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Summary:

I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites.

I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites.

  1. Use the “site:” operator to limit searches to a particular site. I use this one all the time, and it’s particularly handy because many site’s built-in search tools don’t return the results you’re looking for (and some sites don’t even have a search feature). If I’m looking for WWD posts about GTD, for example, I could try this search: GTD site:webworkerdaily.com.
  2. Use Google as a spelling aid. As Rob Hacker — the WWD reader I profiled last week — pointed out, entering a word into Google is a quick way to see if you have the right spelling. If it’s incorrect, Google will suggest the correct spelling instead. Additionally, if you want to get a definition of a word, you can use the “define:” operator to return definitions from various dictionaries (for example, define: parasympathetic).
  3. Use Google as a calculator. Google has a built-in calculator — try entering a calculation like 110 * (654/8 + 3). Yes, your computer also has a calculator, but if you spend most of your day inside a browser, typing your calculation into the browser’s search box is quicker than firing up your calculator app.
  4. Find out what time it is anywhere in the world. This one’s really handy if you want to make sure that you’re not phoning someone in the middle of the night. Just search for “time” and then the name of the city. For example, try: time San Francisco
  5. Get quick currency conversions. Google can also do currency conversion, for example: 100 pounds in dollars. If you would like to convert minor currencies, be sure to be specific about the country. So, if you want to find out how many nuevos soles your dollars might buy, you could try: 100 dollars in Peruvian nuevos soles.
  6. Use the OR operator. This can be useful if you’re looking at researching a topic but you’re not sure which keywords will return the information you need. It can be particularly handy in conjunction with the “site:” operator. For example, you could try this search: GTD OR “getting things done” site:webworkerdaily.com
  7. Exclude specific terms with the – operator. You can narrow your searches using this operator. For example, if you’re looking for information about American Idol but don’t want anything about Simon Cowell, you could try: “american idol” -cowell
  8. Search for specific document types. Google can search the web for specific types of files using the “filetype:” operator. If you’re looking for PowerPoint files about GTD, for example, you could try: GTD filetype:ppt
  9. Search within numerical ranges using the .. operator. Say, for example, you want to look for information about Olympic events that took place in the 1950′s, you could use this search: Olympics 1950..1960
  10. Area code lookup. Need to know where a phone number is located? Google will let you know where it is, and show you a map of the area, too. For example: 415

What are your favorite Google search tricks?

  1. for the “site” operator use:

    javascript:Qr=prompt(‘Search%20Site%20for’,”);if(Qr)location.href=’http://www.google.com/search?&q=site:’+encodeURIComponent(window.location.hostname)+’+’+escape(Qr)

    Drag it to your bookmarks bar, give it a name, and give it a try.

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    1. For some reason, which I will endeavour to discover, this is not now working.

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      1. Joan, it worked after replacing the characters that are at the moment with normal apostrophes ie ‘ .

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      2. The second parameter on the prompt() should be 2 apostrophe, not a double quote. Nice trick though.

        javascript:Qr=prompt(‘Search%20Site%20for’,”);if(Qr)location.href=’http://www.google.com/search?&q=site:’+encodeURIComponent(window.location.hostname)+’+’+escape(Qr)

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  2. Fantastic tips for “getting the juice” to Google!!!. If you want to search in Google the definition of a word, just use the keywords: “define: word” (more the word you want the meaning)

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    1. Yep, I noted “define:” in point 2 :)

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    2. I also love that you can text D and a word to GOOGLE (466453) and you will get an immediate text back with the definition

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      1. very cool! I just tried it. I will remember this one. Thanks, Erin!

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  3. Joshua Guffey Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Nice! I knew about and have used all except number 9. I’m always using these operators to tweek searchs. It’s so very powerful.

    You can also use the site: operator for some pretty amazing Twitter search results.

    -@JoshuaGuffey

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  4. Your trick #2 does not work, for the reason that spelling and grammar is not a democracy. So some words are incorrectly spelled, by the majority. When you use google, you will replicate this behaviour more. When the spelling doesn’t matter, why check? If it does, use a proper site!

