For most of us Google is an indispensable search tool that we use every day for all manner of tasks from work or school, research, to looking up movies and celebrities to news and gossip and searching for recipes, hotels… you get the idea! Google is the search engine that most Mac users turn to due to its integration with Safari, Apple’s web browser.
But how do we use Google effectively? The results we get back will only be as good as the information we tell Google to search for, so the secret is to use better search criteria. Hopefully some of the information here will help you get better results in your searching.
If you want Google to exclude a word while searching the web page, use – (minus) before the search to omit articles with the specific word. Searching for ‘pot pie’ yields 27 million hits while ‘pot pie -chicken’ returns only 10 million hits.
Search for keywords with similar meaning. Instead of searching for only the specific word, using ~ before the keyword tells Google to search for webpages with the exact given word or words which have same meaning. ‘computer ~lessons’ returns hits for courses, training and lessons.
Try using OR between two search words. Make sure to use capitals – try it and see the difference between ‘cat or dog’ and ‘cat OR dog’.
Try using quotes. Google searches for keywords with no specific sequence. ‘spring in paris’ gives very different results to “paris in the spring”. Quotes will ensure that the terms are searched in the order specified which makes it useful for finding titles, song lyrics or quotations.
Searching within a specific website. Using the ‘site:’ Try ‘chorizo site:foodnetwork.ca’. This will search for your specific criteria on only one website.
Try searching for a specific file type. As an example, most product manuals are archived as PDF files so if you are looking for the lost manual for your Panasonic plasma TV, searching for ‘panasonic viera filetype:pdf’ should help you locate it.
These tips should help your achieve better results in your internet searches but there is a lot more to Google!
If you type ‘www.google.com’ into your address bar, you will see that you actually get redirected to google.ca. Google is able to determine where you are based on your IP address. This makes local searching much easier as you do not have to specify your location. As an example, if you type ‘italian restaurant’ into the search box you will see a list of restaurants closest to you – complete with reviews, phone numbers and a map. Don’t like Italian food? The try ‘restaurants -italian’… remember the handy – (minus) trick?
Now try typing ‘time’ or ‘weather’ in the search box. Bingo! Local time and weather! Now add a location such as ‘weather hawaii’ or ‘time melbourne’ and you will start to see how powerful and useful Google can be.
You can use the Google search box as your scientific calculator by typing your formula directly into the search box – ‘5*9+(sqrt 10)^3=’ will return 76.6227766017.
Unit conversions are a breeze and will convert most standard units: ‘teaspoons in a cup’ or ‘inches in 100 metres’. Converting currency is no problem – you just need the abbreviations for the currencies you wish to convert. ‘CAD to GBR’ will convert our dollar to British Pounds. ‘USD to EUR’ will convert US dollars to Euros.
Google will also search through recent news articles as well as allowing you to search within a specific date range to allow you to find the most relevant articles. Google is also the best way to search for images online!
Hopefully, these tips will help you to harness the power of Google and will allow you to make better searches and find the information you are searching for much more quickly.
As always, if you have any questions or if you would like any more information, just let me know!