While the vast majority of people know of, and use, Google on a regular basis the search engine itself has only been around since 1997, when creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with the concept. It has since become the most popular search engine in the world, with approximately 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion per year.
Yet, while the search engine is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools in today’s digital world, a lot of its users are unaware of how to use it to its full potential. Here are just a few ways you can use symbols on your keyboard to find the information you’re looking for even easier.
- Refining your search
Putting quotation marks around your search terms forces Google to present results that use exactly that word or phrase. For example, if you type in “Jam tart recipe” other searches relating just to jam or a recipe will be automatically filtered out.
This saves you time looking through websites that might not be directly applicable to what you’re trying to find out. What’s more, often with obscure searches Google will try to bring up any website that might be relevant – telling you it couldn’t find the exact information you’re looking for by stating underneath the website link that this website is missing one of your key search terms.
- Synonyms of results
The use of a tilde ~ is helpful when you want synonyms of a word to appear in the results. For instance, if you were to type in “dancing ~lessons” you’d get search results for dancing classes, coaching, courses, sessions etc. You still get a narrower result than simply typing in dancing lessons as you’re filtering out searches just relating to dancing alone. However, you’d get a wider search than if you just searched for “dancing lessons”, as any teacher who didn’t use this exact phrase on their website would be automatically excluded.
- File type
Filtering a result by file type is really useful for when you want to look for a document like a PDF that you can download – much more easily than an entire webpage. There are a number of different file types that might be useful to filter by including: JPEG, PNG, GIF, PDF, EPS, and PSD to name but a few. To search for one of these files, simply type the search term you are looking for then filetype: an example is given below.
present tense french ER verbs filetype:PDF
All the results given should be in a PDF format, which you can verify is the case in the top right corner of each search result.
If you know that the term you are looking for is related to a specific location you can also use this to your advantage in your Google search. This is particularly helpful if you’re searching for a news story or an event that might have happened in multiple places but there is only one area that concerns you. To trim your search results down by location you’ll need to use a semicolon. Follow the format below for the best results.
Self driving cars:SanFranisco
- Time range
Finally, searching within a specific time range can be useful for a number of reasons, especially if you are looking for something that has occurred more than once. For instance, if you wanted to search for football World Cup winners but only wanted to know who had won between 1960 and 1980, the best thing to do is to use two dots, as shown below.
Football World Cup winners 1960..1980
Will you be trying out any of these tips? Let us know in the comments section. And, if you have any questions or other technology queries, please tweet us at @techtroublesho1.