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    1. It does, because google will know the correct word not because of the majority, but because of the huge r&d of google linguistics. So they basically know the correct word plus the common mistakes to provide you with a corrected version of your input.
      So they are not suggesting you the way most people on the web write it.

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  5. Regarding tip #4, it works even better if you type “time in” followed by a location. For instance, when typing “time in san francisco” it will actually show you the time in the suggestion dropdown…you don’t even have to hit enter.

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    1. that’s nice tip, though it doesn’t work from Firefox’s search bar, only the Google site

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  6. USPS, UPS & Fedex tracking codes can be entered to get updates from their real time APIs about what city the package is in or if it is sitting on your doorstep.

    I just tested it again with Fedex and have done the others in the past.

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  7. Thanks – I knew about most of these, but hadn’t seen the one about time before. I’ll be using that one a lot!

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  8. For #2, I suggest using the define: operator. If you type “define:nuisance” into Google, for example, you get definitions of the word ‘nuisance’ from various Internet sources; if you misspell a word, say by typing “define:noisance”, you get a suggestion for the right spelling (“Did you mean: nuisance?”).

    Also, an addendum to #5: Google can convert all sorts of figures and values for you, not just currency. Try entering “12 miles in kilometers” or “10 years in minutes“. It doesn’t work for everything, though…at least, not yet.

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    1. I did note the “define:” operator in point 2, but it’s under the image so perhaps you missed it.

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      1. Your #2 only mentions define: as a way to get the definition. Your “spelling” suggestion was to enter the word and let Google suggest a correctly spelled alternative.
        Oh? Enter “alot” and see whether Google correctly apprehends that you’re an illiterate idiot in need of spelling help. There are other similar malapropisms being perpetuated all over the web.
        Anyone serious about spelling should ALWAYS use define: or, better still, consult a dictionary (digital or paper).

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  9. [...] from: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks Share and [...]

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  10. Nice trick!

    I would like to find also nice search “strategies”.

    For istance looking for info regarding a deasease, or a business model, or a trend, or a scientific method, ecc… could be done both using naif terms to define it or with the proper terms. The first will provide you “naif” info and website, the second will provide you “technical” info and website.

    For example: searching “organize documents in a website” will not provide as many technical resources and info as searching “card sorting”. The first will direct you to general web site with easy to understand resources, the second will direct you to interesting website with specific resources.

    That’s why you shouldn’t search directly to the info you need, but first you should make 3-4 searches looking to the “right keywords” you need, especially when you search something that could be an accademic field of study. <— This is an example of “strategy” and I would lke to read more of these; you don’t need to be an expert, because everybody of us has their own strategies; we should just share them more.

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  11. [...] Mackie at WebWorkerDaily has put together 10 Simple Google Search Tricks. You can use all of these shortcuts and tips in Google’s basic search field. Here are the top [...]

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  12. You can do conversions with more than just currencies.

    For baking you can do things like:

    1/4 cup in teaspoons

    Or for technical conversions:

    1GB in MB

    Or for metric to non-metric measurements:

    1km in feet

    The only thing I haven’t figure out is how to do date math like: What date is 30 days after November 15th?

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    1. It’s not perfect, but Wolfram Alpha ( http://www.wolframalpha.com/ ) will kind of answer your “30 days after November 15″ question – it somehow thinks the question is related to the stock market, but it does give the right answer. It’s built more as a knowledge engine rather than a search engine, so it can generally handle this kind of thing better than Google.

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  13. Great post! Always looking for the better way and I usually find it with Google:)

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  14. Is there a way to search in the last one day or some specific time. I know, it can be done through the UI through the options but through a text query is it possible??

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  15. You can do quick tracking of flights. e.g. SWA 174.

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  16. I find the “filetype:” command very helpful, especially when looking for in-depth information, I almost exclusively use “search term filetype:pdf”.

