Your Guide To Search Internet Like a PRO

By Dean Sherwin, http://www.makeuseof.com
cover Your Guide To Search Internet Like a PRO
Free download as PDF / ePub

Many people have a very scarce knowledge of internet searching. These people don’t know how to formulate their queries, instead just ‘asking’ questions to the mighty Google.

For these people – and frankly, for everyone who wants to be more productive and get to know some incredible new search engines – MakeUseOf presents The Guidebook to Internet Searching.

This guide will tell you anything you possibly need – or want to know about search engines.

Learn how to formulate your searches, limit results using special search commands, get to know numerous special search engines and lots more.

Table of Contents

§1 – Introduction

§2 – Basic Rules for Internet Searching

§3 – The Major Search Engines

§4 – People Searches

§5 – Searching for Products and Deals

§6 – Image Searches

§7 – Video Searches

§8 – Searching for Files

§9 – Real-Time Searches

§10 – Smart Search

§11 – Other Special Search Engines

§12 – Tips To Do Better Searching

1. Introduction

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I dedicated myself to creating this manual to make searching on the Internet easier for non-techie people. While most of us will know how to use search engines in their most basic form, there are numerous other ways we can go about finding these things, using specific methods for each particular kind of search.

From images, to videos, to products – we’ve tried to cover all major search engine branches in this guide. We’ll also explore how search engines work, to get a better understanding of them. This way you can optimize your search queries, as well as your own online content. Hope you enjoy it.

2. Basic Rules for Internet Searching

While most grammar and symbols are ignored by search engines to better facilitate the search results, some aren’t, as they may be critical to your search. For example the dollar sign ($) isn’t ignored, in case you’re searching for a price. The search terms ‘Canon 400′ and ‘Cannon $400′ will obviously yield different results. Programming language such as letter sequences and symbols aren’t ignored either. Neither are hyphens, depending on how they’re used. The key thing to remember about this principle is that if any grammar in your search terms has an undeniable meaning or relevance there, then it will be accounted for.

Small words which could be omitted are not included when searching. For example ‘a’ or ‘the’ aren’t taken into account (There is one exception to this rule – see below).

Then we have what is referred to as ‘Obvious Intent’. If you’re searching for ‘The Killers’, you’re clearly looking for pages related to the famous rock band – not homicidal maniacs. Also, the search engine will probably have chosen to include ‘The’, because it’s part of the bands title – even though in other circumstances it would’ve been omitted.

The search commands below will work for almost any search engine. There are a few exceptions to the rule, which we’ll discuss later.

2.1 Common Search Commands

• “ ___ ” – By using double quotes, you’re implying that you want search results that contain that exact phrasing, with no changes to the order of the words.

• ‘ -’ – Using the minus sign (a hyphen, but used differently) omits certain words from the search. However, unlike the hyphen it must be preceded by a space: ‘anti-virus’ will not omit ‘virus’, using ‘anti -virus’ will. This is useful when you know certain words that’ll sway your search in a direction you don’t want it to go.

• ‘*’ – Using the asterisk symbol will tell that you’re looking for additional terms and want to include them in the search. ‘Toyota *’ will yield many different Toyota car and truck models, but just ‘Toyota’ will return the official website and related pages.

• ‘OR’ – By using the OR search command you’re saying that you want to search for one of two phrases, like ‘Toyota OR Nissan’, with the OR in all-caps.

2.2 Additional Google Commands

• ‘In Title:__’ – By putting this before a search terms you’re telling Google to only return pages with the query enclosed in the page title. This narrows down search results which could be regarded as ambiguous. I often find this particularly useful when I’m looking for jobs or products that are hard to come by.

• ‘Site:__’ – By using this command you’ll be returned search results only from the specified website. So if we searched Google for ‘cell phone site:makeuseof.com ‘, making sure there was no gab between the colon and the web address, we’d be limiting the results to relevant articles on MakeUseOf. .

• ‘+’ – Using the plus sign will yield results that definitely include the words after the plus sign. For example ‘Toyota +News’ will yield only news stories about the car manufacturer.

