How to Use Advanced Google Search Techniques to Resolve your Investigations

If you’re like me, you probably use Google many times a day. But, chances are, unless you are a technology geek, you probably still use Google in its simplest form. If your current use of Google is limited to typing a few words in, and changing your query until you find what you’re looking for, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way – and it’s not hard to learn. On the other hand, if you are a technology geek, and can use Google like the best of them already, then I suggest you bookmark this article of Google search tips. You’ll then have the tips on hand when you are ready to pull your hair out in frustration when watching a neophyte repeatedly type in basic queries in a desperate attempt to find something.
The following Google tips are based on my own experience and things that I actually find useful. The list is by no means comprehensive. But, I assure you that by learning and using the 12 tips below, you’ll rank up there with the best of the Google experts out there. I’ve kept the descriptions of the search tips intentionally terse as you’re likely to grasp most of these simply by looking at the example from Google anyways.

12 Expert Google Search Tips
  1. Explicit Phrase:
         Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing. Instead of      just typing Bill Clinton into the Google search box, you will      likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this,      simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.
Example: "Bill Clinton"
  1. Exclude Words:
         Lets say you want to search for content about a certain phone number, but      you want to exclude any results that contain the term eBay. To do      this, simply use the "-" sign in front of the word you want to      exclude.
Example Search: 555-1212 -eBay
  1. Site Specific Search:
         Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a      certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search      feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use      the "" modifier. This will allow you to search      the entire site for the given search term.
Example: "ipod 32gb touch"
Example: "Brittany Spears"
  1. Similar Words and Synonyms:
         Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but want to include      results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the      "~" in front of the word.
Example: "Apple Ipad 32gb" ~Ipod 32 gb
  1. Specific Document Types:
         If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use      the modifier "filetype:". For example, you might want to find      only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing.
 Example: "internet marketing" filetype:ppt

  1. This OR That:
         By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms      specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more      terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be      capitalized).
Example: internet marketing OR advertising
  1. Phone Listing:
         Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know who      it is. If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google      using the phonebook feature.
Example: phonebook:617-555-1212 (note: the provided number does not work – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).
  1. Area Code Lookup:
         If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just      enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.
Example: 617
  1. Numeric Ranges:
         This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find      results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using      the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and      Y are two periods.) This type of search is useful for years (as shown      below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.     
Example: president 1940..1950
  1. Stock (Ticker Symbol):
         Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give      you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.
Example: GOOG
  1. Calculator:
         The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up      the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google.
Example: 48512 * 1.02
  1. Word Definitions:
         If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply      use the "define:" command.
Example: define:plethora
Hope this list of Google search tips proves useful in your future Google searches. If there are any of your favorite Google expert power tips that I’ve missed, please feel free to share them in the comments. If you would like to learn more about using this powerful tool you can check out the Social Networking Investigations Webinar at the McAfee Institute.


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