From the Kenosha News on 7-23-06

Google searches, calculates, and defines

Most users have searched the internet using Google. However, Google does much more, and knowing some search tips can make your Google experience more efficient.

First, if you’re getting too many results or the wrong results, use the Advanced Search link to the right of the search words box. It allows you to be more specific in your search; for example, if you’re looking for info on the current Tour de France, searching for tourFrance will get you info on the race and ways to tour the country of France. Entering tour de France gives better results, but you also get info on the 2005 race, pages in French, etc. By using the advanced search, you can specify pages in English and/or pages edited in the last 3 months only.

You can do some advanced searching from the normal search page by knowing special characters and operators. For example:

  1. Fuzzy Search - Search for ~needlework patterns, and Google searches for “patterns” and other terms with meanings similar to “needlework” such as quilting, needlepoint, and embroidery. It does not, however, search for knitting or crochet patterns.
  2. Number Ranges - Searches for a range of numbers, for example ipod 20..60 GB will match 20, 30, 40, and 60GB ipods (and any other number in between).
  3. Wildcard – Adding a * to your query will search for a phrase with any word in that position. For example: * city marathon yields New York city marathon, Dublin city marathon, etc.
  4. Negative terms - If your search term has more than one meaning (bass, for example, could refer to fishing or music) focus your search by putting a minus sign ("-") in front of words related to the meaning you want to avoid. Entering bass –music should help you find the fishing sites rather than the music ones.
  5. Stocks: operator – To get info on stock, enter stocks: followed by the ticker symbol. (e.g. stocks: WAG)
  6. Define: operator – Entering define: followed by any word will give you its definition from multiple dictionaries. (e.g. define: insidious)

See more about these operators at www.google.com/help/operators.html

You can search for images at images.google.com by typing in what you want a picture of (e.g. “poison ivy” or “ Kenosha harbor”) and clicking the Search Images button.

If you’re looking for items from other countries and cultures, you can use the specific Google search engine for countries such as France (google.fr), Germany (google.de), Italy (google.it), Japan (google.jp), Russia (google.ru), etc. This can be helpful to find foreign films, song lyrics, and other cultural items. You need to type your search terms and read the pages in the related language.

Google has a built-in calculator. Enter 9*342 in the search box, and it returns the product of 9 times 342. You can even convert units. Enter 4.3 kg in lbs to find out how much a 4.3 kilogram baby weighs in pounds.

While it might not make your searching more efficient, using the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button can be entertaining. Its stated purpose is to take you straight to the most relevant website that Google found for your query. However, sometimes the results are unexpected. For example, search for “failure” or “French military victories” and click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 7-23-06