For a complete overview of commands, refer to the Google cheat sheet at the end of this manual.

3. The Major Search Engines

3.1 Google

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Google is undoubtedly the best known and widely used search engine today, so I’m willing to guess that you’ve Googled before. It doesn’t exactly take an Albert Einstein to figure out how to search for basic things like ‘YouTube’ or ‘use cell phone as modem‘. We’ve all been there.

But what about when you want to find something more specific, or want Google to behave in a specific way? Well, for most Google operations there are certain commands you can enter along with your search, ways you can enter said search or criteria that must be fulfilled when using ‘Advanced Search’.

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On the search results page, you can further narrow your search by clicking the link ‘Search Within the Results’ towards the bottom of the page. This enables you to enter another search term and only look for matching results in the existing results.

For more Google goodness, read Varun Kashyap’s article on 10 Firefox Add-ons to Enhance Google Search.

3.2 Microsoft Bing and Yahoo Search

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Since Microsoft Bing bought Yahoo Search in the third quarter of 2009, both search engines now use the same commands and rules on user’s end – even though they index and search the web differently. Most are the same as Google’s in an effort to make users migrate more easily, but some differ.

Basic Rules for Searching With Yahoo! and Bing

The grammar rules as outlined when we looked at Google are all the same. Again, this is in an effort to make your search results better so you can leave out most grammar unless it is crucial to your search. If this is the case it will fall into the ‘Obvious Intent’ category.

The ‘Suggested Search’ function and the ‘Explore Concepts’ feature are quite cool when using Yahoo! – Basically, when you’re entering your search term, previous searches by other users will appear below the text entry box. These are optimized searches and will lead you to better results by clicking on them. The ‘Explore Concepts’ function which appears to the right of the suggestions as seen in the screen shot gives you keywords and searches related to your main search, which may come in handy later or even exactly be what you’re looking for.

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Yahoo also features shortcuts for popular informative searches, such as queries relating to weather, transport, airports etc… They work by simply entering a specific term related to the subject followed by the topic in question. So to find information about an airport simply enter in the airport name or code followed by the term ‘Airport’. For a cheat sheet containing all of these shortcuts click here.

Yahoo site explorer also allows you to explore a specific site with more ease (as opposed to using the ‘site:__’ command). It can be found at https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ (UPDATE: Yahoo Site Explorer has moved to Bing Webmaster Tools). You can see a screenshot below, where I demonstrated the feature with makeuseof.com.

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The Yahoo! Command

Most commands are the same as when searching with Google. There is only one really specific to Yahoo!

• ‘!’ – Use an exclamation mark to skip by the results page and go to the most relevant result. This only works for Yahoo services such as ‘Mail!’ or ‘Games!’ and is similar to the “I’m feeling lucky” feature of Google.

Searching with Microsoft Bing

Bing differs from Google in numerous ways and may suite you better. Some difference include how Bing will show fewer search results if it is certain it understands what you’re searching for. When you hover your mouse over the result you can summon extra information and more pages related to the site.

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While Bing doesn’t have localized sites (all international versions lead back to bing.com) it will automatically detect via your IP where you’re located to provide relevant results for you in the ‘sponsored results’ section. You can also select the option on the homepage to only search pages from your local. You can see in the screenshot above that Bing has detected that I am from Ireland and gives me the option to search Irish websites only.

4. People Searches

4.1 Pipl

Pipl.com is one of the best known people search engines, and one of the most useful. The homepage is minimalistic and asks you for a little information concerning your target, as you can see in the screenshot below.

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There are four main tabs above the search box – ‘Name’, ‘Email’, ‘Username’ and ‘Phone’. There is also a Business function in Beta to search for a company.

Information Used by Pipl

• Name

• City

• State

• County

• Email address

• Phone Number

• Screen Name (usernames for services such as Facebook, Twitter etc…)

• Company name (for business function only).

Pipl located my website, blogs and sites I work for, mentions in articles and my personal profiles on social networking sites. I got good results because I have a strong online presence. For people with a weak online presence or just a poplar name you may have to sift through a lot of results until you find the one you’re looking for (especially if you can’t supply further info, like an e-mail address or phone number).

