Google is a powerful search engine that can provide us millions of results in less than half a second. While Google now has plenty of other tools for different uses (Google Documents, Drive, Calendar, Photos, Sites, etc.), its search engine is still its most popular offering. No matter what information you wish to find, you will be able to locate it using the mighty search engine within a fraction of a second, or even before hitting the blue magnifying glass icon, as the search engine tries to offer suggestions. However, you might not be aware of the different ways by which you could maximize your use of the powerful search engine:
Using quotation marks will allow you to find the exact words you are looking for. This is especially useful if you are trying to find a specific line of text from an article, book, or song lyrics. There are certain lines of text that are common, so typing in these words without quotation marks will lead to Google providing you less specific results.
In doing this, it could take you a while to find the specific line of text that you are looking for. If you were looking for the title of a song, all you need to do is type in some of the words you can remember, such as:
“What am I supposed to say when I'm all choked up and you're OK?” (in quotes)
Google will then show you results with those text in the quotation marks only.
You can also use either/or symbols (this being the pipe symbol, or | in your keyboard) to indicate that you are looking for any of the words that are separated by the symbol. If for example you were looking for Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake or Justin Smith, all you need to do is type in:
This will generate results for pages containing the names Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and Justin Smith. You could also use the pipe symbol for multi-word searches (e.g. Christina|Anna Applegate|Aguilera|Cruz).
Minus (-) Sign
It can be difficult to sift through page results containing information we don’t need. If you keep finding these pages, tell Google what you don’t want to find in the search results by using the not function, or the minus (-) sign. If you were trying to find coffee shops in Oregon but wish to omit Starbucks from the search results, all you need to do is type:
Oregon coffee shop -Starbucks
Google will then provide you a list of coffee shops in Oregon that are not Starbucks.
Tilde (~) Symbol
You can also use the tilde (~) symbol to find synonyms, or words that are similar in meaning to the keyword or phrase you are looking for. If you’re looking for a cheap iPad, all you need to do is type in
Google will then show you results for “inexpensive” or “affordable” iPads.
Wildcard (*) SymbolUsing the wildcard symbol (or asterisk *) comes in handy if you want Google to fill in the blanks. For example, if you’re looking for the lyrics to a song and you couldn’t understand some of the singer’s words, simply type out the words you can remember. For example, type in:
“And who do you think you are? *Collecting your jar of hearts and tearing love apart”
That will show you results telling you that the line in place of the wildcard is “Runnin' 'round leaving scars”, and that the song is Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts.
Knowing how to extend Google’s functionality means helping Google help you find exactly what you are looking for – without compromising your time and energy. Remember to use these symbols if you want to find more accurate results. All of these symbols can also be combined.