Google Tips and Tricks to Help You Find Anything


Google tips and tricks can help you find any piece of information that you’re looking for. Google is easy to use for basic searches. Most people don’t realize that it’s a much more powerful platform, though. There are ways to refine your search to dig deeper into the Google database.

A typical Google search might look something like “chocolate cake recipes.” This is going to return a long list of chocolate cake recipes. Google gives you the ability to more specific about these recipes. Let’s take a look at the power of the Google search platform.

Google Tips and Tricks to Get More Specific Information

Google Tips and Tricks

Here are two Google tips and tricks for the cake recipe above. You’re baking a cake for a party and some of the guests are allergic to nuts. You could just read through the recipes the search above will present you with, looking for a recipe without nuts. You could also just pick one and not use nuts if they’re in the recipe. How about if you also want to make it gluten free?

Use the minus sign (-) with exclusionary terms. In database-speak, what you type in is known as a query. To find gluten and nut free recipes, your query would look like “chocolate cake recipe –nuts –gluten.” But what if you want more specific information?

Let’s say you heard about this fantastic chocolate cake recipe on a certain site. You don’t want to wade through pages of irrelevant sites, so you want to tell Google to only look on that specific site, let’s say Hershey’s. Our search for the ultimate nut-free chocolate cake recipe on the Hershey’s site would look like this: “ chocolate cake recipe –nuts.”

Search for Specific Words in Webpage Titles

Let’s say you’re looking for recent reports regarding solar energy installations, or a specific report. “Solar energy reports” will return several thousands of results that you’ll have to wade through. I want to look at reports that list the where more solar installations are occurring. One way to do this would be to search for reports with the keywords in the title. You can do that using the “intitle” switch, like this: intitle solar energy projects. Putting quotes “around the words” in your search makes Google look for them in that order.

Google Can Do Math and Other Calculations for You

Windows has a calculator applet built in. However, it isn’t very powerful; it only does basic calculations. Google can do better and you don’t have to leave the browser. Need to figure out the tip? Just type “how much is the tip for a (insert check amount) restaurant bill?” You’ll be presented with a tip calculator that lets you input the amount of the check, the percentage, and the number of people in the party. You can also use Google’s calculator to figure trigonometric functions such as sine and cosine and their inverses, as well as using degrees or radians in your calculations.

If you travel, Google can also calculate exchange rates. How much is fifty bucks worth in Brazil right now? Google will tell you, plus give you links to several of the most trusted sites in currency exchange. You can then check the rate of other currencies. You can also convert between metric and standard measurements: “110 pounds to kilograms.”

Google Lets You Perform Two Searches at Once

Using our birthday cake example above, imagine that we want a two layer cake, one layer chocolate and the other vanilla. We can search for recipes for both at the same time using the word “or” between our terms. “Chocolate or vanilla cake” gives us recipes for both chocolate and vanilla cakes, as well as chocolate and vanilla frostings.

Specify the Type of Images Shown in Results

Let’s say you want to be the first in your group of friends to post a funny animated image for once. There are Google tips and tricks to let you be very specific about what images you see. Because regular still images are dull, you want an animated image, a GIF, to post on your wall. Follow these steps:

  1. Type in “funny baby pictures” and hit Enter.
  2. On the toolbar under the displayed search term, click “Search tools.”
  3. Another toolbar will open. On it, click “Type.”
  4. In the dropdown menu that appears, select “Animated.”

Google Tips and Tricks

You want the newest, latest and greatest, so you should also use the “Time” menu option to select the newest images first. You’ll be presented with pages of results, with how long ago the image was first detected by the Google system.

Finally Figure Out the Name of THAT Song!

I hate it when I turn the radio on and hear the very end of what sounds like a great song and the DJ introduced it before playing it. You hear just enough of it to get it stuck in your head and you can’t forget it. There’s actually a word for that. It’s called “earworm.” Google helps you dig that earworm out.

Just type a phrase from the song in Google. You can also refine that search by specifying a singer or group to find a specific version of the song. The asterisk (*) tells Google to try and complete a sentence or phrase for you. It works especially well for song titles and covers. Did Van Halen do a cover of Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Streets” song? They sure did.

Specify File Types in Searches

You can use Google to let you only view certain types of files. The “filetype:” switch gives you that power. Narrow your search results to PDF, DOC, or PowerPoint presentations and exclude anything else.

  • “Solar energy installations filetype: ppt” will only show PowerPoint presentations on solar energy installations.
  • “Chocolate cake recipes filetype: DOC” will return cake recipes in Word Doc format.
  • Type “chocolate cake recipes filetype: pdf” to only see recipes in PDF format.
Photo Credit: Keso S