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Although you may use Google every day, you might be missing out on
some of the tricks to strengthen your search muscles. Upgrade your web
searches with these valuable tips:
Even with Microsoft’s Bing search engine grabbing
some market share, Google is still the huge leader for web searches. Although
you may use Google every day, you might be missing out on some of the tricks to
strengthen your search muscles. In this first of a two-part series, explore ten
tips and tricks to make the most of your Google searches.
1. Install the Google Toolbar
www.google.com or searching for the bookmark every time you want to start a
Google search. Simply download the free Google toolbar at
www.google.com/toolbar to install the toolbar into your browser window. The
time-saving additions include a search box, a pop-up blocker (Internet Explorer
only), and an AutoFill utility as well as other toolbar buttons you can add. My
favorite new feature is the Google new tab page and most visited websites. With
the Google toolbar installed, when you open a new browser tab, Google’s tab page
displays links to up to nine websites you visit most, nine recent browser or
Google bookmarks, and up to three recently closed (in the past five minutes)
2. Quick Definitions
Not sure about the definition of a word? Get any word or
phrase defined instantly. Just type your request into the Google search box (on
the toolbar or website) using this format:
term such as define:productivity or define productivity
3. Track Down Content in a Website
Even if a site includes an internal search tool, you still
might not find what you are looking for. Searching for a key contact in a
company? Tracking down a resource such as a user manual or how-to guide? Try
this tip to search for a specific term or phrase within a particular website:
url “search term” such as site:cobizmag.com “customer service”
This Google search trick also works if you enter the search
phrase first, for example, “customer service” site:cobizmag.com. I use
this search technique frequently to register my business as a Certified Women’s
Business Enterprise (WBE). Most large corporations maintain a supplier database
of certified women-owned and minority-owned businesses but these web pages are
sometimes tough to find from the home page of the corporate website. If a link
is not easy to find in the site, I just run a Google search like site:ibm.com
“supplier diversity”. (By the way, links for the supplier diversity program
are actually very easy to find from the IBM website used in this example.)
4. Search Web Page Titles
Looking for web pages containing a very specific search
term or phrase? Try this trick to search for a term in the web page title which
typically contains top key words:
You can relax this search if the results are too narrow by
removing the quotation marks around the phrase.
5. Search Web Addresses
For a variation of the trick above, search for a word or
phrase in the URL of web pages (not just the home page). Just enter:
Once again, remove the quote marks to open up the search
6. A Wildcard Twist
Look for a wildcard search using this format:
Don’t be surprised, however, if you get millions or even
billions of search results. You’ll likely need to narrow results by adding other
search qualifiers, for instance, chocolate * cake –zucchini which removes
zucchini from the search.
7. What Time is It?
Want to know the time anywhere in the world? Try entering a
or time London
You can, of course, type any other place name instead of
London; your search is not case sensitive.
8. Quick Math
If your calculator isn’t handy, use Google’s built-in
calculator function. Simply enter the calculation you’d like completed into the
search box. For example, 12345*67.89, which works with or without spaces
around the mathematical operators. Much more complex calculations work too.
9. Trends for Public Data
To see trends for population and unemployment rates of U.S.
states and counties, type “population” or “unemployment rate”
followed by a state or county. You can then click through to a page that lets
you compare different locations. For example:
or unemployment rate arizona
10. What’s the Weather Outside?
To see the weather for many U.S. and worldwide cities, type
“weather” followed by the city and state, U.S. zip code, or city and
country. Some examples (capitalization and punctuation not required):
Hopefully, you’ve seen there’s a lot more you can do with
Google to expand your knowledge.
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
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