Google Modifiers for Better Searches
These days, whenever we’re looking for information on a topic, we tend to turn to Google, type in a few keywords and see what comes up. But when you’re searching for something specific, it’s sometimes hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. Enter Google search operators: they’re neat little modifiers that you can add to your search query in order to help the search engine understand what you're looking for more clearly.
Whether you’re trying to figure out how many liters are in 2 gallons, find new articles by your favorite writer, or you’re just trying to find your next time waster website (have you gotten tired Cute Overload yet?) there’s a search modifier out there for you.
Check out some of our favorite search operators:
weather: Local Weather
Use it: to find current weather information and four-day forecast for a specified city/town
Type: weather warwick ri
To find: a current weather report for Warwick, RI
“ ” Exact Phrase
Use it: when searching for an exact phrase.
Type: “the most fascinating kind of art”
To find: results that include the exact phrase “the most fascinating kind of art.”
OR Multiple Words
Use it: to find webpages that include either term.
Type: vacation packages Rome OR Venice
To find: results with the words “vacation,” “packages,” and either "Rome" or "Venice"
Use it: to learn the definition of a word
To find: definitions for the word “gamut”
~ Similar Words
Use it: when you’re searching for a word and/or its synonyms
To find: results containing the word “automobile” or “car,” “auto,” “vehicle,” “Toyota,” etc.
related: Related Sites
Use it: to find more sites that are similar to a specific website. It’s a great way to discover new favorite sites.
To find: other websites that are similar to The Onion
stocks: Stock Information
Use it: preceding stock ticker symbols, in order to see stock information.
Type: stocks: AXP
To find: stock information about the American Express Company.
site: Within Specific Site
Use it: to find webpages matching your search term(s) on a specific site
Type: rhode island site:cnn.com
To find: references to Rhode Island on CNN’s website
Or type: site:www.cnn.com
To find: all indexed webpages for cnn.com
author: Articles By
Use it: to find articles by a specific author (use in Google News only)
Type: author:irons Or type: author:”meghan e irons”
To find: news articles by all authors with the name “irons” or only news articles authored by Meghan E. Irons. You can also add a subject/search keyword BEFORE the author modifier in order to find articles from that author about a particular subject. [schools author:”meghan e irons”]
filetype:pdf Find a PDF
Use it: to find a pdf file about your search term. This can be especially useful when you’re looking to find whitepapers or case studies. (You can also substitute other file extensions for “pdf”, and conduct searches for Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
Type: cloud computing filetype:pdf
To find: PDF documents about cloud computing.
– Exclude Specific Word
Use it: to exclude search results that contain a specified word or phrase
Type: oklahoma -city
To find: results about Oklahoma, but not Oklahoma City
movie: Movie Showtimes
Use it: to find movie titles and showtimes near you
Type: movie:warwick, ri
To find: movie theatre listings and showtimes for theaters in and near Warwick, RI
News from Location
Use it: to find articles from specified location (when searching in Google News only)
Type: budget cuts location:ri
To find: articles about budget cuts from websites in Rhode Island
x oz in L:
Use it: to convert units of measure
Type: 50 oz in L, 50 yards in meters, 50g in lbs, 50C in F, 50$ in euros, 50 stone in pounds, etc.
To find: the converted amount
For more advanced tips on using search engines, check out Google Search Features, Time-Saving Search Shortcuts, or SEW's Web Searching Tips.