to specify only the top or bottom margin (ex. antique camera ..$200)


Advanced search

When you are on the search results page of Google you can use the Search Tools button at the top at the page for quick filters, or go to the Advanced Search by clicking on the little gear button (you can also go to Advanced Search offers the possibilities which you can achieve by using the above operators, plus some useful filters including location and language and an option to look for non-copyrighted material.

Good luck in your searching!

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