Google Guide -- Making Searching Even Easier
The fact that Nancy has been teaching Internet novices is apparent. She takes nothing for granted, and even includes tips on how to navigate a Web page. More savvy users may skip those sections, however, and focus on the practical examples and exercises. The absolutely best tutorial on how to use all of Google's potential. Easy to use, simple to navigate, this is a little jewel for both the novice and advanced search user.
--Pandia: Search Engine News

While the Google search instruction page is helpful, it's a rather bare bones approach, and your guide fills in the gaps. ... By having this tutorial available, you've saved folks lots of time trying to explain the search process. I'm glad your guide is available now and will recommend it to anyone new to the internet. I wish it had been available 5 years ago when I was a newbie.
--voila-ga, Google Answers Researcher
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Part I: Query Input

Google is easy to use, but the more you know about how it works, its features, its capabilities, and how it displays results, the better it can serve your needs.

In this segment, you will learn how to:

Entering a Query

If you have little or no experience with Google, read on. Otherwise, skip to the next section, titled "Go to the First Result."

If your browser isn't pointing to Google, visit Google's home page by entering one of the following web addresses into your browser:

(When we refer to a web address in this tutorial, we omit the "http://" prefix. For a description of web addresses, see the section "Anatomy of a Web Address."

You may also have a bookmark or favorites entry for Google or a "Google" button on your browser window. No matter how you do it, you should see the Google home page with a search box:

Screen shot of Google's home page

What is a query? It's a request for information from a search engine. A query consists of one or more words, numbers, or phrases that you hope you will find in the search results listings. In Google Guide, I sometimes call a query search terms.

To enter a query, type descriptive words into Google's search box. You can use either the search box on Google's home page (shown above) or the search box that always appears at the top of a Google results page (shown in the next screen shot). And for now, you can also use the search box we've provided. For practice, point to this box, click in it, and type the words [ california driving ]:

  

The previous example isn't just a picture of a search box. Now press the ENTER key or click on the "Google Search" button to view your search results. You'll get the Google results page for a search on the words "california" and "driving." The results include links to pages that match your query as well as relevant snippets (excerpts) with your search terms in boldface.

Feel free to change what's in the search box and run other searches. To come back to this tutorial, click your browser's "back" button (more than once, if needed).

Screen shot of Google search results for "california driving"

The results page is full of information and links, most of which relate to your query. Results Google considers to be most relevant to your query are shown first. To the right of Google's search results appear sponsored links, which are paid advertisements.

The first line in each result is the page title. The title will be underlined, i.e., it's a link to the web page. You can click on the title to view that page. (The URL of the page is shown in green at the start of a line, near the end of the result.) Under the title are often excerpts, called snippets. Snippets include one or more of your query words shown in boldface. In our example, click on the link California Driving — A Survival Guide to view the corresponding California Driving Guide web page.

Your results for a search on "california driving" may be different from this screen shot because Google constantly searches the Web for new pages and adjusts its results algorithms.

Going Directly to the First Result

Click on the I'm Feeling Lucky button on Google's home page to go directly to the first result for your query. Instead of showing you a list of pages, Google sends you immediately to the result that may be most relevant to your query. For example, if you enter the query [ california driving ] (without the square brackets) and click the I'm Feeling Lucky button, Google may send you to the home page of Hamish Reid's wonderful California Driving Guide. (You may see another page if Google's first result has changed by the time you read this tutorial.) Then come back to this Google Guide page by clicking your browser's "back" button.

Google search box with [ california driving ].  

This example isn't just a picture of what a search box and the I'm Feeling Lucky button look like. In this example and in others like it throughout this tutorial, you can edit what's in the search box and run different searches.

Screen shot of the top result from search for "california driving"

The I'm Feeling Lucky button can save you the time it takes to review your results and then click on the first one. Use it when you're confident the page you want is the best fit for your query, which is usually the case when you're seeking very popular pages. For example, it's a safe bet that an I'm Feeling Lucky search for "Paul McCartney" (one of The Beatles) will send you to his home page www.paulmccartney.com.

Note: I'm Feeling Lucky doesn't consider the various sponsored links on the first results page, which are paid advertisements, when deciding where to take you. In other words, the I'm Feeling Lucky button will send you to what Google considers the most relevant result that is not a paid advertisement.

In the Section after the Exercises, we'll look at how to select search terms.

Exercises

These problems give you experience with entering a query. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Point your browser to Google's home page by visiting www.google.com. Find Google tutorials by typing [ google tutorial ] (without the square brackets) into Google's search box and then clicking the "Google Search" button. Click on the link for Google Guide.

  2. After completing the previous exercise, click the back button on your browser twice to return to Google's home page and then search again for [ google tutorial ] (without the square brackets). Click on the I'm Feeling Lucky button.

  3. What is the difference between the results of the previous two exercises?

  4. Point your browser to Boogle's home page by visiting www.boogle.com. In addition to offering the same search capabilities as Google, Boogle includes an interesting quote.

  5. Find recipes for chocolate souffle by typing [ chocolate souffle recipes ] (without the square brackets) into Boogle's search box and then clicking the "Google Search" button.

  6. After completing the previous exercise, go back to the Boogle home page. (If you still have the same window open, use its back button to go back. Otherwise, click on www.boogle.com.) Then search again for [ chocolate souffle recipes ] (without the square brackets). Click on the I'm Feeling Lucky button.

Selecting Search Terms

The search terms you enter and the order in which you enter them affect both the order and pages that appear in your search results. In the examples below, click on the similar ways of specifying various searches and note how the results differ.

For simplicity sake, this tutorial uses square brackets to denote Google's search box. For example, to search for a cheap hotel in Mykonos, I'll put the words "cheap," "hotel," and "Mykonos" in square brackets, [ cheap hotel Mykonos ], to indicate you should type those three words in Google's search box. You should not type the brackets, although Google will ignore them if you do type them.

Furthermore, in the examples that follow, each set of search terms is linked to the results of a Google search on those terms. So clicking on [ cheap Mykonos hotel ] returns the Google results page for a search on those three words.

Use words likely to appear on the pages you want.

[ salary negotiation tips ]
[ sciatica ]
[ window treatments ]

Avoid using a question as a query. For example, the query, [ Does Australia have Target ], instructs Google to find pages containing all the terms. Such a query won't necessarily find pages answering your question. A better query might be [ Australia Target store ].