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  17. [...] (Vía WebWorkerDaily. Adaptado y completado.) Posted in Uncategorized « Tecnología y felicidad You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

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  18. mike overstreet Friday, April 2, 2010

    sorry for my ignorance … is there a Google tools/terms glossary or reference page? Thanks!

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  19. Thanks for this! Super handy and most of these I haven’t ever used.

    I find myself doing the “how many” conversion a lot, which Matthew mentioned earlier. (ex: how many centimeters in an inch”)

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  20. “100 dollars in peruvian nuevos soles” seems to work just fine.

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    1. Thanks for the update. I tried “dollars in nuevos soles” which doesn’t work — obviously I should have been more specific.

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      1. and if you are used to the ISO currency codes, “100 USD in PEN” is much faster to type

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  21. [...] I have been interested in and found some great information. Just this morning I noticed one about 10 Simple Google Search Tricks. This caught my eye because I always feel like I am missing out on fewer keystrokes when searching [...]

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  22. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks [...]

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  23. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks (tags: google search) [...]

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  24. Thanks for these amazing tips – will definitely be putting them to good use.

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  25. Your trick #2 does not work, for the reason that spelling and grammar is not a democracy. So some words are incorrectly spelled, by the majority. When you use google, you will replicate this behaviour more. When the spelling doesn’t matter, why check? If it does, use a proper site!

    Share
    1. Prove it. Give an example of a word in the English language which has been so misspelled that even Google can not get it correct; however, do not confuse the search help feature with actual search results.

      The search help feature, which remembers the most commonly searched phrases (including misspellings) and offers these as suggestions as to what you might be searching, is not the same thing as the actual results to which the author was referring. The actual search results ignores the misspellings of all of the previous search attempts and relies solely on the results of the web search database and references to online dictionaries.

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  26. Thanks there are some great tips can anyone recommend the search terms for.

    Tournament Fishing, Fishing Competition, Fishing League

    I want to do a search for the above but it keeps throwing up some strange results.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Billy

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    1. Billy, Have you tried using the OR with double quotes for exact matches eg. “Tournament Fishing” OR “Fishing Competition” OR “Fishing League”

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  27. very informative link………..

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  28. [...] so I embedded a video from You Tube where the founder, Sergey Brin, is interviewed. I found this, Simple Google Search Tips, while in Free Technology for Teachers, one blog in my Google Reader during Spring Break. I was [...]

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  29. Nice tips, some I knew and used, other don’t.

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  30. Two essential and Google’s own features are:

    Type “Movies in City name” without quotes and replace “City Name” with actual City Name and you will get the list of Movies and theaters with the show timings, ratings and reviews.

    Same is with book search. You could search a book from ISBN number “ISBN xiiixixixixi-0″ Google has a huge database of books in books.google.com and it would fetch the book with price, readers review a preview (depends on permission granted by publisher or author of book) of the book also.

    If you want to see more sites that are similar to the one that you just found. You could use the operator “Related:”

    For e.g. you find bestbuy.com as good site and you want to have a list of similar websites. Try “related:www.bestbuy.com” without quotes. You may play around the usage of www as in the case of some websites, they are indexed by Google without www

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  31. My favorite one (not listed here?) is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the main Google page, which sends you to the page of the first search result. Not sure how to do this anywhere else except the official Google page, though.

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  32. Bill Weinberger Monday, April 5, 2010

    Keep in mind that all of the above tricks work for Bing.com, too.

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  33. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks [Web Worker Daily] [...]

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  34. Good Ticks….
    I use couple of these and it’s amazing :)

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  35. My favorite trick is to us Google Advanced Search.
    My second favorite trick is to use Google books search (books.google.com).

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  36. i always check the weather for today or the next five days…just type in “weather”!

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    1. Ha, I didn’t know about that one, thanks Jeremy!

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  37. in mainland china there’s a neat trick to contact the authorities though google. Just type “tiananmen square”

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  38. [...] 10 simple Google search tricks. [...]

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    1. The OR operator: “or” should be all caps.

    (Nice job on getting on the Times’ top 10!)

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    1. I had “6″ but it got changed to a “1.”