4.2 Facebook

Searching with Facebook is fairly simple. However, you must be signed in to do so. Using the search box in the top right hand corner will usually provide you some decent results.

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As you can see, there are eight main categories in which the results are organized. This organization is specific to how Facebook is made up: People, Pages, Groups, Apps, Events, Web Pages and posts by people you know.

When searching with Facebook, it’s best not to get too complicated. Keep it simple by only searching for the names of people, groups, organizations and maybe their location.

4.3 LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a kind of professional social network, which many people use to house their portfolios and, indeed, show them off. It’s a great place to find people; especially web workers and people who need an online presence because of their jobs.

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At the top of the page there is a search function which just asks you for the person’s name. Simply type it in and you should find that person if they’re on the network.

The people directory, which you can access by launching a blank search, can be used to skim through first and second degree connections. You’ll soon notice that with a few levels of ‘connections’, you can trace back to almost anyone.

4.4 Addresses.com

Addresses.com is the ultimate directory to find where people and businesses are located. Aside from this feature, they can also find e-mail addresses, phone numbers and zip codes. You can see the search form below as it is shown on the homepage. This allows you to choose who or what you’re looking for.

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The Business Directory turned out to be very good, as was the e-mail lookup feature. I could only successfully locate 1/3 people I searched for, which is still pretty impressive, given the fact that not everyone is going to be listed or has a strong online presence.

The information is found by searching billions of current utility records, court records, county records, change of address records, property records, business records, and any other kind of publicly available records.

The only downside is that you have to pay a small fee for exact information about the person, such as their address. However, I found that by taking the information provided to you about their hometown and relatives could easily be used to locate them yourself via internet searches and contacting people close to them. Nobody is ever far from a LinkedIn user, it would seem!

4.5 WhoCallsMe?

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I thought I’d include WhoCallsMe? as well as well as the reverse phone look-up service supplied by Addresses.com. Basically, this is a database of suspect telemarketers and scammers who have often rang people before.

These numbers eventually become notorious and are submitted to the database for all to be warned. So if you get a suspect call, it may be worth a search.

For localized reverse look-up services (Canada and Europe), I suggest reading Tina’s article on MakeUseOf – 8 Online Tools to Identify the Owner of a Phone Number.

5. Searching for Products and Deals

MakeUseOf just recently published the Ultimate Shopping Guide – a similar manual, but entirely devoted to tackling the various ‘problems’ of shopping – online and offline. Check it out!

If there was ever a place to find great deals, weird products and the odd freebie, it was the Internet. Millions of retailers and businesses come online every year, each more desperate than the last to get their name out there, offering unbelievable prices and special offers. Here I’m going to show you some of the best places to find them.

5.1 Ask.com Deals

Ask.com’s Deals section is the new kid on the block, but unlike its main arm, the actual Ask search engine, it’s really good. Every day thousands of deals and special offers are logged by the service, just waiting to be found by you.

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The engine works by categorizing the products and services it has promotional offers on. The most basic way of finding a bargain using Ask Deals is to search for the product or service on the home page. For example, a search for ‘televisions’ returned the results below.

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There are two tabs near the top. The main one, ‘All Deals and Coupons’ returns every result for the products searched, while ‘Coupons Only’ is useful if you’re looking for money off a certain product. As you can see, there are massive saving to be had – I spotted some of around 60% .

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Along the top of Ask.com’s Deals result page there is a horizontal menu bar for filtering your results, shown in the above screenshot. By clicking on any of the tabs, you refine your search accordingly.

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You can also search for coupon deals near you using the search function to the right side of the results. For example, by entering ‘Groceries’ in London locates printable coupons for supermarkets in the London area.

This is definitely one of the best deal search engines out there. By using their existing searching power they harvest all the web has to offer, with offers ranging from high to low, from big names such as Amazon right down to the little specialized sites and stores.

5.2 RetailMeNot

Another site for finding good deals on products and getting coupons is RetailMeNot. It boasts proudly the fact that its databases stretches over 40,000 stores in almost every western country including the US, UK, France, Holland, Canada and some countries further afield such as India and Australia.

