Grokking Google

I worked on a presentation for the guys that I work with on how they could use the web to work smarter, in amongst this was research on all the different things that you could do with the Google search box. However, if there is any things that you know of that I have missed here, then feel free to add them in the comments box.

Here’s a summary posting of the stuff here for your convenience:

  • An exact phrase should be searched for by putting it in quote marks“” for instance: “Ged Carroll”
  • You can exclude terms using a minus sign – here’s one we created earlier: “Ged Carroll” -Yahoo
  • If you have a search term that could be done in a number of different ways, for instance looking for a film, maybe also be a movie or a motion picture. So searching for similar words can be done using a tilde sign ~, using the example of films again:  ~movie gives cinema showtimes and DVDs in the first SERP (search engine results page)
  • Rather than doing two separate searches, you can look for either or. Here is one I prepared earlier: “Ged Carroll” or “renaissance chambara”
  • If you want to restrict search to materials from particular years (like press releases) then a number range search signified by three full-stops … comes in handy, here’s a demonstration: “Ged Carroll” 2006…2008
  • Google replaces having a reference library on a book shelf that people use to have (I still do, there is a large wooden bookcase full of reference books, style guides and specialist dictionaries  behind me in my home office / living room), so in order to get a definition use define: if you are feeling adventurous then you can try to find a working definition for PR – define:PR
  • If you know the site that the materials should be on, but you can’t find them (like a technical support information). With this in mind site specific search comes in handy via site: for example –  site:microsoft.com “Office 2008”
  • Rather than looking at information on a website, it is often handy to find which sites already link into a site of interest. The link: command allows you to do this – link:renaissancechambara.jp
  • Narrow a search term by looking for a file type. For instance if you are looking for a presentation, why not look for a PowerPoint file or for a report why not narrow things down by looking for a PDF using the filetype:pdf command  for example looking for the classic open source essay penned by Eric Raymond : “cathedral and the bazaar” filetype:pdf
  • Find out about a company’s stock price by putting in the stock ticker symbol, here’s one I pulled together to follow the continuing decline of Yahoo! Inc.’s current decline under the influence of Mr Carl Icahn: YHOO
  • Finding out the location of STD code by searching for the number, for instance 01295

You don’t need to have a desk calculator any more as the Google search box will take care of your calculating needs: