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Tech tips

Google search tricks: 7 simple ways to find what you’re looking for

Let’s say you’re out and about and see something that piques your interest — a flower, animal, article of clothing, car — how can you find out more about it? Rather than typing searches and hoping to hit the right results, there’s a trick that instantly finds what you’re looking for. Here’s how it works.

Google is the world’s most popular search engine. Indeed, “Google it” has become part of our lexicon. But that’s not always so straightforward, is it?

No matter how long you’ve been using Google, there are better ways to find what you’re looking for that you may not be aware of. Here are a few ways to get more out of Google search.

1. Search a specific site

Most websites have a search bar, but they’re usually not the most reliable tools. You may find too many results or none at all. The thing is, you can harness the power of Google search to look through any website for a search term.

Go to the search bar and use this formula: site:[website] [search term]. This is a handy shortcut to finding specific content on a particular site.

  • Try this: Type iPhone 14 to get information from on Apple’s latest flagship phone.
  • Here’s something for sports fans. Look up your favorite players and teams on the official organization and league sites: stephen curry, pittsburgh penguins, jerry rice. This is a great way to look up stats, rosters and schedules.

2. Search educational institutions

If you’re doing scholarly research and want to search legitimate educational websites, use the following formula in the search bar: site:edu [search term].

  • For example. site:edu chatgpt will only show you results for the chatbot from sites that end in .edu, which is reserved for organizations with a focus on education.

Have a particular institution in mind? Use the formula site:[institution website] [search term].

  • Here’s an example: cancer will bring up cancer resources from the Johns Hopkins University domain.

BONUS TIP: Need to cram for an exam or want to know what to expect for the midterm? Here’s a way to look up examples: site:edu [subject +exam/quiz].

  • Let’s say you’re studying physics. Plug in site:edu physics exam or site:edu physics quiz to get sample exams and quizzes from various educational sites.

PRIVACY TIP: Check your Google account now to see if you’re handing over too much info

3. Use quotes for more exact search terms

Quotes are the best way to narrow your Google search and cut out results you don’t need. When searching for something specific, use quotes in your search parameters to tell Google to search for the entire phrase.

  • For example, if you search for red ugly sweater, you’ll get results containing those words in any order. But search for “red ugly sweater” (notice the quotes) and you’ll find results with those words in that exact order.
  • Combine this trick with the first one we went over to search for a specific phrase on any website: “android security settings”.

4. Boolean operators are your friends

Boolean operators are simple words (AND, OR, NOT) used to combine or exclude keywords in a search. Note that the operators are case-sensitive and must be written in capital letters.

Use AND to get search results that contain two or more keywords:

  • Italy AND renaissance AND art.
  • best AND college AND towns.

Use OR to get search results for at least one of your keywords:

  • car OR automobile.
  • violet OR purple shirt.

Use NOT to get search results containing the first of your keywords but not the second:

  • shoes NOT boots.
  • dessert recipes NOT chocolate.

RELATED: The hidden Google productivity tool you should be using

5. Leave out search terms with a minus (-) symbol

Use the minus () symbol to exclude the terms you don’t want:

  • DSLR cameras -canon.
  • artificial intelligence chatbots -chatgpt.

6. Some useful shortcuts

Want to know what time it is in another state? How about the temperature in another country? The length of just about anything? What does this word mean? Just type in exactly what you’re looking for:

  • Texas time.
  • Barcelona temperature.
  • blue whale length.
  • define incumbent.

7. Search specific time frames

The internet is an endless source of news and updates that changes from one hour to the next. You can search for information within a specific time frame. Here’s how:

  • Type in your search and get the results.
  • Click Tools and then the Any Time drop-down menu.
  • Choose from the list of time frames or use Custom range… to set your own parameters.

You may also like: Remove personal search results on Google

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