USE [ Australia Target store ]
NOT [ Does Australia have Target ]

When Google detects very common words such as where, do, I, for, and a, known as stop words, it ignores them so Google may return relevant results. If you're seeking pages that include a stop word, e.g., "how the west was won," learn how to force Google to search for a complete phrase or a specific word in the section Crafting Your Query.

Avoid using words that you might associate with your topic, but you wouldn't expect to find on the designated page(s). For example, queries that include "articles about," "discussion of," "documentation on," and "pages about" are likely to return fewer results since information on the web is rarely labeled with such terms.

USE [ lasik eye surgery ]
NOT [ documentation on lasik eye surgery ]

USE [ jobs product marketing Sunnyvale ]
NOT [ listings of product marketing jobs in Sunnyvale ]

Suppose you want to know how old someone is, such as Nelson Mandela (the former President of South Africa). Pages with "birthday" or "age" might be more than a year old. Searching for pages that include "Nelson Mandela" and "born" are likely to include either "Nelson Mandela born" or "Nelson Mandela was born" followed by his birth date. You can figure out his age from knowing when he was born.

USE [ Nelson Mandela born ]
NOT [ Nelson Mandela birthday ] nor [ Nelson Mandela age ]

Not sure what word or phrase is likely to appear on pages you want? Consider running a word or phrase popularity contest with Google Smackdown, which you can find at www.onfocus.com/googlesmack/down.asp. This third-party application reports which of two terms or phrases Google estimates to be more prevalent on the web (actually on more web pages that Google has included in its index).

Screen shot of Google Smackdown. Screen shot of Google Smackdown results.

Although not as popular according to Google Smackdown, in Google Guide I use "screen shot" because it's in my online dictionary and "screenshot" isn't.

Note: The section How Google Works describes how Google finds web pages and constructs an index.

Be specific: Use more query terms to narrow your results.

It's better to use a more precise, less ambiguous term than a common one to "flesh out the topic by including facets that interest you," notes Ned Fielden in his book Internet Research, Second Edition (McFarland & Company, 2001).

Does your query have enough specific information for Google to determine unambiguously what you're seeking? If your query is too vague, it's unlikely to return relevant results. Consider, for example, the query [ java ]. What do you suppose Google includes in the first page of results? An island in Indonesia? A beverage consisting of an infusion of ground coffee beans? A computer network-oriented platform-independent programming language developed by Sun Microsystems?

USE [ Java Indonesia ], [ java coffee ], or [ java programming language ]
NOT [ java ]

How can you come up with more specific search terms? What do you know about the topic? Consider answers to the questions, who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, and how?

When you search for [ Tom Watson ], on the first page of results you may get references to a member of Parliament, the golfer, the IBM executive, and a Populist Party candidate for President in 1900 and 1904. If you're searching for something that could return many different types of results, you should add a term that distinguishes among them. This way you'll get only results about the specific Tom Watson you're interested in.

USE [ Tom Watson MP ], [ Tom Watson golf ], or [ Tom Watson IBM ]
NOT [ Tom Watson ]

USE [ baby development ] or [ baby milestones ]
NOT [ babies ]

USE [ Betty Ford Center drug addiction ]
NOT [ Ford Center ]

Note: Google limits queries to 32 words.

Be brief.

For best results, use a few precise words. For example, a program on quitting smoking is more likely to include the terms "quit smoking program" than the words "program on quitting tobacco cigarette smoking addiction."

USE [ quit smoking program ]
NOT [ program on quitting tobacco cigarette smoking addiction ]

You don't have to correct your spelling.

There's a good chance that Google will recognize your mistakes and suggest an alternative more common spelling, usually faster than you can look up the term in an online dictionary.

When you enter: [ Anna Kornikova tennis ]
Google responds: Did you mean: Anna Kournikova tennis

Note: Before clicking on Google's suggested spelling, consider whether it's what you want. Spelling checkers, like people, make mistakes.

For more information on Google's spelling correction system, see the section Spelling Corrections.

Note: Even if you use the search tips described in Google Guide, you won't be able to access authoritative information that's available offline, e.g., old reference books, or is stored in specialized databases. For such information is not currently searchable with Google.

Next we'll look at how Google interprets your query.

For more information on the basics of Google search, visit www.google.com/help/basics.html.

Exercises

These problems give you practice in selecting search terms. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Find a page with "Google doodle."

  2. Find the Dilbert cartoon that Scott Adams developed by using Google's logo.

  3. What's Google's history?

  4. Find contact information for your representative(s), e.g., senator, congresswoman (or congressman), or member of Parliament.

  5. How long did it take the first person to cross the United States by car and in what year was it first done?

  6. In the summer of 1997, an email message was widely circulated featuring the text of a "commencement speech" purportedly given by Kurt Vonnegut at MIT. The imaginary speech began "Wear sunscreen." What's the story behind this email hoax? What did this funny well-written fantasy "commencement speech" say?

  7. Learn about the recommended tours of the Hearst Castle.

  8. Find a recipe for lamb with mint sauce.

Interpreting Your Query

Understanding how Google treats your search terms will help you devise effective queries and revise ineffective ones.

Google returns only pages that match all your search terms.

A search for [ compact fold-up bicycle ] finds pages containing the words "compact" and "fold-up" and "bicycle." Because you don't need to include the word AND between your terms, this notation is called an implicit AND.

[ compact fold-up bicycle ]

Because of implicit AND, you can focus your query by adding more terms.

[ compact lightweight fold-up bicycle ]

Note: If you want pages containing any (instead of all) of your search terms, use the OR operator, which is described in the next section Crafting Your Query.

Note: Google sometimes returns pages that don't contain your query terms, as you can see in the example in the Cached Pages section in Part II. Google returns pages in which your query terms are included in the link text (interpreted as a description) to another page or place on the page, more commonly referred to as the anchor text of a link pointing to the page.

Google returns pages that match your search terms exactly.

In his book Internet Research, Second Edition (McFarland & Company, 2001), Ned Fielden notes "Google simply matches strings of characters together and doesn't currently base inferences on uses of the language. Although this searching method has some drawbacks, it harnesses one of the fabulous powers of computers, [the ability] to sift through enormous heaps of data quickly and accurately."

 If you search for ...  Google won't find ...
cheap inexpensive
tv television
effects influences
children kids
car automobile
Calif OR CA California
Note: There are exceptions when Google finds pages that include synonyms of your search terms, which are displayed in a boldface typeface in Google's snippet.
 If you search for ...  Google finds ...
NYC New York City
SF San Francisco
GNP Gross National Product

Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms.