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Firstly, select what you’re looking for from the list of tabs along the top of the screen. Your options are Coupon Codes, Printable Coupons and Grocery Coupons.

When you search for a product using the search bar on the homescreen you’re returned a list of relevant sites. When I searched for iPod I got hundreds of online tech sites which shared coupon codes with the aggregator. Clicking on the site brings up the relevant coupons which can then be used when purchasing from that site or store.

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To see all coupon codes and offers available for one site in particular, simply enter the site’s URL into the search box.

Of course, an alternative way to search for coupons is to click on your country’s national flag in the right sidebar or one of the product ‘tags’ which are listed underneath. This will bring you to a search results page with coupons and codes relevant to your chosen option.

5.3 Price Grabber

Price Grabber is the leading, and one of the best price comparison websites on the internet today.

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When launching a query, a list of products will appear. By clicking ‘Compare Now’ underneath a certain product, a list of retailers and online merchants will appear with their corresponding price and a user satisfaction rating. This rating is a good indication as to whether cheaper services still maintain a good customer satisfaction.

Via the homepage, you can also browse by category, will direct you to a database of comparable products. I found this useful when I was searching for holiday gifts, but wasn’t really too sure what I was looking for. Also worth checking out, ‘Deal of the Day’, features a daily product which has extraordinary savings in comparison to competitors.

Price grabber also offers you your own account. While it’s not much of a community-based website, your account allows you to do a lot of cool things, such as keep lists of potential future buys/comparisons and list your own products if you’re a merchant.

5.4 Google Product Search

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As you may have already guessed, Google Product Search works in the same way as the regular search engine, except that it caters specifically for products. All of the commands are the same as mentioned before. One such command which you may find useful for this particular product search engine is ‘site:’. This allows you to search specific sites like eBay or Amazon. For example, if I wanted to search for books on Amazon.com I’d search for ‘Books site:Amazon.com’

Below is the main search function which is almost identical to the Google Homepage. The popular searches are all listed out along the bottom. These are optimized through repeated testing by users and have proven to return great results, so it’s worth checking those out.

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There is also a ‘Shopping List’ function near the top right hand corner of the screen. This enables you to save products you want to buy so you don’t have to go through the bother of searching for them again.

To do this, find a product you would like to buy. Underneath the listed products there is an ‘Add to Shopping List’ link. Click that to add the product to your list. These are also present on the actual product’s page.

To the left of the screen is a sidebar. There you’ll be able to narrow down the results. One such feature is the price range tool. This allows you to search within a certain price range. The corresponding search command would be “$(price1)…$(price2)”.

So for example, if I was looking for a computer under $400 but over $200 dollars I would search for ‘Computer $200…$400′.

Aside from the few sites mentioned above, you can also do much of your shopping online. For this, many will instantly assume that eBay is the cheapest. However, for many products there are much cheaper alternatives. Check out 13 Websites that are Cheaper Than eBay for more information.

Also be sure to take a look at the Complete MakeUseOf Shopping Guide!

6. Image Searches

Finding the right images online for your blog/site – or just for a new desktop wallpaper can be harrowing. Size, quality, content and copyright all have to be taken into account. Here are three great image search engines – each of which serves a certain purpose.

6.1 Flickr

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Without a doubt, Flickr is your best bet if you want high quality photographs. The images on here will mostly be of a very high resolution and worthy of a desktop wallpaper.

The search function is basic. Just search for a term you want in the picture. However, it’s best to think like a photographer. Searching for the term ‘Ocean’ will return thousands of results all of which will feature the ocean or an artistic interpretation of what an ocean is.

However if you’re looking for a stormy ocean then it’s best to search for just that.

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Tags are probably the main different between Flickr and other image searches – especially because of the amount of emphasis they put on them. Because the title of the images can often be intentionally untrue (that’s artsy types for you) it’s best to include tags in your search, which describes the picture you have in mind. So if you’re looking for a stormy ocean you might include waves, storm, beach, boat and choppy in your tags. To make Flickr search for tags only, select that option next to the search box.

