March 18, 2018

Ten Google Tricks to Improve your Searches

TechTips: Ten Google Tricks to Improve Your Searches

By now, everyone knows about putting quotation marks around a search term to refine a search, but what else can Google do for you? Quite a bit, as it turns out.  

1. Use the minus sign to eliminate certain results. For example, "submarine -sandwich" will yield only results about the submersible water craft and not anything about the hoagie.

2. Slang words from that transcript got you baffled? Use "Define: [term]." Try this one to impress your teenagers: "Define: Hundo P." 

3. Need to make a quick decision? Type "flip a coin" and Google will flip a coin and show either heads or tails. You can also "roll a die."

4. Use the asterisk as an unknown variable. Comes in handy if you know only part of phrase or lyric. For example, say you have an inkling of a phrase from a Winston Churchill speech that would be perfect for a brief you are writing. Search "Never was so much * by so many." The complete phrasing will pop up in the results.

5. Use "Site" to limit your search to a particular website. For example, to find all the articles that Time.com has written about Donald Trump, search "Time.com site: Trump."

6. Use "Site:edu" (or gov, com or org) to limit your search to particular domain types. For example, to determine what different government entities have on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, search "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure site:gov."

7. Search by location by adding the zip code at the end of your search. For example, search "cafes 20036," to find all the cafes near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

8. Improve productivity with the timer. Say you need to hunker down for 45 minutes to finish a project. Type "Set timer" into the search bar and then the amount of time. Google will automatically start the timer. A beeper will ring at the end of the time.

9. Refine an image search using "tools." If you need an image of the brain for a PowerPoint deck, but don’t want to run afoul of copyright infringement, search "brain" under "Images" and then click "Tools," and then "Usage Rights." Click on that to select the appropriate category. Note that you can also refine an image search using size, color, type and time.

10. Search by filetype. If you are putting together a presentation on government procurement collusion and want to see similar presentations, search "Filetype PPTX bid rigging detection."

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