The query [ child bicycle helmet ] finds pages that contain words that are similar to some or all of your search terms, e.g., "child," "children," or "children's," "bicycle," "bicycles," "bicycle's," "bicycling," or "bicyclists," and "helmet" or "helmets." Google calls this feature word variations or automatic stemming. Stemming is a technique to search on the stem or root of a word that can have multiple endings.

If you only want to search for pages that contain some term(s) exactly, precede each such term with a plus sign (+) or enclose more than one term in quotes (" ").

Google doesn't match variants when your query consists of a single term.

Note: When you want synonyms or variants that Google doesn't find, consider using either the OR or tilde operator, which is described in the next section Crafting Your Query.

Google ignores some common words called "stop words," e.g., the, on, where, how, de, la, as well as certain single digits and single letters.

Stop words tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a stop word has been excluded on the results page below the search box.

[ lyrics to the Dixie Chicks' songs ]

Screen shot showing what Google does when it ignores some common words, such as "to" and "the."

Note: Use the + operator or enclose more than one term in quotes (" ") to force Google to include terms it would otherwise ignore. I describe these basic operators and others in the next section, Crafting Your Query.

If your query consists only of common words that Google normally ignores, Google will search for pages that match all the terms.

[ the who ]

Note: Find more pages mentioning the rock band The Who by entering [ "the who" ], a notation you'll learn about in the next section Crafting Your Query.

Google limits queries to 32 words.

Google will indicate in a message below the query box at the top of the page if your query exceeds the 32-word limit. The 32-word limit applies to search terms and operators but not stop words.

The limit was previously 10 words, as shown in the following image.

Screen shot of Google message indicating 10-word limit.

The following query finds sites that have included Google Guide's description of how Google works.

[ "Google consists of three distinct parts, each of which is run on a distributed network of thousands of low-cost computers and can therefore carry out fast parallel processing. Parallel processing is a method of computation in which many calculations can be performed simultaneously, significantly speeding up data processing." ]

Google favors results that have your search terms near each other.

Google considers the proximity of your search terms within a page. So the query [ snake grass ] finds pages about a plant of that name, while [ snake in the grass ] tends to emphasize pages about sneaky people. Although Google ignores the words "in" and "the," (these are stop words), Google gives higher priority to pages in which "snake" and "grass" are separated by two words.

[ snake grass ]
[ snake in the grass ]

Google gives higher priority to pages that have the terms in the same order as in your query.

Consequently, you should enter search terms in the order in which you would expect to find them on the pages you're seeking. A search for [ New York library ] gives priority to pages about New York's libraries. While the query [ new library of York ] gives priority to pages about the new libraries in York.

[ New York library ]
[ new library of York ]

Google is NOT case sensitive; it shows both upper- and lowercase results.

Ignoring case distinctions increases the number of results Google finds. A search for [ Red Cross ] finds pages containing "Red Cross," "red cross," or "RED CROSS."

[ Red Cross ], [ red cross ], and [ RED CROSS ] return the same results.

There is no way to instruct Google to pay attention to case distinctions, e.g., you can't tell Google to find only occurrences of "Red Cross" where the first letter of each word is capitalized.

Note: The words "OR" and "AND" have special meanings if entered in uppercase letters.

Google ignores some punctuation and special characters, including ! ? , . ; [ ] @ / # < > .

Because punctuation is typically not as important as the text around it, Google ignores most punctuation in your search terms. There are exceptions, e.g., C++ and $99. Mathematical symbols, such as /, <, and >, are not ignored by Google's calculator.

Dr. Ruth ] returns the same results as [ Dr Ruth ]

What if you're seeking information that includes punctuation that Google ignores, e.g., an email address? Just enter the whole thing including the punctuation.

info@amazon.com ]

Be aware that web pages sometimes camouflage email addresses to make collecting such information difficult for spammers. For example, on some sites you'll find the @ sign in an email address replaced with the word "at."

Now we'll look at some special characters that Google doesn't ignore.

A term with an apostrophe (single quotes) doesn't match the term without an apostrophe.

A query with the term "we're" returns different results from a query with the term "were."

we're ] matches "we're" but not "were"
were ] matches "were" but not "we're"

Because some people spell hyphenated words with a hyphen and others with a space, Google searches for variations on any hyphenated terms.

When Google encounters a hyphen (-) in a query term, e.g., [ part-time ], it searches for:

[ part-time ] matches "part-time," "part time," and "parttime"
[ part time ] matches "part-time" and "part time", but
[ "part time" ] (with quotes) is better for space-separated words

[ e-mail ] matches "e-mail," "email," and "e mail"
[ email ] matches "email"

Note: Google may search for variations of your query terms that are included in the online dictionary that Google uses.

non profit ] matches "non-profit," "nonprofit," and "non profit"

If you aren't sure whether a word is hyphenated, go ahead and search for it with a hyphen.

The following table summarizes how Google interprets your query.

Search Behaviors  Descriptions
Implicit AND Google returns pages that match all your search terms. Because you don't need to include the logical operator AND between your terms, this notation is called an implicit AND.
Exact Matching Google returns pages that match your search terms exactly.
Word Variation
Automatic Stemming
Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms.
Common-Word Exclusion Google ignores some common words called "stop words," e.g., the, on, where, and how. Stop words tend to slow down searches without improving results.
32-Word Limit Google limits queries to 32 words.
Term Proximity Google gives more priority to pages that have search terms near each other.
Term Order Google gives more priority to pages that have search terms in the same order as the query.
Case Insensitivity Google is case-insensitive; it shows both upper- and lowercase results.
Ignoring Punctuation Google ignores most punctuation and special characters including , . ; ? [ ] ( ) @ / * < >

Next we'll look at how to fine-tune your query.

For more information on the basics of Google search, visit www.google.com/help/basics.html.

Exercises

These problems are intended to help you understand how Google interprets your search terms. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Indicate which queries would match a page containing "GoogleGuide."

    [ guide ]    [ goog ]    [ googleguide ]    [ GoogleGuide ]    [ google ]

  2. What is the usual percentage gratuity (tip) to give in a big city in the United States to a person who provides take-out service, i.e., gives you your orders and accepts payment for the food?

