100 Google Search Tricks for the Savviest of Students

In today’s schools, most research is completed online, and Google is a great resource for combing the web. But at the same time, it’s not always easy to find exactly what you want, given that there are usually millions of results — with varying degrees of accuracy. These tricks can help you find the best results, while saving time and making your life easier.

General

These simple tricks will help you get what you want, faster.

  1. Find similar items: Search for "better than" and "reminds me of" with your keyword to find similar items.
  2. Track packages: Type in a tracking number, and you’ll get delivery information.
  3. Find expert information: Search in Google Knol to find expert writings on a topic.
  4. Search by voice: On your iPhone or Android device, you can search Google using just your voice.
  5. Set up alerts: If you have ongoing research in certain subjects, set up alerts so that you’ll be notified of new content.
  6. Check the Wonder Wheel: See related search terms on the Wonder Wheel.
  7. Add your profile: Put your name and image on Google with this trick.
  8. See downed websites: Google saves snapshots of pages that you can access, just using cache:website.com.
  9. Get behind pay walls: Use this hack to get into the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and more.
  10. Learn keyboard shortcuts: Find and pick search results without your mouse.
  11. Do multiple searches at once: Use this site for the power of 4 Googles at once.
  12. Easy spellcheck: Type a word into Google, and see if it suggests a different spelling.
  13. Use shortcuts for previews: Use your keyboard for Google visual previews.
  14. Gather citation information: Use info: to get information about a website.
  15. Search inside websites on Chrome: Use Google Chrome to search within websites from your address bar.
  16. Find trivia answers: Want to know the Star Wars release date? Just Google it, and you’ll get a short answer with sources.
  17. See a site in images: Plug site:examplewebsite.com in to Google Image Search to see the images on a website.

Reference

These tricks make it easy to use Google as a reference tool.

  1. Get definitions: Find definitions for words, abbreviations, and more using define:.
  2. Get a timeline: With view:timeline, plus a keyword, you can get a timeline for the topic.
  3. Find numbers: Add phone to your search, and Google will look for anything that looks like a phone number.
  4. Do fact searches: Population, location, motto, and more are all available as Google fact searches.
  5. Glossary: With a word, plus ~glossary, you can find glossaries, lists, and dictionary entries for the word.
  6. Conversion: Google’s search makes it easy to convert any unit of measurement.
  7. Enter calculations into Google: You can use Google’s built in calculator to find the solution to calculations.
  8. Phonebook: Search for people, businesses, and more with Google.
  9. Track stocks: Keep track of stocks, and see charts and statistics by entering a ticker or stocks: company name.
  10. Use a variety of languages: Google Desktop Search is available in a variety of different languages.
  11. Translate with images: Query a foreign language word in Google’s image search to find out what that word means.
  12. Look up public data: Searches like "population texas" will return fact results.
  13. Identify things with Google Image Search: If you have no idea what a jicama is, just plug the word into Google’s Image Search, and you’ll see it before your very eyes.

Travel & Geography

Whether you’re hitting the road, skies, or the movies around the block, these Google tricks can help you out.

  1. Look up sunrise and sunset: Type in sunrise and a city to find the sunrise or sunset in a location.
  2. Check local time: To find out the time in any given city, just type "what time is it" + the city name.
  3. Check local weather: You can find out the temperature and forecast for a city just by using Google.
  4. Look up area codes: Enter an area code into Google to find out where it is and see a map of the area.
  5. Flight status: Just enter your airline and flight number into Google to find out the status.
  6. Follow sports: Use the names of two playing nations or teams in order to find out scores.
  7. Find movies: Type in movie: movie name city, state or zip to find local listings.

Shopping

Get the best deals on books and more using these Google tricks.

  1. Find toll free numbers: Get toll free numbers by Googling "name" customer support, or "name" 800 OR 877 OR 888 OR 866.
  2. Search inside a store: Use the store: operator to limit product search results.
  3. Compare prices: Enter a product near a certain location, and you’ll see prices by location.
  4. Get local business coupons: Check out Google Local for printable coupons.
  5. "product name" sucks: Search out bad reviews by adding sucks to your search terms.
  6. Search all of Craigslist: Find items in any city with this custom engine.

Better Results

Sick of finding millions of results that have little to do with what you actually need? Use these tricks.

