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Google has now become such an ingrained part of our daily lives that we just take it for granted, turning to it for everything from recipes to directions.
For the most part, it’s pretty good at answering our queries with a simple search, certainly on the more popular topics.
But did you know there are lots of ways to make your Google-using experience even better?
Turn yourself into a true Google power user with these 11 advanced searches — then check out an awesome pro tip at the end! This will make sure you never have to recall these searches and yet will always have them at your fingertips.
1. Exclude Words
It’s really annoying when you’re trying to search for a term that has lots of meanings or lots of different references.
Take “Gouda” as an example. It’s a globally renowned Dutch cheese, but also the name of a Dutch city. Simply entering the term into Google will give you a lot of cheese references, but not much else.
If you want to research the city, you need to remove all cheese-based from your list.
To do that, enter a – in front of the word you want to exclude (in the example below, I also entered “-kaas” to remove Dutch-language references of the cheese).
2. Search a Specific Site
If you’re trying to find a specific word, reference, or article on a certain site, this is the search for you.
For example, perhaps you want to search for MakeUseOf for articles explicitly about Spotify playlists.
Just enter the site address followed by a colon, and then the term you want.
3. Site Discovery
Stumbling across new sites and content is what makes the Internet amazing. There is so much stuff out there that it’s impossible to know about it all.
That’s where the “related” function comes in. Type related: followed by the site’s address, and you will be given a list of sites that have a similar raison d’etre.
This feature extends beyond simple content discovery; it can be used to find new shops, new hobbies, and new inspirations.
4. Find Local News
Google News has become a really good news aggregator, but it lacks some finesse when it comes to hyper-local news – its algorithms seem to break down at a certain point.
In this example, I want to find news and information about dog rescue centers in La Paz, Mexico (my hometown).
All I need to do is enter “dog rescue location:la paz mexico”, and I’ll be shown the results.
5. Find External Links
This one can be really useful to see which pages are linking to other pages.
If you run your own blog it’s a great way to look at who is reading your site and where your readers are coming from, while it could also help you follow a trail if you’re doing in-depth research around a particular subject.
Are you struggling to recall a song lyric that’s on the tip of your tongue? Perhaps you can’t remember that well-known saying?
Google can help – just use an asterisk as blank wildcard in the middle of your search term.
7. Find Exact Phrases
This is arguably the most well-known “power search”, but it still merits a place on this list.
It’s great for pulling less discoverable content to the surface if you’re looking for a very specific phrase.
Let’s say you have an issue with your laptop screen. Searching for “laptop screen too dim” and ““laptop screen too dim“” will bring up entirely different results, and might help you solve your problem more quickly.
8. Search for Filetype
Depending on your job, this could be a really useful search. For example, if you regularly need to cite PDF documents, this term will let you search for documents with a specific title.
You could also search for any number of other common file types, including .exe, .jpeg, and .mp3.
To run the search, just enter your search term followed by filetype:pdf or filetype:exe, etc.
9. Find a Number Range
This is a great one for shopping.
Let’s say you want a new laptop, but don’t want to spend less than $300 or more than $600. You can just enter your search term with your price range separated by two dots, like this: laptop $300..$600.
It’s not always 100 percent reliable in terms of results, but it’s sure to toss a few ideas your way.
10. Run Multiple Searches at Once
This is an awesome timesaver if you want to investigate multiple things that are related but which will give you different results.
For example, perhaps you want to research about all the different digital office suites, but want all the results in one easy to follow page.
All you need to do is split each query by an OR. For example, “Microsoft Office OR OpenOffice OR Apple Productivity Apps OR LibreOffice OR Google Docs”.
11. Atari Breakout
After ten draining and complicated search terms, it’s time to kick back and relax with a game.
Google are well-known for their various Easter Eggs, and Google Search is full of them. One of the best is the 1976 classic arcade game Atari Breakout. Just enter “Atari Breakout” into the image search, and the game will load within a couple of seconds.
Pro Tip: Create a Saved Search with a Keyword Prompt
One last thing that can make you really stand out as a power user is to bookmark some of your most-used searches with keywords, thus allowing for quick and easy access in the future.
Think of all the above Google searches and consider which ones would supercharge your workflow if you could access them quickly in your browser. Then use the following instructions to set up keyword searches in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
For these examples, I’ll use the search for local news as this is surely one you’ll want to set up! To set up different Google searches as keyword searches, use the URL from your search results in place of this one.
On Google Chrome:
Firstly, you need to right-click on the omnibox and choose Edit search engines…
You’ll be presented with a list of all your most used search engines. Enter the following URL string in the space provided and choose a sort keyword to activate it with:
Replace “[INSERT CITY]” with the town or city that you want to search within. The “%s” is the place-holder for your search term.
Save your changes, and then simply type your keyword into the omnibox to activate your saved search.
Before you can do anything you’ll need to add the site you want to search as a bookmark. In this case, bookmark your localized Google News homepage (i.e. that search for your local news as above).
Once that’s done, navigate to the Bookmark Manager by pressing Ctrl + B. Select the bookmark you want to add the keyword for, and expand its options by clicking More.
Paste http://www.google.com/search?q=google+news&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=nws&q=location:[INSERT CITY]+%s into the space next to Location, taking care to replace [INSERT CITY] with your location of choice. Make sure you give the search a short and memorable keyword.
To use the command, just type your keyword followed by your search query in the address bar.
Your Most Powerful Searches?
Which of the Google power searches above do you find most useful? Are there any you use regularly? What have you saved as a search or bookmark in your browser? Perhaps you’ve come up with a few that didn’t make our list!
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. You can get in touch via the comments section below.