While Google has moved on from just being a search engine and dipped into other markets, like mobile devices and even robotics, its roots still deal with searching the internet to find what you’re looking for. Here are ten Google Search tips and tricks that you may not know about.
Searching for something on Google is pretty easy; you type in a word or phrase and Google will pop up results. Sometimes you easily find what you’re looking for and other times you have to dig a little deeper. What you may not know is that you can type in more than just plain words into Google. In fact, using more than just plain words in your search can possibly lead to better and more relevant search results. Plus, you can take advantage of a ton of other Google Search features that go well beyond just the text box.
Google supports a ton of cool tricks that you can use in order to be better at searching for something and quickly find what you’re looking for. Using things like boolean terms and even some symbols can help you perform better searches on Google, and by the time you get done going through this list, you’ll be a Google Search master (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
Without further ado, here are 50 Google Search tips and tricks to help you more easily find what you’re looking for on the internet.
Search Specific Websites
This is perhaps my most-used Google Search trick, and it allows you to perform normal searches, but the results that you get back will only be from a specific website that you specify in the search bar.
By typing in site:gottabemobile.com and then your search term, Google will spit back results only from GottaBeMobile.com (or any other website you specify).
This is a great search trick to use if you saw an article in the past on a specific website, but forgot what the title was. Or if you want to look up a how-to and are loyal to a specific how-to website, this tricks works well for that too.
Find Animated GIFs
Animated GIFs are the best. They can convey our emotions much better than any regular text could, and they’re great to just watch over and over again. Using Google Search, you can search for only animated GIFs.
Simply perform a Google Image Search and then click on Search Tools below the search bar. From there, click on where it says Any type and select Animated from the drop-down menu. At that point, only animated GIFs will appear in the search results, although the GIFs won’t be animated until you click on one to view it.
Bypass Website Paywalls
Many news websites have paywalls, which block you from reading an entire article unless you pay for a subscription. Usually those subscriptions are fairly expensive and not worth it if you just want to read that one article. However, there’s a way around it using Google Search.
When you come across an article that requires you to pay for a subscription, simply just copy and paste the headline of the article into Google Search, and then click on the search result that pops up for that article. It’ll take you to the full article without you having to pay a cent.
Exclude Certain Results
If you want to search for something, but want to make it a bit more specific, you can use a minus symbol to narrow down your search a bit and exclude certain results that don’t fit within your parameters.
For instance, I want search for jaguars, but not the car brand. To do this, I simply type in jaguar -car and I’ll get results without car references in them.
Use Asterisks as Wild Card Words
If there’s a popular phrase that you can’t remember fully, you can use asterisk to your advantage and search for the entire phrase in Google.
Add an asterisk within a search as a placeholder for any unknown words. Type in something like a * saved is a * earned and you’ll get back different variations of the popular saying.
Use Periods for Results Within a Certain Number Range
If you’re shopping around for new appliances and want to buy something within a certain price range or find something that has specific measurements, you can use two periods to set a range.
You can separate numbers by two consecutive periods to see search results that contain numbers in a given range. Typing in washing machines $700..$1200 will show you results for washing machines within this price range.
Find Web Pages That Link to a Certain Site
If you want to know what web pages link to a certain website, Google allows you to do that. You can either be broad with your search, or show specific results based off of a search term.
For example, you can find all the web pages that link to GottaBeMobile.com by typing in link:gottabemobile.com. If you want to only show results that deal with the iPhone 6, you can type in link:gottabemobile.com iPhone 6.
Use Quotation Marks for Exact Matches
If you have a longer phrase that you want to search, Google will normally take those words individually and find results that match any of the words. However, using quotation marks can make the search a bit more accurate.
If you need to search for something like iPhone 6 with a case, you’ll usually end up finding searches with either iPhone 6 or case, not both, but you can use quotation marks to find results with the exact match.
Find Related Websites
If you found a website that you really like and want to find more websites that are similar, you can use Google to accomplish that by finding related websites.
For instance, if you really enjoy reading Consumer Reports, you can find similar websites in Google by typing related:consumerreports.org to see a list of related websites. Depending on the site, your results may not be entirely accurate, but it can be a good start.
