With mobile phones all but superglued to our palms, us modern folk have grown accustomed to having all the information in the world at our fingertips. Or so we thought.
Sometimes, the overwhelming volume of information that comes up in a Google search result can actually prevent us from finding what we need. We haven’t got time to sift through vague, unrelated articles when we’re looking for something specific, have we? If we did, we’d go to the library.
Well, never fear. Inspired by Bright Side, we’re about to share 10 Google search hacks that will radically alter the way you engage with everybody’s favorite search engine. Turn trawling into timesaving!
1. Cast the net wide with synonyms
If you’re looking for a wide range of sources on a given subject, then the “~” symbol is your new best friend. Use it before your chosen synonym and you’ll get search results that cover more topics than your key phrase dictates.
“Healthy ~food,” for example, will reap pages of results about healthy eating, healthy restaurants in your local area, and even recipes for healthy meals. Give it a try.
2. Be specific by using quotation marks
Maybe specificity is what you’re after. In that case, frame your key phrase with quotation marks and only get results that include your key phrase exactly as it’s written.
It’s great for lyrics (we’ve all been there). For example, if you type in the words somewhere over the rainbow without quotation marks, then the search engine will go wild. Every website that includes these words in any order will snag a place in the search results.
Alternatively, if you type “somewhere over the rainbow” then the search engine understands that you are specifying a word order and it won’t be long before the lyrical stylings of Yip Harburg are decorating your computer screen. Success!
3. Use “or” if you’re unsure
We’re busy; we can’t be expected to remember every tiny detail of every piece of information we need to start our search.
That’s where “or” comes in. By typing a few guesses into the search bar and separating them with either “or” or the “|” symbol, Google will give you enough results to make an informed decision. Maybe you did mean Jennifer Lawrence and not Jennifer Aniston after all.
4. Harness the magic of the asterisk
Sometimes, you might even forget a key word. Another way to replace missing information is to enter your search criteria with an asterisk in place of the word you can’t remember. For example, typing “chronicles of” plus the “*” symbol will bring up a number of results, hopefully including the one you’re looking for.
In this case, it was The Chronicles of Narnia (bonus points if you guessed that correctly!).
5. Indicate multiple missing words
Okay, let’s be real; sometimes we forget entire phrases. To compensate, just type the first and last words, and sandwiched between them type “AROUND” plus the approximate number of missing words.
This one’s tricky, so here’s an example. ”I wandered AROUND(4) cloud” will find you precisely what you’re looking for: William Wordsworth’s beautiful lyric poem, of course!
6. Specify a time frame
If you’re writing a history paper or brushing up on your knowledge of the Roman Empire, you might need to search for information about a specific period of time. Did you know that you can add a time frame to a Google search query by using ellipses?
If you’re lucky enough to be spending your time exploring underwater curiosities from the 19th century, for example, then simply type “mysterious underwater discoveries 1800…1900” into the search bar, sit back, and enjoy!
7. Find a title or URL
If you need to locate the title of an article, type “intitle:” before your key word with no spaces in between. To find a specific URL, type “inurl:” and your key word instead. Easy.
8. Relocate a page within a website
So you’ve read something, you loved it, and now you want to show your friends. You remember the website, but the title of the article escapes you. That’s okay! You can search within the website to save yourself a lot of time.
Simply type the address of the site followed by your key word or words and watch the magic happen.
9. Discover new reading material
We’re all familiar with the experience of falling down the rabbit hole, internet-wise. But sometimes, something genuinely sparks your interest.
If you’ve read and loved an article and want to find similar reading material elsewhere, then here’s what you do. Type “related:” plus the address of the site you love with no spaces in between, and you’ll be treated to a long list of tailor-made recommendations.
10. Eliminate criteria from your search
The (very literal) minus symbol can help you eliminate non-essential items from your search. If you want to locate some interesting books, for example, but you have no desire to buy one, then simply affix the “-” symbol to the word buy, as in the picture below.
With these 10 expert hacks, those hours spent Google-searching yourself into a frenzy will fast become a thing of the past. If you’re feeling generous, why not also share these tips with your friends and co-workers for popularity points?
Google hacks are game-changing.