You can also search for different groups and people in Flickr using the tabs seen above the search box. Furthermore, you can choose whether to search through everyone’s uploads or The Commons which is where great photos are uploaded and selected by the community.

To the right of the search box there is the advanced search. This allows you to further narrow your search by searching for tags, by date, by location, by artistic medium and by license (such as creative commons).

6.2 Google Images

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Google Images is – obviously – powered by Google Search. It differs from Flickr in that it offers images from all over the web. I find that the style of images is quite unique on Google Images in that they select images from blogs and popular news sources that may be more relevant to a user needing a picture for a blog post, rather than for their wallpaper.

The basic search works the same as the normal Google however you can tweak your results a bit by using the sidebar

The sidebar, which can be accessed by clicking ‘Show Options’ along the top of the search results will help you narrow down your search results. First, select what size you want the image to be. You can either click on one of the predefined sizes or click ‘Larger than’ and enter in your own specifications.

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Selecting the type will further filter the content of the picture.

The final option is my favorite – it gives you the option to select what color you want your picture to be. You might want a picture of the sea at sunset in a fiery red. So just click red. This really enhances how you search for images that will suite your blog, site or profile.

Again, just like with other search engines, using ‘Advanced Search’ in Google images allows you to specify dates, location and other such variables.

6.3 Google Labs Similar Images

Often we have an image stored on our computer which we need except slightly different. Examples might be the angle, time of day, color or lighting. Well with Google Similar Images, currently still in Google Labs, you can look for ‘similar images’.

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As demonstrated in the screen shot, it’s a great tool to gather ‘more’ visual data on a certain subject. You have an Eiffel Tower picture that’s almost what you’re looking for – launch a Similar Image search, et voila.

6.4 PicItUp

A common problem I run into when creating creative work is gathering images, which goes well with the existing colour scheme. PicItUp allows you to search for images using both text and colour commands.

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Having entered in your subject term (eg. Nature) you can then specify a particular colour. As you can see from the screenshot above, yellow was the colour of choice here. Further options allow you to choose what shape you want your specified colour appear in. These are just basic shapes such as a triangle, square, circle and cross. Then you have your run-of-the mill filters such as size and dimensions.

6.5 Creative Commons Search

CreativeCommons.org hosts a media search engine that allows you to search for content all over the web that has a creative commons license. A creative commons license means you can use the image so long as you’re not directly profiting from it (i.e. Selling it) and you give credit to the photographer/artist where they provide their details.

Click ‘Find’ on the homepage. Along the top of this screen there is their search function where you type in what you want.

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Below there is an inline frame which shows results from different image sources (including Flickr and Google Images), all of which will have a CC license.

Creative commons is an excellent image search engine and it is ideal for bloggers and web masters who need free, high quality images for their sites/publications.

7. Video Searches

7.1 YouTube

The main way to search for videos on YouTube is using the text entry box on the home screen.. The best tip you can be given when searching is this: think like the uploader. What would you title a video?

For example, say you’re looking for a film – let’s say the Blues Brothers.

Typing in ‘The Blues Brothers’ will return theatrical trailers, interviews and fan clips. But typing in ‘The Blues Brothers – Part One’ will lead you the first video in a sequence that make up the whole film. This is because the user is forced to break up the video when uploading and title the individual clips appropriately.

The homepage contains featured videos and clips which have gone viral (i.e. become massively popular). This is good for finding quality content for entertainment purposes when you’re not looking for anything in specific. The star rating are included along side each video.

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As demonstrated in the screenshot above, they also have categories which users select when uploading the video. Use this function if you’re searching for videos in a certain genre such as ‘Comedy’ or ‘How to’.

One thing in particular to watch out for is small mini-series and dramas which have become very well-known on YouTube. Because it’s the biggest video website out there at the minute many wanna-be stars upload great content to the site which could easily make it on to tv, and in some cases have, The main categories to find such content is in Comedy, Drama and People & Blogs.

7.2 Bing Video Search

Bing, with Bing Video Search, is also developing quite the repertoire for its video searching. Similar to Yahoo and Google, it displays thumbnails of videos gathered from various sources such as Youtube and Vreel. You also get various filtering options in the left-hand sidebar such as length, resolution and source.