Expand Your Results with OR
If you want to search for specific web pages, but are pretty flexible as far as what they contain, you can expand your results to include several keywords by including OR between the words. Otherwise, your results would usually show only web pages that match all the terms typed out.
For example, if you want to find information about past Olympics, but only within the last couple of decades, you can type in olympics 2012 OR 2008 to see results that contain either the 2012 Olympics or the 2008 Olympics.
View the Cached Version of a Web Page
If you perform a Google search and a result you click on takes you to a 404 (i.e., the web page doesn’t exist anymore), you can still view the web page in a state before it was taken down.
To do this, simply type in cache:URL, with the URL being the full web address of the web page. This will show you the last state that the web page was saved in before it was deleted.
Obtain More Info About a Website
With a neat Google Search trick, you can easily access the cached version of the web page, similar web pages and web pages that link to the site by performing a single search.
Simply typing in info:website (with the website being the URL), you can quickly view all of this information that’s only a click away.
Show Only Recently-Published Results
If you need the most recent results possible when doing a Google search, you can narrow down the results by when they were published using Google’s Search Tools.
To do this, perform your search like usual and once you get to the results page, click on Search Tools below the search bar. From there, click on Any time and then select a time frame. Choosing Past week, for instance, will only show results that have been published or updated within the past week.
Perform a Video Search
If you’re looking for videos on a particular subject, Google makes it really easy for search results to show only video links.
Simply go to videos.google.com and type in your search term, or you can just start with a search term and then click Videos at the top below the search bar.
Get the Definition of a Word
Not sure what a specific word means? Don’t worry, you can quickly look it up using Google without flipping through a dictionary.
To do this, simply type in define word (with “word” being the word you want the definition of). Google will give you an instant definition, as well as some examples and even synonyms that you can use.
Find Images at a Certain Size
When performing an image search with Google, you get back a lot of different results with photos of all image sizes. However, you can narrow it down to include photos that are a certain size.
Go to Google Image Search and perform a search. From there, you’ll get a ton of photos to look through. Click on Search Tools below the search bar andclick on Any size, then select a photo size. Unfortunately, you can’t select a specific resolution, but you can ballpark it with the options provided.
Look Up Flight Information
Most users have a travel app on their mobile devices that lets them quickly look up their flight information and see if there are any delays. However, you can also do this right on Google.
Simply typing in your flight number in the search bar will give you info about your flight, including when it will take off and if there are any delays or cancellations.
Convert Pretty Much Any Unit
Not sure how many grams are in a pound? Need to convert British pounds into US dollars? Google can help you with that.
Using the Google Search bar, you can convert pretty much any unit. It supports currency, measurements, volume and a ton more. Typing in something like 56mm in inches will give you the quick conversion instantly.
Use Google as a Calculator
Did you know that Google Search has a built-in calculator? You can do basic math and even some advanced problems right in Google Search.
To bring up the calculator, you can either type in calc or begin by typing in a math problem like 140+453. You can find percentages by typing in 70% of 4500.
Hide Mature Content
If you’re performing a search and it brings up mature content like porn sites, you can disable these results from showing by customizing Google’s SafeSearch features.
To do this, click on the gear icon toward the upper-right corner of the webpage and then click on Turn on SafeSearch if it isn’t already. From there, explicit content will be filtered out.
If you have a photo, but want to see if a larger version exists, you can use Google to essentially reverse-search an image to find either similar images or duplicates posted on other web pages.
To do this, go to Google Image Search and click on the small camera icon to the right of the search bar. You can either paste in an existing URL of an image or upload one yourself. From there, Google will search for that image and you’ll get your results.
Search By Voice
Google Now on mobile devices lets you quickly search by using your voice, but you can also do that on the desktop with the Google Chrome web browser.
To the right of the search bar is a microphone icon. Clicking on it will activate voice search just like in Google Now. From there, you can simply just search for something or ask Google a question and it will come up with an answer for you. You can also use voice-activation so that you can simply just say “OK, Google” and have the voice search pop up.
