About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 10, 2012

Search Tips for Google, Part 2

Thanks for your emails this week about all of the Google search tips from last week.  Since I was asked to give out some more I guess this is part deux. 

When I was a lad in school (way back in the last century) I would have been so happy to have been able to come home to a computer with Google…especially when I had Algebra homework.  OK, confession time… that was literary license since I really enjoyed math and liked to struggle through some of it.  But for those of you who did not (or do not) like it, there is 

See this largerGoogle can calculate from simple to fairly advanced math for you.  Try entering "2+4+8=" and search.  You will get the answer, which I hope is 14.  How about something a little more advanced?  Try something like this, "(sqrt 5)^5+91*6.3=".  Yes, the square root of five to the fifth power plus ninety-one times six point three.  Of course, we all need to perform calculations like this on occasion, but you can also calculate things in between the two aforementioned levels of difficulty.

Now here is help in the area where I fail miserably, conversions.  Google can convert numbers between huge varieties of units.  Try, "80 hectares to square yards," or "80 pounds to dollars," or "80 dollars to pounds."  The list goes on-and-on.

Would you like to find a new musical group which reminds you of another group or recording artist?  Try, "reminds me of The Beatles" and you may be surprised.

How about finding an address on a map?  Try typing, "map Panera 22801" or just "map" and any address.  You can imagine what you will get in the search.

What if you are looking for particular word/words on a specific website?  Google makes it easy by entering the words followed by the site like this; "applications will automatically site:"  This will show you pages from the Double Clicks site containing the words, "applications will automatically."  One tip on this last one, it may locate many links but usually only the first one or two are accurate. 

bananas OR applesSome general tips are that Google’s main search combines search terms with the Boolean use of "AND." If you enter bananas apples – it looks for bananas AND apples appearing together in the resulting pages.  If you want to find bananas or apples…you guessed it, type, "bananas OR apples."  Keep in mind that the AND/OR must be capitalized or Google considers them part of the search text.

If you are looking for a specific phrase put it in quotes, "bananas and apples are rich in".  That way you can find out what they are rich in.  Also, you must use the quotation marks on phrasal searches but not on any of the others given here. 

OK, the last one for today is that you can use a "wildcard" in Google searches.  "US income * increase * reduce," will give you searches related to US incomes, why they increase and what also may have caused them to be reduced.  Note: the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.

There are many other ways to use Google search.  If you want to find them out try, "How to use Google," which should be obvious.  In a few weeks maybe you will find this article online.

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