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Author Topic: Advanced Google searches  (Read 7366 times)

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Dilbert

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    Advanced Google searches
    « on: December 21, 2006, 03:49:28 PM »
    Topic
    Covering the uses of +, quotes, - and other tools to refine Google queries.

    "Quotes"
    To make sure that Google only looks for the exact string you search for, encase your search in quotes.

    For example: Typing in your search box The cat in the hat without quotes causes results to come up with the Cat in the Hat book by Dr. Seuss, but also comes up with irrelevant answers. Including the quotes will only find pages that include the phrase "the cat in the hat" somewhere.

    You can include more than one quoted block. Googling for "hard drive installation" "HP Pavilion Desktop" will only bring up results that have both of these exact phrases. That will cut out several hundred million irrelevant queries and gets you more specific results.

    +
    The is a common word, and was not included in your search.
    Who is a common word, and was not included in your search.


    Okay, that doesn't really happen. But similar things can. Some words are not included normally in searches. To make sure they do, prefix these words with a plus (+) sign.

    For example, if you wanted to search for "Star Wars Episode I", the "I" would get cut out because it is a common word. Google doesn't know that you mean the Roman Numeral I, instead of the first-person reference "I", as in, "I did something". So, to force it to include the common word, use the +, like so:

    "Star Wars Episode +I"

    Another reason some words are not included is because they are common in other languages. For example, "la" in Spanish could be "LA", the English abbreviation for "Los Angeles". + can force such results to be included, instead of omitted by default. Example:

    Again, multiple + signs can be used. For example: "jobs in central +LA California" instead of "jobs in central LA California". The second example would omit LA, and would find jobs in Central California -- not quite what the searcher may want.

    Also, some words are spelled differently in the UK than the US. Examples include favo(u)rite, colo(u)r, gray/grey, and others. To force only the US or UK spelling, use the + like so: "+favorite +books" or "+favourite +books"

    -
    The minus(-) sign is the exact opposite of the + sign. It find pages that do not have the next word in the search. For example, say that one wanted to find an article about twins supporting a Minnesota fund raiser. A lot of results would come up with the Minnesota Twins baseball team. However, the - sign can help that:

    "twins support Minnesota fund raiser" -baseball

    Searching for that would find all pages that include the phrase "twins support Minnesota fund raiser", but only if those pages do not have the word "baseball" in it. Finding information on salsa without getting dance class ads, use this search:
    "salsa" -dance -class

    ~
    The tilde(~) will cause Google to search for the next word and all the known synonyms of that word. For example, "~run" would search for run, running, runner, marathon, jog, sprint, etc.

    OR or |
    This searches for one search term or the other. It's more complicated, so examples follow:

    "Tahiti OR Hawaii" searches for pages that have either "Tahiti" or "Hawaii" on it, or both.
    "Tahiti | Hawaii" is the same thing.
    "blouse OR shirt OR chemise" searches for any one word, a combo of two, or all three.
    "blouse | shirt | chemise" is the same thing.
    Note: If you use OR instead of |, both letters in the word OR must be capitalized, or Google will search for "or".

    site:
    Searching within a site is possible with the site: prefix followed by a URL of a website. For example, to search for BIOS help in ComputerHope, you may type site:http://www.computerhope.com BIOS

    The Mother of all search queries
    Going back to the Star Wars example, let's say I wanted all the information on blaster weapons used in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I only want this information from www.starwars.com. The following search uses all the examples at least once.
    site:http://www.starwars.com "Star Wars Episode +I -II -III -IV -V -VI" OR "The Phantom Menace" ~blaster ~info
    Let's break it down:
    1. Search for all pages in www.starwars.com with either "The Phantom Menace" or "Star Wars Episode"
    2. If the latter is used, include "I" but don't use any pages with "II" "III" "IV" "V" or "VI". This makes sure only Episode I info is displayed.
    3. Search for "blaster" or any of its synonyms.
    4. Search for the term "info" or any of its synonyms.
    Using these tips should make it much easier to find relevant results. Good luck.

    Another interesting Google feature
    You need to find a distance in kilometers. You have it it miles. So, you can google for a converter to change it -- or you can let Google do it for you. Doing a Google search for 5 miles in kilometers (no quotes) will give you the answer: 8.04672 kilometers. Similar answers can be gotten for any unit of measure. Google can also do any math operations that a calculator can. Entering 5 + 23 - 56 * 35 will give the value of 5 plus 23 - (56 times 35), keeping Order of Operations in mind. More information on Google Calculator can be found at http://www.googleguide.com/calculator.html

    Thanks to WillyW for PMing me about the site: feature and the converter.
    « Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 04:40:57 PM by Computer Hope Admin »
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