It’s been a while since Google became our best friend, helping us find whatever knowledge we crave for – from easy pancake recipes to the deepest philosophies and scientific theories about life. It seems that Google indeed has the answer for everything nowadays.
But how many times have you managed to find that one page you were looking for in an instant? Sometimes finding what you are looking for means hours of searching and sifting through the result pages.
This is why we have explored some of the search utilities Google has in store for us. These will help you find anything directly on the first page and you will be able to get to the precious information you are looking for in a couple of clicks.
- Was it this or that?
When every information is in your reach, sometimes you may get confused or be unsure whether you’ve correctly remembered the information or name you want to start your search with. In other cases, you may want to see all documents that contain either “this” or “that”.
Solution: Simply write the potential variants of what you are looking for and separate them with “OR”. You can also replace “OR” with “|”. The second one has worked better for me.
This way you will get results of all documents containing either the first or the second word. Seeing the options will help you to choose the result that is more useful for you.
NOTE: It’s important to use “OR” in caps, or Google will ignore your request.
e.g. Jennifer Lawrence OR Aniston
- Search with the power of synonyms
If you want to research more in a particular field, use the power of synonyms and you will get more results with the topic you are aiming to, instead of just those specific words you can think of.
Solution: To find websites that write on a specific subjects, and not only those that include a specific phrase, add the “~” symbol to your search. This way Google will search for both the word you’ve typed and its synonyms.
e.g. healthy ~dinner
3. Search within a single website
Sometimes you just want to revisit an interesting article you’ve read on a website or search for a particular information in a particular website. Instead of writing all those keywords you’ve been thinking of and scrolling down to find that particular website that contains them, you can try it the easier way.
Solution: Use the “site:” option Google has to offer. After typing site:, add the website you have in mind without spaces and then the information you are looking for separated by a space.
e.g. site:curiousmindmagazine.com psychology
You don’t need to use the http:// or https:// portion of the website, but it doesn’t do any harm if you do.
You can also extend your search to include all .gov or .edu (or any other) sites.
Simply type, for example, curiousmindmagazine.com psychology
- Dear asterisk, I can’t remember the word.
Sometimes you may want to find a phrase you’ve heard somewhere but you can’t seem to recall a word of it. Don’t worry, being anxious about it won’t help – the asterisk will.
Solution: Replace the missing word or item with an asterisk. This way Google will find it for you.
e.g. The 22.11*
- Lots of words missing?
An asterisk won’t help if lots of words are missing in the phrase you are looking for. Google has this solved too!
Solution: Simply write whatever you can think of and put (note all caps) AROUND(the number of words missing) where the words are missing.
e.g. Lines composed AROUND(4) Abbey
- Search within a number range
Do you want to see all the fashion icons from 1960s to 2000s? Or maybe you are looking to buy a new laptop costing from $200 to $400? Whether it’s within a particular year or money range (or any numeric range, really), instead of browsing and scrolling to find what you need, you can write the range you are looking for and you will get your results instantly.
Solution: Just write whatever you are looking for and add the range in this way: 1960…2000, or $200…$400.
e.g. laptop $200…$400
- Search for website titles
What I personally love about Google is the option to search for words within titles, instead of content within pages. This is very useful if you want to read articles that are particularly written about that topic (as you know, otherwise the word may pop up in texts that are not so relevant to the word itself).
Solution: Use the command “intitle:” and (without adding a space) write the word you are looking for. If you want to find a title containing more words of your interest, use the command “allintitle:”, just to be on the safe side.
- Find similar websites
Have you found an interesting site and want to see similar sites like it?
Solution: Write “related:” and add the website after it without spaces.
- Find the exact phrase
Google searches using keywords, which means that if you write a phrase, Google will tear it word by word and search for everything containing those words. This may come as a problem in many cases. So what to do?
Solution: Write the phrase in quotes. This way (even if the phrase is incomplete), you will get the exact order of the words in results – which is very convenient.
e.g. “The ides of March”
You can also combine this with many other search tricks, such as: “The * of March” and many others.
- I don’t need this word
Sometimes you may want to browse Google and exclude a word from the search results. It has often happened to me to browse for books and get the “buy” option in the first search results, which I didn’t need.