  1. Use "or": Look up multiple keywords at once by making use of the "or" operator.
  2. Keep spam out of blog results: Follow these steps to get the best blog results in your search.
  3. Find faces: Use the code &imgtype=face to limit your image search results to faces.
  4. Do comparisons: Search for "better than" for comparisons.
  5. Find easy to read sites: Google Accessible Search helps you find pages that don’t use a lot of style and images.
  6. Use as many keywords as you need: When it comes to keywords, the more, the better.
  7. Wildcard: Use * to leave blanks in a phrase, such as [Senator X voted * on * bill].
  8. Get related search terms: Put a ~ in your search term for related items.
  9. Find linked pages: Look for pages that link to the one you’re on, and you can find extended information and commentary.
  10. Do a proximity search: Use the AROUND operator to find pages that have words or phrases near each other.
  11. Use quotes: By putting quotes around a phrase, you’ll find that exact phrase, rather than the words separately or together.
  12. Find only sites with images: Use Google’s search tools to select only websites that offer an image of what you’re looking for.
  13. Exclude terms: With the -keyword operator, you can keep out what you’re not interested in.
  14. Find document types: With the filetype operator, you can find certain file types.
  15. Find linked content: Search allinanchor: and you’ll find only content that has been linked by websites.
  16. Get rid of duplicate search results: Use "-site:website.com" to keep results from specific websites out of your results.
  17. Limit searches to a certain site: Using site:, you can look on only a particular site.
  18. Search numerical ranges: With the .. operator, you can find results between different numbers or dates.

Fine Tuning

Use these search tricks to get your results down to the very best.

  1. Search by reading levels: Limit results to advanced reading levels for your next research project.
  2. Limit time: Categorize your search based on time for the best results.
  3. Check out Show Options: Use Show Options to refine your search.
  4. Display a number of different country results: This trick will keep specific country searches from showing up.
  5. Turn off Google Suggest: Stop auto-completion of popular queries by turning off Google Suggest.
  6. Zero in on Wikipedia: Add the word info or information to your query, and you’ll get a Wikipedia link at the top of your results.
  7. Get books electronically: Search for "title of book" filetype:pdf to find electronic books.
  8. Find educational results: Get results only from .edu by using site:.edu.
  9. Search in a URL: Type inurl:term to find results with your term in the URL.
  10. Search Google without Google: Take away results from Google sites like Blogger by using this search engine.
  11. Custom Search Engine: Select your language, sites, and more in your own custom Google.
  12. Keep out synonyms: To make sure Google doesn’t provide results for synonyms, put + before words.

Media

Scour Google for videos, books, and more using these tricks.

  1. Find only playable videos: Limit your search to playable videos by using playable:true.
  2. Browse open webcams: Check in on webcams around the world with this trick.
  3. Search inside books: You can use Google to go inside books.
  4. Find ebooks: Search for books using this trick.
  5. Search by style: Find photos, clip art, line drawings, and more.
  6. Find quality free stuff: Use Google in conjunction with social media sites to find stock images, templates, and more.
  7. Find full size images: Look for full size images with this trick.
  8. Search song lyrics: Use this trick to find the lyrics to songs.
  9. Find music and books: Using a specific search operator recipe, you can find music and other files on Apache directory listings.
  10. Search video dialogue: Google Video allows you to search for text within a TV show’s dialogue.
  11. Find sized images: Search Google for specific image sizes, like icons or wallpapers.
  12. Filter by color: You can filter your image search based on color and more.

Scholar

These tricks make it easy to search Google Scholar like a pro.

  1. Follow library links: Check next to results to find out if it’s available at your school library.
  2. Search court opinions: Search by state, federal, and more.
  3. Always search through a school proxy: Using your school’s proxy will ensure that you find library research databases, full text, and more.
  4. Use "cited by": Be sure to check cited works, and you’ll cut down on your research time.
  5. Bibliography manager: Add citations automatically to a number of different publications with the Bibliography Manager.
  6. Find paper topics: Brainstorm research paper topics on Google Scholar.
  7. Search by author: Increase your results by using the author’s initials or last name.
  8. Search journals: Find articles in a particular publication using advanced search.
  9. Locate citations: Find citations that work for your research, then find the full document at your library.
  10. Limit results by date: Pay attention to when the articles were written.

Security, Privacy & Legal

These tricks keep your privacy safe and more.

  1. Find reusable content: Search for Creative Commons content with advanced search.
  2. Remove your web history: Go into Google itself to remove your search history.
  3. Check your security with Google: With Google, you can do a security assessment of your own webpage.
  4. Delete history everywhere: Delete all of the searches you’ve ever made.
  5. Use Google as a proxy: If your school blocks certain sites, just look for it on Google and view it through a cache.

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