  3. Indicate which words the following queries will find:

    [ year-end ] year-end year end yearend
    [ year end ] year-end year end yearend
    [ yearend ] year-end year end yearend

  4. Which queries would you predict to be most likely to find sites with discounted designer linens?

    [ discounted designer linens ]
    [ discount designer linen ]
    [ designer linen discount ]
    [ linen designer discount ]
    [ linen discounted design ]

  5. With the following queries, is Google doing stemming, i.e., matching variations of the search terms?

    [ color printer ]
    [ color printers ]
    [ color printer OR printers ]

  6. Why doesn't the query [ Be Manual ] include any results about the Be operating system?

Crafting Your Query by using Special Characters

By using special characters and operators, such as +, -, ~, .., OR, and quotation marks, you can fine-tune your search query and increase the accuracy of its results.

To search for a phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order, put them in double quotes.

A query with terms in quotes finds pages containing the exact quoted phrase. For example, [ "Larry Page" ] finds pages containing exactly the phrase "Larry Page." So this query would find pages mentioning Google's co-founder Larry Page, but not pages containing "Larry has a home page," "Larry E. Page," or "Congressional page Larry Smith." The query [ Larry Page ] (without quotes) would find pages containing any of "Larry Page," "Larry has a home page," or "Congressional page Larry Smith."

[ "Larry Page" ]
[ Larry Page ]

A quoted phrase is the most widely used type of special search syntax.

[ "close your eyes and I'll kiss you" ]
[ "what you're looking for is already inside you" Anne Lamott speech ]

Use quotes to enter proper names.

[ "Julia Robinson" ]
[ "Rio de Janeiro" ]

Find recommendations by searching for pages containing lists.

[ "favorite movies" ]
[ "best non-fiction books" ]

Google will search for common words (stop words) included in quotes, which it would otherwise ignore.

USE [ "to be or not to be" ]
NOT [ to be or not to be ]

USE [ "how to change oil" ]
NOT [ how to change oil ]

Google doesn't perform automatic stemming on phrases, i.e., searching for pages that match variants of any of your search terms, which I described in the previous section Interpreting Your Query. For example, if you want to see pages that mention only one favorite book rather than lists of favorite books, enclose your search terms in quotes.

[ "favorite book" ]

Some teachers use quoted phrases to detect plagiarism. They copy a few unique and specific phrases into the Google search box, surround them with quotes, and see if any results are too similar to their student's supposedly original work. Find ways to detect and prevent plagiarism.

[ "ways to detect plagiarism" ]
[ "how to detect plagiarism" ]

You may include more than one quoted string in a query. All quoted query phrases must appear on a result page; the implied AND works on both individual words and quoted phrases. The following search would find pages containing both of the phrases "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham":

[ "The Cat in the Hat" "Green Eggs and Ham"  ]

Note: In the section Using Search Operators, you'll learn how to find a page by specifying its title.

Force Google to include a term by preceding the term with a "+" sign.

To force Google to search for a particular term, put a + sign operator in front of the word in the query. Note that you should not put a space between the + and the word. So, to search for the satirical newspaper The Onion, use [ +The Onion ], not [ + The Onion ].

The + operator is typically used in front of stop words that Google would otherwise ignore or when you want Google to return only those pages that match your search terms exactly. However, the + operator can be used on any term.

Want to learn about Star Wars Episode One? "I" is a stop word and is not included in a search unless you precede it with a + sign.

USE [ Star Wars +I ]
NOT [ Star Wars I ]

Google excludes common words in English and in other languages, such as "la" (which means "the" in Spanish) and "de" (which means "of" in French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese). So if Google ignores a term critical to your search, e.g., LA (common abbreviation for Los Angeles), put a + sign in front of it.

USE [ jobs in central +LA California ]
NOT [ jobs in central LA California ]

The query [ jobs in central LA California ] finds jobs in central California, since the term "LA" is ignored because it's a stop word. Central California is at least a hundred miles (160 km) from central Los Angeles.

Disable automatic stemming, i.e., searching for pages that match variants of your search term(s), by preceding each term that you want to be matched exactly with the + operator. For example, if you want to see only pages mentioning one favorite book rather than lists of favorite books, precede the word "book" by a + sign.

[ favorite +book ]

Google will search for "favourite" as well as "favorite." To prevent this, precede the word "favorite" by a + sign.

[ +favorite +book ]

What if you're looking for a string that contains a "+" sign? Though the character has special meaning, Google gives special attention to very common terms that include it, e.g., C++ (the name of a widely used computer language).

[ C++ ]

Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a "-" sign.

To find pages without a particular term, put a - sign operator in front of the word in the query. The - sign indicates that you want to subtract or exclude pages that contain a specific term. Do not put a space between the - and the word, i.e., use [ dolphins -football ] not [ dolphins  - football ].

So, to search for a twins support group in Minnesota, but not return pages relating to the Minnesota Twins baseball team:

USE [ twins support group Minnesota -baseball ]
NOT [ twins support group Minnesota ]

No pages containing the word "baseball" will be returned by the first query.

Find pages on "salsa" but not the dance nor dance classes.

USE [ salsa -dance -class ]
NOT [ salsa ]

Find synonyms by preceding the term with a ~, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator.

The tilde (~) operator takes the word immediately following it and searches both for that specific word and for the word's synonyms. It also searches for the term with alternative endings. The tilde operator works best when applied to general terms and terms with many synonyms. As with the + and - operators, put the ~ (tilde) next to the word, with no spaces between the ~ and its associated word, i.e., [ ~lightweight laptop ] not [ ~ lightweight laptop ].

Why did Google use tilde? In math, the "~" symbol means "is similar to". The tilde tells Google to search for pages that are synonyms or similar to the term that follows.

~inexpensive ] matches "inexpensive," "cheap," "affordable," and "low cost"
[ ~run ] matches "run," "runner's," "running," as well as "marathon"

Looking for a guide, help, tutorial, or tips on using Google?

google ~guide ]

Interested in food facts as well as nutrition and cooking information?

[ ~food ~facts ]

The tilde operator works best when applied to general terms and terms with many synonyms.

[ ~cockroach ]

If you don't like the synonyms that Google suggests when you use the ~ operator, specify your own synonyms with the OR operator, which I describe next.

Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar).

The OR operator, for which you may also use | (vertical bar), applies to the search terms immediately adjacent to it. The first and second examples will find pages that include either "Tahiti" or "Hawaii" or both terms, but not pages that contain neither "Tahiti" nor "Hawaii." The third and fourth examples will find pages that contain any one, two, or all three of the terms "blouse," "shirt," and "chemise."