View Newspaper Archives
You may have not known this, but Google has a news archive where it stores copies of a ton of different newspapers dating back to 1800s.
You can view the archive and look through old issues of newspaper, either for a school project or just for fun and giggles. It’s always a blast to go back in time and see what the news was like.
Not sure if you should get the Apple TV or the Roku? Google can help you make a decision.
Simply type in Apple TV vs Roku in the Google search box and it will bring up results to web pages comparing the two products, giving you quick access to comparisons in order to help make an informed decision.
Filter Results for Recipes
Looking for recipes? That’s great, but what if you’re looking for recipes with specific cook times and even a specific calorie count? Google can help.
When you search for a recipe, Google will pick that up and let your filter out certain recipes in order to quickly find one that you’re looking for. After performing a search, click on Search Tools and you’ll be offered with many options to filter out certain recipes, such as ingredients, cook time, number of calories, etc.
Flip a Virtual Coin to Make Decisions
Sometimes, we need to make a decision, but it’s just so difficult to do so, which usually results in flipping a coin.
However, if you don’t have a coin nearby, Google can flip one for you. Simply type in flip a coin in the search box and Google will flip a virtual coin for you.
Roll a Virtual Dice
Need a dice for a board game, but it’s lost somewhere? You can use Google Search instead.
Just like with flipping a virtual coin, Google can roll a virtual dice. Simply type in roll a dice and Google will roll one right in front of your eyes.
Search for Specific Filetypes
If you need to find a PDF of a user manual that you accidentally threw out, Google can help you find it.
Searching for “dyson vacuum manual” can sometimes bring up a PDF version of the full manual, but to get specific results, you can tell Google to only show PDF files, or any other filetype for that matter. Simply click on the gear icon toward the upper-right corner of the web page and click on Advanced Search.
Toward the bottom there will be a dropdown for filetype. Choose one and then click Advanced Search.
Set a Timer
If you need quick access to a countdown timer, Google can do it for you.
Simply type in set timer for 15 minutes (or however long you need) and Google will start a timer for that amount of time. You can even expand the timer to full-screen if you need it to be front and center.
Quickly Check the Weather
One of the most popular uses for Google that not everyone knows about is quickly checking the weather, which can be done right in Google Search.
By typing in weather zipcode (with “zipcode” being your zip code) you can see what the weather is like, along with a day-by-day forecast. You can also type in the city name if you don’t know the zip code.
Quickly Find Out Sunrise & Sunset Times
Similar to weather for a specific city, you can find out the times that the sun rises and sets by asking Google. To do this, type in sunset zipcode or sunrise zipcode, depending on which one you want the time for.
Find the Origins of a Specific Word
Maybe you’ve looked up the definition of a word (see above), but now you’re wanting to know where the word originated from and how it originated in the first place. Google can give you a history lesson on that.
Type in word origin (with “word” being a word of your choice) and Google will tell you the origin of that word, including what region it came from and when it originated.
Get the Time for a Specific City
Managing different time zones can be confusing, especially if you’re like me and have numerous co-workers in different time zones. However, Google can quickly tell you the local time in a specific city.
By typing in time city (with “city” being the city of your choice), you can see what time it is there. You can also type in the zip code as well, but most people will know the city name before the zip code anyway.
Find Out Your IP Address
There aren’t very many cases where you’ll need to know your IP address, but in case you do, Google can give it to you.
By typing in what is my IP, you’ll quickly see what your external IP address is. This can useful if you use a VPN and want to know if it’s working or not. By using this trick, you can see if your IP address really is being modified by your VPN service.
Quickly Look Up Stock Information
If you invest in the stock market, you probably look up how your stocks are doing fairly frequently, and Google is a good source to go to for that.
Type in the stock symbol for a company and Google will instantly bring up stock information. You can also view the history of the stock price.
Get the Date for a Specific Holiday
Not sure when Presidents Day is? Google can help!
By typing in the holiday, Google will bring up the date of that holiday so that you know what day of the month it is, as well as what month it’s in so that you don’t accidentally miss it when it rolls around.
Track a Package
If you ordered something from Amazon, you can track the package using Google Search.
