Google Guide -- Making Searching Even Easier
As a bid to make everyone's online life a little easier, ... Nancy Blachman has put together an excellent and elegant new interactive online Google tutorial.
--TELEDYN :: have blog - will travel ::

Learn to use google more effectively from this awesome fan site.
--Maxpatch: Phil & Moke's Secret Free Place

Think you just type in [terms] and something happens? Nancy Blachman wrote a complete and essential guide for a successful search with Google. Add it directly to your Favorites.
--Kolyom, Israel

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Nancy's Favorite Features

In addition to searching the web, you can use Google to find specific information that is available offline or on specialized sites. In this page I describe how Google works and features that enable me to find more quickly things I want.


Special Searches

Other Features

To learn more about a particular service or feature, click on the title of a section, which links to a more detailed description in Google Guide,, or read How to Do Everything with Google.


Enter a query even if Google's home page isn't in your browser.

Toolbar -

A screen shot of Google's Toolbar

I often access Google from the Toolbar when I use Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP and Internet Explorer 5.0 or a more recent version or from Googlebar when I use Mozilla. For Mac OS X users, Apple's Safari web browser includes Google search and my other favorite Toolbar features.

A screen shot of the Mozilla's Googlebar

My favorite Toolbar features include

Feature What it can do
Search Box Access Google's search technology from your browser toolbar.
Highlight Highlight terms on the current page.
Pop-up Blocker Stop annoying pop-up windows (new in version 2.0 of Toolbar).

Browser Buttons -

I often search using Google browser buttons when I don't have access to a Google Toolbar or Deskbar.

It's easy to install buttons for searching Google

Copyright © 2003 Google Inc. Used with permission.


Google provides shortcuts that seem intuitively obvious once I've learned about them.

Keeping Abreast of the News - News Alerts

Rather than searching Google News every day to find out what's new, I set up Google News Alerts to send me email when news articles of interest to me appear on the web.

Screen shot of Google NewsAlerts.

I've also set up Google Alert, a third-party service available at, to keep up with the latest news about Google, How to Do Everything with Google, and Google Guide. Google Alert is more flexible and returns more results than Google's News Alerts.

Screen shot of Google Alert.

More Relevant Results

When Google was first launched, it returned only pages that matched all your query terms exactly. To increase the number of results, Google now returns pages that match variants of your search terms. For example,

Google search box with [ 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.

Where are your Search Terms on a Page?

When Google returns a link to a page that appears to have little to do with my query, or if I can't find the information I'm seeking on the current version of the page, I look at the cached version.

Screen shot showing cached link in a search result.

Click on the Cached link to view Google's cached version of the page with the query terms highlighted.

On the cached version, Google highlights search terms and indicates terms that appear only on links pointing to the page.

Note: Internet Explorer users may view results or a page with any word(s) highlighted, not just search terms, by using the highlight feature of the Google Toolbar, which I mentioned above.

Screen shot of results pages with terms highlighted.

Google Sets

Google showcases some prototypes and products in development on the Google Labs, the web site of Google's research group.

My favorite prototype is Google Sets.

Enter a few items from a set of things.
Google Sets will try to predict other items in the set.

Enter a few items from a set of things in Google sets. Enter a few items from a set of things in Google sets.

I've used Google sets to find


I never would have imagined that I would be listing Google advertising among my favorite features. I'm both pleased as a user and as an advertiser. Ads have led me to useful information that I might not have otherwise found so easily and my ads have steered thousands of interested users to my Google tutorial for a minimal cost.

Google's approach to ads is similar to its approach to search results: the ads must deliver useful links, or the ads are removed.

You can distinguish ads by their format and the label "Sponsored Link." Ads contain a title, a short description, and a web address (URL).

A screen shot showing how Google's ads are identified and kept separate from search results

Want Power and Control?

Like a race car, there are special features if you want more control over your searches.

When you don't find what you're seeking, consider specifying more precisely what you want by using Google's Advanced Search feature, which

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

You can specify most of the Advanced Search page options in a regular search box query by using advanced operators, i.e., query words that have special meaning to Google.

Want to see examples of advanced operators?

Note: The colon following the operator name is mandatory.

[ head OR hair lice site:edu ]
[ ]
[ allintitle: child safety ]
[ swimming lessons -adult ]
[ wills estate planning filetype:pdf ]

Advanced operators allow more flexibility than the basic operators and the Advanced Search form.

Find a page by its title.

Google search box with [ allintitle: Wear Sunscreen ].  

Find pages whose titles contain the word "security," with the word "e-mail" on the text of the page not on

Google search box with [ intext:e-mail intitle:security].  

Find crime reports in California.

Google News search box with [ location:CA "crime reports" ].  

Find pdf documents with information about financial planning for a child's college education.

Google search box with [ filetype:pdf financial planning college education ].  

Search non-commercial organizations, educational, and government sites.

Google search box with [ OR OR googleguide ].  

Find every page on a site that is included in Google's index.

Google search box with [ googleguide ].  

Learn about techniques used by hackers to exploit targets and find sensitive data and how to defend your own websites in Johnny Long's Google Hacking Mini-Guide.

The Google Guide Advanced Operator Quick Reference ( provides a nice two-page summary of the search operators grouped by type.

There is an alphabetical list of the search operators in the Using Search Operators (Advanced Operators) section of Google Guide.

For tips on using one or more search operators in a query, see the last section in Using Search Operators (Advanced Operators).

Links to Other Useful Information

Click on any of the following links for more on these topics.

Selecting Search Terms
How Google Interprets a Query
Refining a Query
What Appears on the Results Page
Getting to the Last Result
When Google added features (Feature History)
How Google Works

For more features and services as well as how Google works, read Google Guide ( or How to Do Everything with Google.

[Home] [Intro] [Contents] [Print] [Favorites] [Query Input] [Understanding Results] [Special Tools] [Developing a Website] [Appendix]

For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at
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.