[ Tahiti OR Hawaii ]
[ Tahiti | Hawaii ]

[ blouse OR shirt OR chemise ]
[ blouse | shirt | chemise ]

Note: If you write OR with a lowercase "o" or a lowercase "r," Google interprets the word as a search term instead of an operator.

Note: Unlike OR, a | (vertical bar) need not be surrounded by spaces.

[ bicycle|cycle ]

Use quotes (" ") to group compound words and phrases together.

[ filter OR stop "junk email" OR spam ]
[ "New Zealand" OR "Ivory Coast" holiday OR vacation package ]

Specify that results contain numbers in a range by specifying two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces.

For example, specify that you are searching in the price range $250 to $1000 using the number range specification $250..$1000.

recumbent bicycle $250..$1000 ]

Find the year the Russian Revolution took place.

Russian Revolution 1800..2000 ]

This table summarizes how to use the basic search operators, described on this page. You may include any of these operators multiple times in a query.

Notation Find result Example
terms1 terms2 with both term1 and term2 [ carry-on luggage ]
term1 OR term2
term1 | term2
with either term1 or term2 or both [ Tahiti OR Hawaii ]
[ Tahiti | Hawaii ]
+term with term (The + operator is typically used in front of stop words that Google would otherwise ignore or when you want Google to return only pages that match your search terms exactly. However, the + operator can be used on any terms.) [ +i spy ]
-term without term [ twins minnesota -baseball ]
~term with term or one of its synonyms
(currently supported on Web and Directory search)
[ google ~guide ]
number1..number2 with a number in the specified range
annual report 2000..2003 ]
"phrase"  with the exact phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order [ "I have a dream" ]
[ "Rio de Janeiro" ]

Queries that use this special notation may also be entered by using Google's Advanced Search, which we'll look at next.

Exercises

This problem set is designed to give you practice in refining your queries and in using Google's commands with special notation. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Find the Google "cheat sheet" that lists search operators and services.

  2. How long before you go outside should you apply sunscreen?

  3. Find advice on writing a will.

  4. Search for your own name. Does Google find any references to you or a namesake?

    See if there is any difference in your results if you type a period (.) between your names rather than enclosing your name in quotes and if you just enter the opening quote, i.e., compare the results from [ Nancy.Blachman ], [ "Nancy Blachman" ], and [ "Nancy Blachman ].

  5. Find pages on daily life in Afghanistan that do not mention war or the Taliban.

  6. What is the history of the McIntosh Apple (the fruit), not the computer?

  7. Find the terms that Google considers approximately equivalent to the term "cheap."

  8. Find the terms that Google considers approximately equivalent to the term "volunteer."

  9. Find today's weather forecast/condition.

  10. Find recipes for zucchini, also known as courgette in the UK and France.

  11. Find studio apartments for rent in Minneapolis or St. Paul, Minnesota.

  12. Find Iranian restaurants in New Jersey and New York.

  13. Why does the query [ "the who" ] give more priority to results about the rock band The Who than the query [ the who ] but return significantly fewer results?

Sharpening Your Query by using Google's Advanced Search Form

When you don't find what you're seeking, consider specifying more precisely what you want by using Google's Advanced Search feature. Don't be frightened by the name "Advanced Search"; it's easy to use, and it allows you to select or exclude pages with more precision than Google's standard search box. Click on the Advanced Search link at the right of Google's search box.

Screen shot pointing to the Advanced Search link on Google's home page.

or visit www.google.com/advanced_search and fill in the form. The Advanced Search form is automatically filled in with appropriate information from your previous query — if you entered a query just before you clicked on the Advanced Search link. If you searched for a phrase, the phrase appears in the phrase search box. If you restricted your search to a specific site or domain, the domain appears in the domain box.

Screen shot showing the Advanced Search fill-in form.

Filling in the top portion of the Advanced Search form is an easy way to write restricted queries without having to use the " ," +, -, OR notation discussed in the previous section Crafting Your Query.

Advanced Search
Find results
Basic Search
Example
Basic Search
Find results
 with all of the words tap dance ] with all search terms
 with the exact phrase "tap dance" ] with terms in quotes in the specified order only
 without the words tap -dance ]
-tap dance ]
including none of the terms preceded by a -
 with at least one of the words  tap OR ballet ] with at least one of the terms adjacent to OR

Let's look at some examples. If you click on the screen shots in this section, you'll be taken to the results of running the corresponding search.

The next part of the Advanced Search page lets you restrict the types of pages listed in your search results.

Specify more precisely what you want by using the Advanced Search fill-in form.

Next we'll look at each part of the form. If you want to jump ahead to a particular part, though, choose it from this list:

Now a detailed description of each part of the Advanced Search page:

Page-Specific Searches

The Advanced Search form also offers page-specific searches for finding pages similar to a page for which you have a web address (URL) and for finding out what pages link to a particular page.

Unlike the other fields in the Advanced Search form, the page-specific searches can't be combined with other query terms. Consequently each has its own Search button.

You can easily run these page-specific searches from Google's Toolbar, which is described in the section Making Google Easier with Google Tools.

Instead of going to the Advanced Search form, you can search for a web site by entering its address in the search box and Google returns a link to the website, as well as links to:

For example, to find out about the wonderful reference site www.refdesk.com, enter www.refdesk.com into Google's search box.

Google search box with the query [ www.refdesk.com ].  

Screen shot with results from search for [ www.refdesk.com ].

Alerts

Once you've refined your Advanced Search, you can watch for changes in the top 20 results by setting up Google Alerts. Google will find and deliver links to new web pages once a week, once a day, or as soon as Google finds them. Simply copy and paste your advanced search query into the search box on the Google Alerts page.

Google Ultimate Interface

If you want to specify what you're looking for with more precision than Google's Advanced Search form offers, try the Google Ultimate Interface, a third-party application available at www.faganfinder.com/google.html. With the Ultimate Interface you can:

Screen shot of the Google Ultimate Interface.

Michael Fagan developed Google Ultimate Interface when he was a teenager.

If you're not sure of all the types of information that you can search for with Google, check out Soople, www.soople.com/soople_int.php.

Screen shot of Soople, which shows many of the
        different types of searches Google supports.
I describe many of the capabilities included in Soople in Part II: Understanding Search Results and Part III: Special Tools.