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By far the coolest feature of Bing’s video search is that when you hover your mouse over the thumbnail in the search results the video starts to play within the thumbnail’s frame along with the sound. This allows you to see if it’s the right video without clicking through. As you can see, the top-left video in the above results is playing with the option to mute the sound.

7.3 Google Video Search

Google also has its own video searching service and it’s a good thing too considering they operate two video services – YouTube and Google Video.

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When you search for something, there are a list of options along the top of the search box. Click ‘video’ to display video results for your keywords. The results, a sample screen-shot of which you can see above, are mostly taken from the popular sites such as YouTube and Metacafe as well as smaller blogs and websites.

Along the top of the results there is a button which reads ‘more options’. Click this to expand a sidebar down the left hand sides. This sidebar enables you to filter your results by length, quality, date source and type (cartoon, sideshow etc…).

We know all too well that video isn’t limited to streaming media, yet this is what sites like YouTube focus on. If you’re looking for downloadable video, you should jump ahead to our next chapter about ‘file searches’.

8. Searching for Files

8.1 CNET’s Download.com (Software)

I think, for reasons I’ll outline below, Download.com (owned by popular tech site cnet) is the best place to look for software to download.

Firstly, they have four main categories, which determine the type of software you’ll download. These are ‘Windows’, ‘Mac’, ‘Mobile’ and ‘Webware’. The first two are for their respective operating systems however the second two interest me the most.

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There is an abundance of apps for all different smart phone platforms such as Android and the iPhone, however they also cater for lower end users by offering hundreds of Java apps which will work on basically any Java enabled cell phone.

The subcategories include ‘Security’, ‘Desktop Enhancements’ and ‘Business Software’. Each individual program has a star rating out of five and normally a review my a member of Cnet staff (if it’s big) or user reviews. You can see a review of ‘Twhirl’ above.

Using the text entry search function only really good for finding a specific program. Browsing by category is best if you need a tool for a job but you’re don’t have one in particular in mine. Best of all, even if you do download a tool that’s not right for the job you can rest assured that it contains no viruses or malware in general as CNET scans all files before making them publicly available.

8.2 BitSnoop (Torrents)

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BitSnoop is a new Torrent search engine that is different from many others because it doesn’t just return optimized content depending on what you search – it only returns results that have been filtered and checked for dead torrents, bad links or missing/wrong content.

The search page is similar to that of Google’s, with options along the bottom that allow you to choose what kind of files you want to download, such as movies, images and others.

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When you search for something, you get really good results that are certain to lead you to the proper content. The results are laid out neatly and there are further search functions on the results page for filtering. See my search for ‘Oasis’ in the screenshot.

Above the search results, you can use the filter links to narrow your results down, depending on things like file size and torrent age.

BitSnoop also keeps two separate pages for their torrents called Fresh Torrents and Popular Torrents so you can check out what’s new, or has been downloaded the most.

BitSnoop can be used alongside any Torrent program such as Vuze or BitTorrent to download movies, TV shows, images, music and software.

8.3 FilesTube

FilesTube is a search engine that has, and continues to index all files hosted on file sharing sites like Rapidshare and MegaUpload. You can use it to search for software, games, movies, and pretty much anything else you’ve got in mind.

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Do note that FilesTube also leads to a lot of copyrighted and illegal files. Although ‘Ubuntu’ links are undoubtedly legit, ‘Photoshop’ and ‘Unreal Tournament’ downloads are of course somewhat more dubious. Exactly what you download, is your own responsibility – but be mindful that this might lead to severe legal consequences.

Other alternative file search facilities include SearchShared and Fileshunt, both of which index thousands of files, programs and the likes.

9. Real-Time Searches

9.1 One Riot

One Riot is pretty much the ultimate real-time search engine for the web. It works by selecting the most popular sites where news often breaks first or people post gossip and happenings from their locale. Some of the sites they index which regularly appear in top position in the search results include Twitter, Digg, ABC News, Google News, Wired.com and hundreds of other popular websites.

