Quick Tips: Advanced Google Search Features
Google search: every college student uses it, but not everyone uses it equally. At one end of the spectrum is the kid who hunt-and-peck types h-t-t-p-:-/-/-w-w-w-.-g-o-o-g-l-e-.-c-o-m into Internet Explorer before typing a fourteen-word question into the search bar. On the opposite end is the ninja who can find secret ancient documents just by looking at his smartphone funny.
Google search is constantly developing new features and Easter eggs. Try out a few of the ones below to narrow your results like a true search ninja.
If you’re looking for a document (especially a journal article, MSDS, owner’s manual, or anything that might have been scanned), type filetype: pdf with your query to turn up only pdf documents in the results.
Use “quotation marks” around phrases within your query to search only for results that include those specific phrases or spellings.
Put a –hyphen before any word that you don’t want included in the results.
If you’re looking for a phrase or song lyrics and don’t know all of the words, put an *asterisk in the space where the missing word(s) would go.
Adjust Your Settings
If you’re looking for high-quality images in Google image search, click on “Search Tools” and select “large” images.
If you’re trying to identify something you have a picture of (whether it’s a place, pattern, or even a person), drag and drop the image into the Google search bar to run a reverse image search that will turn up anywhere that particular image has been used online as well as related images.
Use Google News to find contemporary publications from the ancient to the recent. These make great primary source texts for history assignments.
You can also use Google Scholar as a substitute or a supplement for you university database service to find peer-reviewed academic sources.
Pull Out All the Stops
One way to find in-depth thought articles (especially about current events and major topics) is to add &tbs=ida:1&gl=us to the end of your search url.
Need to decide what to have for dinner? Type in one option vs. the other and Google will bring up side-by-side nutrition facts for your comparison.
If you need to set a timer, simply search for set timer for and the desired amount of time.