Refining a Query

Refining a query means changing or adding to the set of search terms to do a better job of returning the pages you're seeking. Successful researchers frequently enter several queries to find what they're seeking.

The search boxes at the top and bottom of the results page show the query for the current results page. If the query uses special operators that you entered either directly or indirectly through the advanced search form, they will appear in the search box as well. To refine your query, edit what's in the search box and then click the "Google Search" button or hit the ENTER key.

Let's look at a few examples.

The following table presents suggestions to narrow or focus a search, as well as tips for broadening a search that has produced few useful results. Click on a link in the table to be taken to the section in Google Guide that describes features and ways to refine your query.

Too many results? Focus the search by... Too few results? Broaden the search by...
adding a word or phrase removing a word or phrase
specifying the order in which you want words to appear specifying words instead of phrases
using a more specific term using more general terms
identifying ineffective terms and removing them including synonyms or variant word forms or using a more common version of the word's spelling
limiting to a domain or site broadening the domain or searching the entire web
limiting to a date range or including a date removing a date range
limiting where terms occur removing redundant terms or splitting a multi-part query
restricting type of file searching any type of file
limiting pages to a particular language translating your search terms into other languages and searching for the translated terms
limiting pages to a particular country searching the entire web

For a tutorial on how to use Advanced Search, visit www.lib.monash.edu.au/vl/google/goog06.htm.

Anatomy of a Web Address

If you already know how to read a web address or URL (Universal Resource Locator, pronounced "you are ell"), skip this section. Otherwise, consider the hypothetical web address http://www.googleguide.com/searchEngines/google/searchLeader.html (which might list reasons why Google is a search leader). Here's what it all means:

http   transfer protocol (type of information being transferred)
www.googleguide.com    website name, host name
googleguide    second-level domain name
com    top-level domain name
searchEngines    directory name (major category)
google    sub-directory name (sub-category)
searchLeader    file name (a file within the directory)
html    file format

Here's a list of some common top-level domain names. Note that some sites don't follow these conventions:

.edu    educational site (usually a university or college)
.com    commercial business site
.gov    U.S. government/non-military site
.mil    U.S. military sites or agencies
.net    networks, Internet service providers, organizations 
.org    non-profit organizations and others

Because the Internet was created in the United States, "US" was not originally assigned to U.S. domain names; however, it's used to designate American state and local government hosts, including many public schools, and commercial entities, e.g., well.sf.ca.us. The domain .ca represents Canada, unless it's followed by .us, in which case it represents California.

Domain
Codes
  State
.ca.us  California
.nv.us  Nevada
.tx.us  Texas

Other countries have their own two letter codes as the top level of their domain names — although many non-US sites use other top-level domains (such as .com):

Domain
Codes
  Country
.ca    Canada  
.de    Germany  
.dk    Denmark  
.jp    Japan  
.il    Israel  
.uk    United Kingdom  
.za    South Africa  

To limit results to a single site or domain, specify the site name (e.g., www.googleguide.com or googleguide.com) or a top-level domain name (e.g., .com or .edu) in Google's domain selector.

Exercises

This problem set is designed to give you practice with specifying more precisely what you're seeking by using the Advanced Search form. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. What are some home remedies for getting rid of ants?

  2. Find facts about declawing cats.

  3. What is Google's privacy policy? How do I stop my previous queries from appearing when I type in a new search term?

  4. Some movie stars attend Botox parties. What goes on at such parties and why do they attend? Which stars have used Botox?

  5. When was Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio's (NPR) legal affairs correspondent, born, where was she educated, what degrees does she have? Did she attend law school?

  6. When you search Google for a URL, such as www.guardian.co.uk, what links are included with your results?

    What is shown in the search box when you click on the "Find web pages that contain the term "www.guardian.co.uk" link?

  7. What country has the domain code .at?

  8. What country has the domain code .bm?

  9. Run several queries on Soople.

  10. Run several queries simultaneously using Google Blaster.

Using Search Operators (Advanced Operators)

You can use most of the options we discussed in the previous page (the Advanced Search Page options) in a regular search box query. If you're a frequent searcher or a "power searcher," this can save time because you don't need to open the Advanced Search page and fill in various boxes; instead, you can enter the refined query in almost any Google search box. You'll use advanced operators, query words that have special meaning to Google. Since the advanced operators are convenient for searching, Google Guide calls them "search operators."

Note: We recommend that you skip ahead to Part II: Understanding Search Results unless you're an experienced Google user or you want to know how to use Google's advanced operators.

Here are three places you can find examples of search operators.

  1. Visit the Google Guide Advanced Operator Quick Reference and look for special operators of the form operator:value.
  2. Fill in Google's Advanced Search form. Then look at the search box on the results page; you may see that Google has added search operators to your query. For instance, if you fill in the Advanced Search page, asking Google to "find results with all of the words" [ detect plagiarism ] and to "return results where my terms occur: in the title of the page", your results page should look like the one shown here. Notice the "allintitle:" search operator that Google added before your query:

    Results with allintitle: operator
  3. Read through the descriptions below and try the examples.

Here are more examples of search operators. Note: The colon (:) after the operator name is required.

[ Larry Page search engine site:stanford.edu ] restrict results to the stanford.edu site
[ volunteering site:.org ] restrict results to the .org domain
[ related:www.doctorswithoutborders.org ] find similar or related pages
[ link:www.googleguide.org ] which pages link to Google Guide's home page
[ web page evaluation checklist filetype:pdf ] find only pdf files

The following table lists features available on the Advanced Search page that are accessible via search operators.

Advanced Search
Features
Search
Operators
File Format filetype:
Occurrences
      in the title of the page
      in the text of the page
      in the URL of the page
      in the links to the page

allintitle:
allintext:
allinurl:
allinanchor:
Domain site:
Similar related:
Links link:

The following table lists the search operators that work with each Google search service. Click on an operator to jump to its description — or, to read about all of the operators, simply scroll down and read all of this page.

Search Service Search Operators
Web Search allinanchor:, allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, cache:, define:, filetype:, id:, inanchor:, info:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:, inlink:, phonebook:, related:, rphonebook:, site:, stocks:,
Image Search allintitle:, allinurl:, filetype:, inurl:, intitle:, site:
Groups allintext:, allintitle:, author:, group:, insubject:, intext:, intitle:
Directory allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, ext:, filetype:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:
News allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:, location:, source:
Froogle allintext:, allintitle:, store:

The following is an alphabetical list of the search operators. This list includes operators that are not officially supported by Google and not listed in Google's online help. Note that Google may change how undocumented operators work or may eliminate them completely.

