You may be a typical Google searcher who simply pops in a word or two in the Google search box and hopes for the best? As it turns out, Google has placed impressive functionality within that seemingly simple search box.
At OIT’s January 9 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar Nancy Pressman Levy, the Head of Princeton University’s Donald E. Stokes Library for Public and International Affairs, introduced a range of basic Google searching tips that will help users to maximize the power of Google.
Nancy showed that you can limit the results of your searches [nutrition -recipes] by using a “-” in front of terms that you want to exclude. You can use quotation marks to search for an entire phrase ["telephone switch"]. You can use “OR” to obtain results that include either word [Pakistan OR Kashmir]. The command “define:” will provide definitions or expand abbreviations [define: technology]. You can get the weather or time anywhere in the world [weather: Lima], [time: Venice]. Google will even help you look up the performance of stocks [stocks: aapl].
You can find out what movies are playing in your neighborhood [movies: 08540], get the lowest gas prices when you travel [gas prices 08534], and even use the Google search window as a phone directory [phonebook: name city state] or even simply [609-123-4567].
The search window will also permit you to obtain flight information [Continental 23], convert currency [500 rand in US dollars] and other measures [5 degrees C in F], and even do some quick math calculations [88 / 39]. Google’s math calculator guide shows that the window actually supports many advanced math operations.
To search within the websites of colleges and universities, Google provides www.google.com/options/universities.html.
Google provides more advanced tips at www.google.com/advanced_search. For example, to search for topics within specific domains (such as US government sites [.gov], education sites [.edu], and state sites [state.nj.us]), use the google “site:” command. ["global warming" site:gov]. You can also use Google’s advanced search page to search for pages published in different countries or in selected languages. To assist such searches, here is a link to Internet Country codes.
You can limit searches with the “intitle:” or “intext” commands. “intitle: limits searches to within the contents of web page titles. “intext:” searches run against the text within web pages. Use of the “allintitle:” command will permit you find sites that contain more than one word in the title [allintitle: Kirkuk economy]. For other advanced search operations, Nancy recommended the Blachman Google Guide.
Google provides a range of options for translating documents and web pages at Google Language Tools. You can enter text in any of 30 languages or specify the web address of a foreign language page and receive a rough translation into the language of your choice.
Note that Google’s main page contains links to images, maps, and news. All three present useful portals to information. On the images page, entering a name will often provide a range of photographs. Google’s maps are well known; you can use them to find nearby businesses and to get directions. For news mavens, the News page represents a comprehensive portal for international, national, and even regional news that you can search and shape according to your needs and preferences.
The handout and a podcast are available.