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Google Search Engine Tips and Tools By Charlie Vanderford, Greater Tampa Bay PC User Group Google is arguably the world’s most popular Internet search engine. (http://google.com) But if all you do is enter a single word and press Enter or click “Google Search” to search from that web site, you are missing some of Google’s best features. In addition to searching web pages Google will also search the Internet for graphics images (pictures), 22 years worth of historic messages in the Usenet newsgroups, search the Internet using a directory structure where you choose from a topic listing, and will search for the latest U.S. and national news headlines from hundreds of sources that are updated to the minute. To access one of these search areas, just click the button above the search line. If you are new to Google, click on the “Preferences” link to choose your own setup. From this page you can choose the language you want Google to display answers, set the number of results that are displayed from a search, and force Google to open a new web browser when you click on one of the search links. My personal favorites are to have Google display the maximum number of search results (100) and open a new browser window each time I select a page to view. Note that you must have your computer set to accept cookies if you change anything on the “Preferences” page. When searching the web most of us either press “Enter” or click on “Google search”. But there’s another button adjacent to the “Google search” button. Clicking on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button will perform the search, but will also go directly to the first web site listed in the search results page. Google has many special syntaxes you can use during your searches. Some are listed below. site: allows you to narrow your search by either a site or a top-level domain. For example adding “site:edu” after your search word(s) will limit your search results to just educational institutions. link: returns a list of pages linking to the specified URL. For example enter “link:www.google.com” and you’ll be returned a list of pages that link to Google. Or enter “link:gtbpcug.org” to see a list of sites that link to our user group’s web site. daterange: limits your search to a particular date or range of dates that a page was indexed. (works with Julian dates only) phonebook: looks up phone numbers. For example “phonebook: john doe ca” will list all of the john doe’s in California (limited to 600 per listing). “8005551212” will list the phone book listing (name, address, city, state, etc.) of that number. Both business and residential phone listings will be displayed. rphonebook: looks up only residential phone listings bphonebook: looks up only business phone listings The designers of Google are constantly working to update their site and add new features. You can test some of those features by clicking on “Services & Tools” from the Google home page. Try “froogle.google.com” to search for product pricing from Internet stores. Click on Google Catalogs to search and browse for company mail-order catalogs online. Try the other links on that web page. There are MANY other features of the world’s most popular search engine. All are featured in a book that was released in December 2002 titled, “Google Hacks” by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest, published by O’Reilly.
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