Each entry typically includes the syntax, the capabilities, and an example. Some of the search operators won't work as intended if you put a space between the ":" and the subsequent query word. If you don't care to check which search operators require no space after the colon, always place the keyword immediately next to the colon. Many search operators can appear anywhere in your query. In our examples, we place the search operator as far to the right as possible. We do this because the Advanced Search form writes queries in this way. Also, such a convention makes it clearer as to which operators are associated with which terms.

allinanchor:
If you start your query with allinanchor:, Google restricts results to pages containing all query terms you specify in the anchor text on links to the page. For example, [ allinanchor: best museums sydney ] will return only pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the words "best," "museums," and "sydney."

Anchor text is the text on a page that is linked to another web page or a different place on the current page. When you click on anchor text, you will be taken to the page or place on the page to which it is linked. When using allinanchor: in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allinanchor: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

allintext:
If you start your query with allintext:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the text of the page. For example, [ allintext: travel packing list ] will return only pages in which the words "travel," "packing," and "list" appear in the text of the page. This functionality can also be obtained through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

allintitle:
If you start your query with allintitle:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the title. For example, [ allintitle: detect plagiarism ] will return only documents that contain the words "detect" and "plagiarism" in the title. This functionality can also be obtained through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

The title of a webpage is usually displayed at the top of the browser window and in the first line of Google's search results for a page. The author of a website specifies the title of a page with the HTML TITLE element. There's only one title in a webpage. When using allintitle: in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allintitle: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

In Image Search, the operator allintitle: will return images in files whose names contain the terms that you specify.

In Google News, the operator allintitle: will return articles whose titles include the terms you specify.

allinurl:
If you start your query with allinurl:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the URL. For example, [ allinurl: google faq ] will return only documents that contain the words "google" and "faq" in the URL, such as www.google.com/help/faq.html. This functionality can also be obtained through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

In URLs, words are often run together. They need not be run together when you're using allinurl:.

In Google News, the operator allinurl: will return articles whose titles include the terms you specify.

The Uniform Resource Locator, more commonly known as URL, is the address that specifies the location of a file on the Internet. When using allinurl in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allinurl: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.

author:
If you include author: in your query, Google will restrict your Google Groups results to include newsgroup articles by the author you specify. The author can be a full or partial name or email address. For example, [ children author:john author:doe ] or [ children author:doe@someaddress.com ] return articles that contain the word "children" written by John Doe or doe@someaddress.com.

Google will search for exactly what you specify. If your query contains [ author:"John Doe" ] (with quotes), Google won't find articles where the author is specified as "Doe, John."

cache:
The query cache:URL will display Google's cached version of a web page, instead of the current version of the page. For example, [ cache:www.eff.org ] will show Google's cached version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation home page.

Note: Do not put a space between cache: and the URL (web address).

On the cached version of a page, Google will highlight terms in your query that appear after the cache: search operator. For example, [ cache:www.pandemonia.com/flying/ fly diary ] will show Google's cached version of Flight Diary in which Hamish Reid's documents what's involved in learning how to fly with the terms "fly" and "diary" highlighted.

define:
If you start your query with define:, Google shows definitions from pages on the web for the term that follows. This advanced search operator is useful for finding definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms. For example, [ define: blog ] will show definitions for "Blog" (weB LOG).

ext:
This is an undocumented alias for filetype:.

filetype:
If you include filetype:suffix in your query, Google will restrict the results to pages whose names end in suffix. For example, [ web page evaluation checklist filetype:pdf ] will return Adobe Acrobat pdf files that match the terms "web," "page," "evaluation," and "checklist." You can restrict the results to pages whose names end with pdf and doc by using the OR operator, e.g. [  email security filetype:pdf OR filetype:doc ].

When you don't specify a File Format in the Advanced Search Form or the filetype: operator, Google searches a variety of file formats; see the table in the File Type Conversion section.

group:
If you include group: in your query, Google will restrict your Google Groups results to newsgroup articles from certain groups or subareas. For example, [ sleep group:misc.kids.moderated ] will return articles in the group misc.kids.moderated that contain the word "sleep" and [ sleep group:misc.kids ] will return articles in the subarea misc.kids that contain the word "sleep."

id:
This is an undocumented alias for info:.

inanchor:
If you include inanchor: in your query, Google will restrict the results to pages containing the query terms you specify in the anchor text or links to the page. For example, [ restaurants inanchor:gourmet ] will return pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the word "gourmet" and the page contains the word "restaurants."

info:
The query info:URL will present some information about the corresponding web page. For instance, [ info:gothotel.com ] will show information about the national hotel directory GotHotel.com home page. Note: There must be no space between the info: and the web page URL.

This functionality can also be obtained by typing the web page URL directly into a Google search box.

insubject:
If you include insubject: in your query, Google will restrict articles in Google Groups to those that contain the terms you specify in the subject. For example, [ insubject:"falling asleep" ] will return Google Group articles that contain the phrase "falling asleep" in the subject.

Equivalent to intitle:.

intext:
The query intext:term restricts results to documents containing term in the text. For instance, [ Hamish Reid intext:pandemonia ] will return documents that mention the word "pandemonia" in the text, and mention the names "Hamish" and "Reid" anywhere in the document (text or not). Note: There must be no space between the intext: and the following word.

Putting intext: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allintext: at the front of your query, e.g., [ intext:handsome intext:poets ] is the same as [ allintext: handsome poets ].

intitle:
The query intitle:term restricts results to documents containing term in the title. For instance, [ flu shot intitle:help ] will return documents that mention the word "help" in their titles, and mention the words "flu" and "shot" anywhere in the document (title or not). Note: There must be no space between the intitle: and the following word.

Putting intitle: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allintitle: at the front of your query, e.g., [ allintitle: google search ].

inurl:
If you include inurl: in your query, Google will restrict the results to documents containing that word in the URL. For instance, [ inurl:print site:www.googleguide.com] searches for pages on Google Guide in which the URL contains the word "print." It finds pdf files that are in the directory or folder that I named "print" on the Google Guide website. The query [ inurl:healthy eating ] will return documents that mention the words "healthy" in their URL, and mention the word "eating" anywhere in the document. Note: There must be no space between the inurl: and the following word.

