Google Searching Tips and Tricks

Google Searching Tips:

Special search words to prefix your google search with:

These are various tips for a complex search in google.

~ (tilde) for finding “similar to” searches.

ex: ~glossary returns listings for Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Thesaurus, etc.
ex. ~glossary motor returns glossaries, dictionaries and definitions of motors, as opposed to searching for just plain motors, which may return a hit like “motor show on youtube”. You can use two-words, either word, both words, hyphenated or not. (the tilde on the glossary was a trick! It actually does triple duty by returning more than just glossary results)

Convert from one unit to another unit:

ex: 47 pounds to kilograms
ex: 29% of 3214.56
Time in the world, to find:
ex: time
ex: time in cape town

Here’s a real doosy, I was listening to Leo Laporte and he needed to do a not so straightforward conversion during his radio show. He was tipped by Randall Schwartz to use google for the conversion. Here it is:

convert .1dollars per 140 bytes to dollars per megabyte

Define is a spell checking dictionary:

define:matter (space not necessary just like site:)
define:motor returns a dictionary like listing of all known definitions of the word motor, a very different result from the usual google results page!
Don’t use a space before or after the colon, it will change your search to a standard one!

To use a quick batch of Thesaurus searches using the google command line (or is that thesauri? ;-)

ex: thesaurus: plethora

Searching for specific files on the internet using google:

Google search for Mp3 “Richard Thompson” on people’s servers:
-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “Richard Thompson”

With some very slight modifications the same search string can easily be used to search for ebooks in DOC and PDF format, searching google for doc files and pdf files:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(pdf|doc) “george orwell 1984″


Or perhaps you are searching for video files:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(mpg|wmv) “towelie”

Google advanced search operators:

“.” a dot between words says “connected” two.words is like “two words”
ex: pair.shoes returns google results with”One pair shoes green”type hits where all the results on the first page literally contain “pair shoes”, and a search of pair shoes results contain almost all “pair of shoes” in the results. My results show that this search is the same as quoting even on complex search queries, this may not always be the case though.

Searching for just page titles:

Google’s allintitle: operator limits your search to only words that appear in the titles of web pages, an effective way to narrow your results to pages which primarily concern your keyword.

ex: allintitle:used.books for sale discount will return only web pages with used books for sale in their page title (at the top of your browser window title just in front of ” – Mozilla Firefox” or ” – Internet Explorer”. You will also get results like “Find Used Books items for sale on Ebay”, interesting to note that “Used Books” must be exactly in that order, but the rest of the search query allows the title to have the words anywhere in it! So you can get a hit like this “Best Sellers, Discount Books, Cheap Textbooks, Used Books for Sale:” where Discount is actually in front of “Used Books”.

Note to fellow web developers: Try not to forget to edit your page titles! Google search for allintitle:”untitled document” returns a 27,800,000 results and growing (8-10-2008). Incidently allintitle:”Untitled Document” returns 27,600,000 results, 200,000 less than the lower case version. Somebody care to explain this one? Matt?