Gary Marshall: 25 Google search tips and tricks you need to know

Sunday, August 10th 2014. | Internet News

Everybody knows Google, but not everybody knows its secrets, the little things that make finding what you want faster, that make searches more specific and that uncover entertaining Easter eggs.

Here are 25 of our favourite ways to find Google’s G spots.

1. Use search operators

Google does a pretty good job of working out what you’re looking for, but the more specific you are the better your results will be.

Using operators does just that, so for example enclosing a phrase in quotation marks – “like this” – searches for that specific phrase, adding a minus sign excludes that word (salsa recipe -tomatoes) and using OR gives Google a choice, eg. World Cup location 2014 or 2022.

2. Search a single site

You can restrict your search to a single website by using the site: operator, so for example if you wanted to look for Android content on TechRadar you might type android

3. Get definitions

The define: operator, as you might expect, gives you definitions – so define:search gives you the dictionary definition of search and synonyms such as hunt, look, scout and dig.

4. Do sums and currency conversions

You probably already know that Google will carry out sums if you type them in the search box – 4*15 gives you 60, 2*2*3*4 gives you 48 and an on-screen calculator and so on – but it can also convert units and currencies. convert 200 usd to gbp converts dollars to pounds, and you can also convert measurements such as distance, weight and temperature.

5. Get essential info, fast

Google TipsNeed to chase your love interest to the airport? You can quickly check the details on Google

Type weather and you’ll see the current conditions and a seven-day forecast; add the name of a town to get the weather report from a different location. Type flight BA1491 to see the status of a flight, time New York to see the local time in that location, sunrise London to see when the sun’s coming up or GOOG to see Google’s stock information.

6. Search by location

If you type a generic term such as “Italian restaurant”, Google will show you results in and around your current location along with a map showing where they are. If you’d rather be more specific, enter the postcode at the end of your query – so for example fish and chips BA1 2BW shows the chippies in and around central Bath.

7. Filter your image search

Image filterImage search often throws up seemingly unrelated pictures, so filter your searches

Some terms produce all kinds of search results, so for example an image search for “heather” brings you plants, Heather Graham and Heather from EastEnders. Google will offer to filter those results for you – so for example our search for heather gives us the options “plant”, “flower”, “eastenders”, “scottish” and so on.

You can use the Search Tools button to filter by size, colour, type – such as photos of people or illustrations, time and whether you can use the photos without payment. Remember your operators too: heather -graham produces a screen full of Heathers but no Heather Graham.

8. See sites that aren’t online

Google’s cache keeps copies of sites it’s looked at, so if they’re down you can still see them by using the cache: operator – so would display TechRadar if for some reason our server wasn’t working. The same operator can sometimes catch sneaky “ninja edits”, where sites correct appalling, offensive or hilarious mistakes: you’ll often find the uncorrected original in the cache.

9. See what’s on

Fancy a film? movie times Glasgow tells you what’s on in that particular city, and if you use a specific cinema name such as movie times Odeon Quay you’ll see what’s on in that particular cinema.

10. Use your voice

If you’re using Chrome, Android or the Google iOS app, you can search by voice: press or click on the microphone icon and tell Google what you’re looking for.

11. Check spellings

Not sure how to spell something? Type it into the search box and unless you really mangle it, Google will show you the correct spelling, its definition, and synonyms you might find easier to spell.

12. Filter your web search

If you click on Search Tools you’ll see four filtering options: the country, so for example here in the UK you can search anywhere or limit your results to UK websites; the date and/or time of publication, ranging from the last hour to the last year; by reading level; and whether Google should use your current location.

13. Find out what links to what

It’s easy to discover who’s linking to your site, or to any other page you want to know about: just use the link: operator. tells you who’s linking to us.

14. Find similar sites

Here’s another handy operator: related. This one helps you find pages that are similar to one you already know about, so for example tells you about our sister site T3 and some of our rivals.

15. Get nutritional information

Some food-related searches will display nutritional information, so looking for chocolate cake will display the calories, nutrients, vitamins and fat in a typical recipe. Where it gets clever is when you tell Google to compare things, such as compare apples and oranges or compare bacon and tofu.

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