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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 90: Google Like a Pro

Level Easy

Platform Web

Cost Free

When you search the Web using Google (http://google.com), you’re likely to get tens of thousands of web page results that contain your search terms. But who has time to go through them all? Instead, make the engine narrow down its answers for you. Google’s single, one-line input box conceals a host of functionality that can decrease web search results down to the most relevant pages. Clicking through thousands of links is time-consuming and unnecessary. Get fewer, more relevant search results with Google’s advanced search operators.

You have two ways to issue queries with Google’s advanced methods:

  • Use the Advanced Search form by clicking the small, blue Advanced Search link on the right of the Google search box.
  • Use Google’s advanced search operators inside the single Google search box.

A page full of input boxes (the Advanced Search form) is the easier way to use Google’s advanced operators, but it isn’t the most efficient. The slightly more complicated but more efficient way to search Google is with Google’s operators, which usually appear in the form operator:criteria, and special characters, such as quotation marks, plus and minus signs, and the tilde (~). These advanced techniques enable you to easily fine-tune your query from the single search box.

This hack covers only a few of the most useful Google search query formats; refer to Google’s Help Center (http://google.com/intl/en/help/basics.html) for a Search ...

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