Putting inurl: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allinurl: at the front of your query, e.g., [ inurl:healthy inurl:eating ] is the same as [ allinurl: healthy eating ].

In URLs, words are often run together. They need not be run together when you're using inurl:.

link:
The query link:URL shows pages that point to that URL. For example, to find pages that point to Google Guide's home page, enter:

link:www.googleguide.com ]

Note: According to Google's documentation, "you cannot combine a link: search with a regular keyword search."

Also note that when you combine link: with another advanced operator, Google may not return all the pages that match. The following queries should return lots of results, as you can see if you remove the -site: term in each of these queries.

Find links to the Google home page not on Google's own site.

link:www.google.com -site:google.com ]

Find links to the UK Owners Direct home page not on its own site.

link:www.ownersdirect.co.uk -site:ownersdirect.co.uk ]

location:
If you include location: in your query on Google News, only articles from the location you specify will be returned. For example, [ queen location:canada ] will show articles that match the term "queen" from sites in Canada. Two-letter US state abbreviations match individual US states. Two-letter Canadian province abbreviations don't work (at least, not at the time we wrote this page). Some other two-letter abbreviations — such as UK for the United Kingdom — are also available.

movie:
If you include movie: in your query, Google will find movie-related information. For examples, see Google's Blog.

phonebook:
If you start your query with phonebook:, Google shows all U.S. white page listings for the query terms you specify. For example, [ phonebook: Krispy Kreme Mountain View ] will show the phonebook listing of Krispy Kreme donut shops in Mountain View.

related:
The query related:URL will list web pages that are similar to the web page you specify. For instance, [ related:www.consumerreports.org ] will list web pages that are similar to the Consumer Reports home page. Note: Don't include a space between the related: and the web page url. You can also find similar pages from the Similar pages link on Google's main results page, and from the similar selector in the Page-Specific Search area of the Advanced Search page. If you expect to search frequently for similar pages, consider installing a GoogleScout browser button, which scouts for similar pages.

rphonebook:
If you start your query with rphonebook:, Google shows U.S. residential white page listings for the query terms you specify. For example, [ rphonebook: John Doe New York ] will show the phonebook listings for John Doe in New York (city or state). Abbreviations like [ rphonebook: John Doe NY ] generally also work.

site:
If you include site: in your query, Google will restrict your search results to the site or domain you specify. For example, [ admissions site:www.lse.ac.uk ] will show admissions information from London School of Economics' site and [ peace site:gov ] will find pages about peace within the .gov domain. You can specify a domain with or without a period, e.g., either as .gov or gov.

Note: Do not include a space between the "site:" and the domain.

You can use many of the search operators in conjunction with the basic search operators +, -, OR, " ." For example, to find information on Windows security from all sites except Microsoft.com, enter:

windows security -site:microsoft.com  ]

You can also restrict your results to a site or domain through the domains selector on the Advanced Search page.

source:
If you include source: in your query, Google News will restrict your search to articles from the news source with the ID you specify. For example, [ election source:new_york_times ] will return articles with the word "election" that appear in the New York Times.

To find a news source ID, enter a query that includes a term and the name of the publication you're seeking. You can also specify the publication name in the "news source" field in the Advanced News Search form. You'll find the news source ID in the query box, following the source: search operator. For example, let's say you enter the publication name Ha'aretz in the News Source box, then you click the Google Search button. The results page appears, and its search box contains [ peace source:ha_aretz__subscription_ ]. This means that the news source ID is ha_aretz__subscription_. This query will only return articles that include the word "peace" from the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.

stocks:
If you start your query with stocks:, Google will interpret the rest of the query terms as NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, or mutual fund stock ticker symbols, and will open a page showing stock information for the symbols you specify. For instance, [ stocks:brcm brcd ] will show information about Broadcom Corporation and Brocade Communications System.

Note: Specify ticker symbols not company names. If you enter an invalid ticker symbol, you'll be told so and given a link to a page where you can look up a valid ticker symbol. You can also obtain stock information by entering one or more ticker symbols in Google's query box, e.g., [ brcm brcd ] and then clicking on the link "Stock Quotes for BRCM, BRCD" that appears near the top of the results page.

store:
If you include store: in your query, Froogle will restrict your search to the store ID you specify. For example, [ polo shirt store:llbean ] will return listings that match the terms "polo" and "shirt" from the store L. L. Bean.

To find a store ID, enter the name of the store and click on the link "See all results from store." You'll find the store ID in the query box, after the store: search operator.

weather
If you enter a query with the word weather and a city or location name, if Google recognizes the location, the forecast will appear at the top of the results page. Otherwise, your results will usually include links to sites with the weather conditions and forecast for that location.

Since weather is not an advanced operator, there is no need to include a colon after the word. For example, [ weather Sunnyvale CA ] will return the weather for Sunnyvale, California and [ weather 94041 ] will return the weather for the city containing the zip code (US postal code) 94041, which is Mountain View, California.

The Google Guide Advanced Operator Quick Reference (www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html) provides a nice summary of the search operators grouped by type. It includes search operators not yet documented by Google, e.g., allinanchor:, allintext:, author:, ext:, group:, id:, insubject:, intext:, intitle:, location:, phonebook:, source:, and store:. Be forewarned that Google may change how undocumented operators work or eliminate them completely.

Using More than One Search Operator

You may use many of the basic operators and search operators with each other. However, there are some that must be used by themselves and others that you should be careful about using together.

Exercises

This problem set is designed to give you experiences with search operators and practice with specifying more precisely what you're seeking by using the Advanced Search form. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Use the site: operator to search for armchairs on IKEA's site, www.ikea.com.

  2. Use the Advanced Search form to find the page whose title is "Some Ways to Detect Plagiarism." When the title is entered in lowercase letters, the query box on the results page contains [allintitle:  "ways to detect plagiarism" ].

  3. Find all pages on google.com but not on answers.google.com nor on directory.google.com whose titles include the words "FAQ" or "help."

  4. Use the link: operator to see who links to googleguide.com, your company's website, or your favorite website.

  5. Find pages whose titles include surfing that are not about surfing the World Wide Web.

  6. Find out where the upcoming international conference on AIDS is being held.

  7. How can you search for [ google help ] on Google Guide, www.googleguide.com, and on the UC Berkeley library website, www.lib.berkeley.edu?

This page was last modified on Tuesday November 28, 2006.


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Creative
		Commons  
Google
 
Web classic.googleguide.com
For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com.
By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy
& create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.