Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that almost everyone uses Google at least once per day to search for something.And odds are, you search Google again right afterwards because you didn’t find what you were looking for the first time.
We’ve put together the best tips and tricks to help you find what you’re looking for using the world’s most popular search engine.
Go to images.google.com and click the little camera to try out Google's brand new image search tool.
Instead of typing in words, you can either upload an image on your computer, or paste in a URL to set Google off hunting for pictures that look most similar to yours.
Google's new image search works with landmarks, pieces of art, logos, and more. We tried it with Hokusai's famous yin/yang painting The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, and it worked!
If you're looking for a PDF of a short story you love, or a PowerPoint (ppt) presentation for a product demo you witnessed, try searching for something and then including filetype:ppt or filetype:pdf after your search terms.
This applies for any file type you can think of like doc, do cx, rtf, xls, exe, and more.
This trick can help you find all sorts of stuff you're looking for solely based on the fact that you know the file type of an item.
One thing Google hasn't seemed to figure out yet is that when you search for 'best iPhone tips,' you're not looking for tips from the original iPhone in 2007.
Much of that information is obsolete and completely useless. While many Google results may be useless, Google has some useful tools to help you narrow your search by date.
Click 'Show Search Tools' to specify exactly when you want your results to be from. We generally choose 'Past Year' or 'Past Month,' so only web pages posted within those constraints pop up in our search results.
Google has built-in tools for helping you see how your stocks are doing, whether your cousin's flight will be arriving late, and much more.
- Try typing AAPL into Google to see the stock's current price, chart, and more.
- Try typing in any flight number (like DL 1231) to see the status of the flight and whether it's scheduled to take off and land on time. This trick is invaluable during the car trip on the way to the airport.
- Try typing movie:new york, ny to see a clear list of showtimes at theatres near you. For showings that look like links, click one to be directed straight to a movie ticket purchasing page on Fandango.
- Try typing what time is it Detroit to get the local time anywhere in the world.
- Try typing 20 Euro in USD to get an instant currency conversion.
- Try typing your package tracking number into Google.
Let's say you're searching for an article on Business Insider that you saw one time and want to share.
Instead of using our often-finicky search bar, type site:businessinsider.com into Google, followed by the search term. For example, here's what you might type into Google:
site:businessinsider.com how to make an iPhone app Dylan love
Google would then populate results from Business Insider including those terms, which are much more accurate since Google knows what site you're looking on.
Search for an exact phrase by putting quotes around it (ex. 'hello'). You won't get as many results, but they'll be more specific because it keeps the words you're looking for in their natural order, like if you're searching for a song based on its lyrics.
Find definitions by searching define:affect to search for the definition of the word 'affect.'
Try subtracting sites from your search by including a minus sign (ex. search for iPhone 4 -apple.com to see results about iPhone 4 that aren't on Apple.com). This also works if you want to exclude certain words from your search.
Need to do some quick maths? Enter maths equations into Google like 876+8329 or 45/2.3 to get instant results. If you're a Douglas Adams fan, check out this very strange Google calculator result.
Google Trends is an incredibly cool resource to help you find out what terms people are searching over time via interesting graphs and an always up to date Top 10 list.
Trends can even tell you which US cities are searching the most for Angelina Jolie.
Something similar is Google Correlate, which is also a lot of fun to check out.
If you use fewer terms in your search, you'll get better results.
Try and distill what you're looking for down to as few terms as possible, because the less work Google has to do searching for pages that include most of your terms, the better.
Google looks at each word as a percentage of your search
Google's Advanced Search has a ton of great options for narrowing down your search.
One great tool is the 'Where your keywords show up' box, where you can designate where you want Google to search for the words you specify.
You can tell Google to only search headlines, only search URL's, etc.
Also, Advanced Search includes options to search by date, domain, and other useful shortcuts you'll need if your forget the operators we talked about earlier.