By typing in the tracking number in the search box, Google will see that it’s a tracking number and will provide you with a link to tracking information, such as whether or not your package is out for delivery or if it’s still in transit.
See What Movies Are Playing in Your Area
If it’s Friday night and you feel like seeing a movie, Google Search can help you quickly find what movies are playing in local theaters.
By typing in movies zipcode (with “zipcode” being your zip code), you’ll get a list of movies that are playing in your area, along with the times that they’ll be playing.
Look Up Sports Scores
If you were out and about and weren’t able to watch the game, you can use Google to look up sports scores of your favorite team.
Simply type in Colts, Pacers, Flyers, etc. to view sports scores of that team. You may have to get specific, such as entering in Carolina Panthers, instead of just panthers.
Look Up Health Info When You Get Sick
One of the newest features to Google Search is being able to view symptoms and other health info if you’re feeling sick.
If you ended up getting pink eye and want to know if it’s contagious, simply typing in pink eye will bring up some important information about the disease, along with remedies on how to cure it.
Translate Words or Phrases
Some people can speak many different languages, but if you only know one language and need to translate a word into a different language or vice versa, you can use Google Search to do so.
Google has its own separate translate tool, but if you quickly just need a word translated, you can type in something like What is chocolate in German to get the German word for chocolate.
While your phone probably has its own reminder app, you can set a quick reminder in Google almost instantly, without fiddling with any apps.
Simply just open up Google Search and type in something like Remind to check the laundry in an hour. This does require you to have Google Now enabled on your smartphone so that you’ll receive a Google Now card when the reminder hits.
Look Up Food Nutrition Facts
Are you about to chop into those potato chips? Think twice before you do by getting the nutrition facts for different foods right in Google Search.
You can type in banana facts to get nutritional information about bananas or any other food for that matter, even potato chips.
Quickly Find Customer Service Phone Numbers
We all hate calling customer service, but it’s usually finding the number to call that seems to be the most tedious process. However, you can quickly search Google for practically any customer service number.
For instance, typing in Verizon customer service will instantly bring up the number to call if you need to get a hold of a customer service representative at Verizon.
Look Up Restaurant Menus
Looking to go out for a meal? Choosing a restaurant is hard enough, but once you get there, you have to then choose what you want to eat. Fortunately, you can do that ahead of time with Google Search.
By typing in something like Buffalo Wild Wings menu, you can view the whole menu instantly in Google Search and figure what you want to eat. This doesn’t work with every restaurant, but any of the larger chains and popular locals restaurants will have this feature.
View Specific Google Drive Photos
If you use Google Drive to store and view your photos, you can actually use Google Search to essentially search your photo library.
By typing in View my photos in July 2014 (or whatever time frame you want to specify), Google will bring up any photos that were taken during that month, right in Google Search, so that you don’t have to go hunting for them in Google Drive.
Get Answers to Entertainment Questions
Let’s see if this sounds familiar: You’re watching a movie and you begin to argue with your friends on what other movies Steve Carell is in. Let Google settle it for you.
By typing in something like What other movies is Steve Carell in, you’ll get a full list of movies that star Steve Carell, and you can finally put that argument to bed once and for all.
Find the Nearest Store
Are you hankering for a nice mocha and need to where the nearest coffee shop is? Google Maps can help, but so can Google Search.
By typing in Where is the nearest coffee shop, Google Search will bring up a list of coffee shops that are close by, and from there you can view more info or get directions through Google Maps.
Quickly Calculate Tips
There are many calculator apps that focus on calculating meal tips, but you can do it right in Google Search without any extra apps of any kind.
Quickly type in tip $73 (or however much your meal costs), and Google Search will pop up a tip calculator right there in the window. It’ll even give you the total after the tip, which is very helpful.
Find Stuff to Do in a New City
It’s not hard to find stuff to do in a big city, especially if you’re there for vacation and planned ahead, but if you find yourself there for business and have some free time, you might find yourself wondering what to do in the area.
Luckily, you can type in attractions Indianapolis (or any city for that matter) and you’ll get a list of popular attractions and other touristy hot spots for non-locals.