Tech Tip: Advanced Google search functions

Searching with more than basic keywords returns better results

Searching Google is a quick way to find information, but more advanced functions can help users find more helpful information faster.

To see a video version of this Tech Tip, watch a video on YouTube.

Travel is one category where Google is very useful. Type in a flight number such as "United 1111" and Google will return the flight status. Type in "time in Japan" and Google will show the local time there. Google makes converting measurements, be it miles to kilometers or teaspoons to millimeters, easy to figure out as well.

Forcing Google to return more specific results can be achieved by putting a search term in quotations. For example, searching "chocolate chip cookies" will only return results that have those three words in exactly that order.

To exclude certain keywords from results, use a dash or hyphen before the word. For example, if homeowners want to find information on windows, but not the Microsoft variety, a search term of "windows -microsoft" will exclude Microsoft from the results. Quotation marks are not needed.

To search within a website for keywords use "site:cnn.com obama." That search (without quotation marks) will return articles and pages that include U.S. President Barack Obama.

Search operators such as AND and OR, which are both case sensitive and need to be in capital letters for this sort of search, can be use in queries. For example "ipad AND apple" will return results that include both keywords while "ipad OR apple" will return results that include either word.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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Nick Barber

IDG News Service
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