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    2. Was going to say the same thing. See http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861 to support this assertion.

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      1. Good catch, guys. I will get the post corrected.

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  39. Do these tips work for many other search engines such as Bing, webcrawler, dogpile, etc.?

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  40. When you do a search on a website I sometimes click on the “cache” version — this especially works when I get to a page not found. I go back to google and click on the cache’s version of the page — and it will usually bring up the “deleted” page.

    …Rowby

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  41. [...] 10 tips για τις αναζητήσεις στο [...]

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  42. [...] Source: 10-simple-google-search-tricks [...]

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  43. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tips: A few excellent ideas [...]

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  44. [...] За основу статьи была взятка заметка: 10 simple google search tricks (http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/04/01/10-simple-google-search-tricks/) [...]

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  45. [...] Slightly off-topic, some of you will remember that I am a big fan of Google Reader.  I also like finding out the little tips and tricks that make programmes like Google and Google Reader easier and faster to use.  Check out this list of 10 things that make your Google searches easier and more effective. [...]

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  46. I like to let Google do the searching for me, via Google Alerts. I type in the search terms I want to keep track of (the name of a competitor in my field, parties in a court case, a new piece of hardware), tell Google whether I want a Comprehensive search (yields a lot of meaningless hits) or a News search (much more useful), and how often I want it to report back to me with its search results. Automated search!

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  47. I’ve used the googmeister to fix cars! Many times, not just once. Once had a 96 Taurus, while driving, the radio would stop, the windows wouldn’t work, occasionally. googled these symptoms and got the culprit, the TRS (neutral safety switch). $19 later, done. Took me to a Ford chat room, where a guy had the same problem.

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  48. Tried:
    stock quote QQQQ

    and got today’s chart, present quote and other info about today’s trading plus other general info about the stock.

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  49. [...] void (Guest post by Everett Bogue) – focus on the important Web Worker Daily – 10 Simple Google Search Tricks Far Beyond the Stars – 15 Bits of Wisdom from 6 Months of Blogging Success Becoming [...]

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  50. Jeff Briere Friday, April 9, 2010

    My favorite is quotation marks. Put quotes around your search phrase and Google will return only the pages with the words in the exact order you entered them.

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  51. Some of my other favorite tricks
    - You didn’t describe the usefulness of double quoted phrases, though you used that trick in some of your examples.
    - When you use the “weather” trick, include your zip code.
    - type air airline and a flight number to track that flight
    - type a UPS or FedEx tracking number, and get the status of your package
    - type a movie title and your zip code and find out theaters and show times

    More tricks shown here:
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html

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  52. are there limits to how many operators you can use at once?

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  53. Laurel Ferejohn Friday, April 9, 2010

    Thanks for great new (to me) info and reminders. I often use quote marks to zero in on something. E.g., I often need to find the source of a quote or its exact wording.

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  54. if you enter to it allows you to search for plane tickets on major ticket sites really quickly – try it out

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  55. BTW, all of these work on Yahoo as well, in case you prefer not to use Google (like me).

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  56. Thanks for all the great suggestions. http://www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html and http://www.google.com/intl/en_extra/help/faq.html also have helpful tips and answers to questions.

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  57. type a known area code and/or the @ sign and the name of a person to find their phone numbers and/or email address(es).

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  58. Being a translator, I often search for terminology in other languages than my own and English. In this case, I use ixquick.com, which is a meta-search engine. It’s using Google for sure, but also a lot of more or less specialised local search engines in areas where the language is spoken. You know, Google contains only about one third of all Web content, and sometimes these small, local search engines will find something useful that Google ignores.
    http://www.ixquick.com/uk/aboutixquick/

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  59. [...] is a list of ten great and simple functions and if you read the comments you’ll find lots more! var [...]

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  60. Stephen Margolis Monday, April 12, 2010

    phonebook: lastname state zip

    phonebook must be all lower case followed by colon

    zip is best, use standard 2-letter abbreviation for State

    This was part of Google Labs, worked for a while, stopped working, now works again. Look up your own phone to test. Land lines only.

