If you’re like most internet users, Google is your portal to the wild frontiers of the web. Much like a navigator, Google helps us wade through these uncharted waters — keeping us within the boundaries of its curated search results. Whether you’re looking for websites, images, videos, or shopping deals, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for if you spend enough time at it.
Sometimes, though, your basic search inquiries may not be enough. Since Google isn’t conscious, sometimes it can ignore the context of what you’re looking for and potentially send you on a wild goose chase.
You might also need to perform specific tasks that take you away from Google’s safe embrace into parts unknown. With a search engine this powerful behind the whole website, why can Google feel so limited at times?
As it turns out, there’s much more to Google than meets the eye — and the platform doesn’t exactly give beginners an instruction manual. Google can be harnessed for a variety of purposes besides search. And even for that, there’s a range of cool tricks you can use to narrow your results even further. You won’t believe just how many features that search bar is capable of.
Get more options on your Google search results page
Do you find yourself frustrated when you reach the end of your first results page? After all, all the best stuff is on page one, and going through other pages can feel tedious at times. Thankfully, Google gives users the ability to get more results on a single results page.
Simply click Settings underneath the right-hand side of the search bar on your results page, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can adjust the number of results you see. Move the slider in the direction you want, but note that the more results you select per page, the slower Google will appear to run.
Search verbatim for more refined results
Sometimes Google doesn’t exactly “get it” when it comes to your search terms. The search engine tends to rely on context, after all. If you want more literal search results, all you’ll need to do is activate Verbatim searches.
This makes it that all search results must have your search terms included exactly as they appear. To activate Verbatim searches, simply click Tools on your results page, then hover over All results and click to select the Verbatim option. Alternatively, you can also type your search terms in quotation marks for the same effect (“like this”).
Remove old searches from your search history
We’ve gone over how to remove your Google search history previously, but the company has made it even easier to remove specific searches from your history (so you don’t end up with weird advertisements or irrelevant results on future searches).
To make the change, simply click or tap this link to visit Google’s Delete activity page. When you follow Google’s instructions and click the Try it link, you’ll be able to search for specific topics and delete them by clicking the three dots symbol. Now you’ll have cleaner results and more relevant ads when you browse!
Search for books, news, and movies
Google knows how much the internet loves media, so it’s curated specific search topics to bring you more relevant results about what you’re looking up.
Take Books and News, for example. Right under the search bar (if you don’t already see Books), you can click the menu item that says more to search among books and news articles specifically — much like you would with an image search. This prevents you from seeing results that aren’t related to what you’re looking for.
Related: Get a copy of all the data that Google has on you
As for movies, Google handles its searches without any extra work on your part. Simply type in the name of a movie and you’ll be greeted with cast info, links to Wikipedia, and even showtimes and tickets if it’s a movie that’s still in theaters!
Plot directions right from your Google search bar
You’re probably already familiar with Google Maps, but did you know you can get directions without even needing to open Maps itself? All you need to do is type in “directions to [destination] from [location]” and the search engine results will take care of the rest. You can even switch between car, public transportation, and walking directions if you choose to.
Instantly translate in your search bar
Did you know Google speaks multiple languages? I’m not talking about switching the language of your search results, either!
You can have the Google search bar translate text from nearly any language by simply typing Translate [phrase] into [language of choice]. This is extremely handy in case you come across an unfamiliar bit of language on social media, or want to send a greeting to a friend in a foreign language.
Search within specific websites (including Komando.com!)
This is one of the handiest features that Google offers. Sometimes, you want to find something specific on a certain website — but let’s say it doesn’t have a search feature of its own. Wouldn’t it be convenient if every website had its own Google search bar?
Well, nearly every website that isn’t on the dark web can be searched via site-specific searches (even our very own Komando.com!) Simply add site:[website] to the beginning of the search, and you’ll easily narrow down your results from the world wide web into just what you’re looking for. Happy hunting!