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As you can see from the screenshot above, the homepage consists of a large search box followed by a ever changing list of whatever was last indexed by the search engine. For the most part, these are tweets because there are so many of them but many Digg submissions and popular news websites also appear frequently.

How it Works: When a topic receives lots of attention (i.e. numerous tweets, a news story and maybe a blog post) it will be indexed higher for the time that it’s relevant (often just a few hours). After this, it will decline in search ranking as more up to date material becomes available.

For example, searching for Barack Obama will reveal the latest on his speeches, meetings and actions. Further down the list you’ll find previous speeches, events and perhaps even his inauguration.

So if you want to see what’s the latest news on a particular topic or just what’s happening on the web in general, OneRiot is your best bet.

9.2 Twitter

Twitter also has its own designated search engine, which is actually very good. It can be found at search.twitter.com. Its main function is to search Twitter’s trending topics (presently popular subjects). For example, searching for ‘Windows 7′ will return a ton of tweets about the new operating system.

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It can also be used to search for fellow tweeters by simply entering their name. This will return their tweets and tweets where they’re mentioned. This is especially powerful if you know their Twitter username and add an ‘@’ in front of it. If not, their real name should do.

10. Smart Search

10.1 WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha fills a very specific niche – The web is definitely the world’s best resource for archives, information, documents and educational resources. But it’s finding them that can be difficult. And having such information presented to you in a simple yet perfectly logical manner is an even bigger challenge.

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However, with Wolfram Alpha you can find information on pretty much anything you want to. Say for example I search for ‘Weather Ireland December 22nd 1985′. I’ll get the results below.

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The same goes for anything, really. Once you present your task in an objective manner, it should be able to compute it. Entering in a person’s name will tell you current census statistics for that name as well as historical information. Entering a complicated mathematical problem will return a detailed answer with step-by-step actions to solve it.

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This is an excellent tool for students and people compiling reports who need statistics, historical information, science and math answers as well as everyday random facts. All of which can be copied as plain text or downloaded as a PDF.

For more information on Wolfram Alpha, check out Simon’s article on the service on The True Power of the Wolfram Alpha Knowledge Engine.

11. Other Special Search Engines

We’ve covered the most important ones, but there are a lot more specific search engines – almost too many to mention – many owned by other big sites. We’ve listed a few more below for reference, but if you’re looking for more, you can always turn to Google. Yes, I’m very much aware of the irony.

11.1 Blogs

Regator.com

Blog Catalog

Blog Digger

Technorati

11.2 Books

Google Books

Book Finder

Add All

Used Book Search

11.3 eBooks

Scribd

Issuu

docstoc

11.4 Filesharing

RapidShare

FindThatFile

ShareDigger

FileWatcher

11.5 Jobs

Craigslist

Job-Search-Engine

Just Jobs

11.6 Maps

Google Maps

Map Quest

Yahoo Maps

11.7 Music

Deezer

Songza

Yahoo! Music

11.8 Torrents

Torrentz.com

IsoHunt

SumoTorrent

11.9 Video

Vimeo

Veoh

Google Video

11.10 Webshops

eBay

Amazon US / UK

Yahoo Local – For better results from your country.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out all search engine articles on MakeUseOf.

12. Tips To Do Better Searching

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I’d like to end with a few rules of thumb for better searching. Keep the following items in mind while searching for content.

Always keep the search terms broad to start with and then narrow it down if your subject isn’t popular.

Don’t use more terms than necessary – additional (unnecessary) tags may stray the search results.

Think in terms of users. How would you title a blog post or video?

Most search engines also act as converters. So by entering 500g in ounces, a special field towards the top will give you a conversion with search results displayed below. This works for all units such as currency, temperature, weight, length etc…

By searching for a stock symbol (i.e. a code for a particular company on the stock market) you’ll be returned with info relating to that company and its shares.

To tell if a site is indexed by the search engine, just search for the entire URL, including the ‘www’.

Current news stories will always be indexed first – if you’re searching for an old news story enter a date after your search query.

To view archived pages from the internet visit this link

Further Reading

Guide Published: May 2010

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