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  61. I wonder about resource efficiency giving that each google search is reported to consume as much as 1 hour of an 11W light bulb.
    While e.g. tips 1 or 7 render more specific results and thus need less clicks/energy, task from tips 2, 3 and 4 might well be more efficiently done locally or via special websites and not delivering unwanted ads.

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  62. [...] Por ejemplo si solo queremos encontrar algún documento con alguna extensión simplemente le señalamos a Google dicha extensión  y los resultados saltaran a la vista, además de saber la hora exacta y porque no una ecuación matemática, vamos  al grano y veamos 8 sencillos trucos para Google que ha publicado Simon Mackie de webworkerdaily: [...]

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  63. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks link [...]

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  64. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks (tags: google tips professionaldevelopment searchengine elementary middle high) [...]

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  65. Chuck Hildebrandt Friday, April 16, 2010

    Here are a couple of others I use a lot:

    When I want to see when a celebrity or public figure was born or died, I type their name and “born” or died”, such as “Chris Rock born” or “George Wallace died”

    When I want to see the score of the game, or when the next game is, I type in the name of the team: “Detroit Tigers”.

    When I want to know the definition of a word, I type in “define:” and the word, as in “define:accede”.

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  66. Fill in the blanks (*)
    The *, or wildcard, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example, the search [ Google * ] will give you results about many of Google’s products. The query [ Obama voted * on the * bill ] will give you stories about different votes on different bills. Note that the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.

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  67. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites. (tags: google search google-search-tips searching research web2.0 simple web) [...]

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  68. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks "I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites." (tags: research web2.0) [...]

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  69. [...] May. 3, 2010, 12:00pm PDT No Comments      0 A few weeks ago, I wrote “10 Simple Google Search Tricks,” prompting countless readers to send in their favorite ways of finding info using the serach [...]

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  70. [...] few weeks ago, I wrote “10 Simple Google Search Tricks,” prompting countless readers to send in their favorite ways of finding info using the serach [...]

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  71. [...] 10 Simple Google Search Tricks "I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites" (tags: google google-search-tips search searching) [...]

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  72. [...] Google Search Tips:  10 Simple Google Search Tricks | 9 More Simple Google Search [...]

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  73. Chris van Engelen Thursday, May 13, 2010

    The time trick only seems to work when the query includes “hl=en”, like in the example. When I use it from the Google text input in My Safari browser, the query is “search?rls=en&q=time+san+francisco”, and this does not work. Any body has any idea?

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  74. Wow! This is great info, am impressed… hot story mate

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  75. site:sitename.com “searchword” filetype:pdf

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  76. Google is the 8th wonder of the world. thanks google

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  77. i put things in inverted commas “”.

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  78. Great Tips, I found it in Twitter! Some Tricks are new for me. Thank u for that.

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  79. Lucky me I found this site while working on my Thesis.

    Now, I can use the OR function.

    hehe Thanx

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  80. Have been using most of these, except for the ‘Area Code’ one. Thanks for the information.

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  81. RT @ruhanirabin: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://ow.ly/1LKbh

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  82. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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  83. RT @ruhanirabin: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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  84. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks http://t.co/FyEsGv2S /via @gigaom #edchat #edtech #ukedchat #eduswe

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  85. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/HEEHwbBW RT @ruhanirabin

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  86. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/pzRMBjoH RT @ruhanirabin @TifPersoons

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  87. RT @briankotts: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks http://t.co/FyEsGv2S /via @gigaom #edchat #edtech #ukedchat #eduswe

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  88. RT @ruhanirabin: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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  89. RT @briankotts: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks http://t.co/FyEsGv2S /via @gigaom #edchat #edtech #ukedchat #eduswe

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  90. Simple Google search methods. http://t.co/aJpwTuVI RT @ruhanirabin

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  91. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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  92. RT @ruhanirabin: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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  93. RT @ruhanirabin: 10 Simple Google Search Tricks – http://t.co/GFw3CAwI

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