I asked a simple question to my audience at a seminar I was hosting: How do you search for something on Google ?
Most people gave me a confused look. “You just type it” seems to be the consensus.
If you agree, that you just simply type what you are looking for and click on then Search button, then you are only partially right.
Google has several cheats / secrets/ tips to help make the search even more meaningful, more powerful and ultimately more relevant.
Update October 2016: BONUS 3 more Google hidden games – see video below!
10 Google TIPS AND TRICKS:
Tip 1. How to search a specific site only:
Most websites have some search facility but these are not always great at retrieving the relevant information.
If you would like to search for information on a specific website only, you can use Google to do just that.
Into the Google search box, just enter:
site:TheTechieGuy.com “Mobile World Congress”
Google will now only search TheTechieGuy.com website for all information related to Mobile World Congress.
Tip 2: How to find free Audio Books:
Some people love to listen to audio books but these can get expensive. Here is a quick way to search for free audiobooks.
Type into Google Search box:
This tells Google to go the website audible.com (a popular Amazon-owned website for audio books) and then find all the ones that are listed at $0.00 (ie free).
Tip 3: How to find free MP3:
If you want to find a downloadable MP3, you can do that with this simple search string. BE AWARE of any legalities/ copyright issue that may arise.
Into Google copy this search string:
-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “eminem”
Here I am searching for Eminem, but of course you can change that for anything.
Tip 4: How to find only recent news & info:
Google keeps everything which sometimes can get in the way of finding information that is relevant today and not out-dated. This is especially important when looking for How To Do info as new versions of software and new models of appliances are launched all the time.
To ensure you get the correct info search what you are looking for as normal.
When the results come up, click on Search Tools button and instead of Any Time select the time frame that you want to search.
You can even search between a date range by selecting Custom range…
Tip 5: How to get around blocked sites:
Sometimes work administrators can be so controlling not allowing you to view important websites. You can try this trick to see if it will get around those pesky administrators.
1. go to http://translate.google.com/
2. On the left side, type in the website URL (including the http://)
3. On the right side, tap on English
4. Click on the underlined URL on the right side and it should open the site
Tip 6: How to search for a Image of the person not the place or item:
If you want to search for a picture of someone called Paris and not the city of Paris France, then type the person’s name at the Google search box and click on Search.
Then select Images to bring up just the images.
Now click on Search Tools
Under Any Type, select Face
Tip 7: How to search for images with Transparent or specific background colours:
If you work with graphics, you need to find free images on the web that you can use in your work. Equally importantly is that these images need to have a transparent background or a specific colour background.
This can be done too with Google Image search.
Simply type in what you are looking for and click on Search
Then click on Images to bring up just the images
Then select Search Tools
Under Any Color, select the background you want
Note that you can also set the Usage Rights:
Tip 8: How to check if what you are buying is real or a scam with image search:
If you want to purchase something off Gumtree or e-Bay but not sure if it is a real seller or someone trying to scam you by using image of the item from another website, then use the Google Image search to try help you.
Right click on the image that you think is suspicious and click on Copy Image URL
Then go to http://images.google.com
Click on the camera icon (at the end of the search box)
Paste the URL in there and click on Search by image
In my example from Gumtree, I searched for the picture from this ad:
and this is what came up:
I clicked on the 2ten Hotel and this is what I find – the EXACT same picture:
Now these could be the same ad and legit and I didn’t investigate further but the ad on Gumtree said Room to rent inside a house. This is a hotel. If I was looking to rent this house, I would be highly suspicious.
Tip 9: How to search for a specific document:
If you are looking for a specific document, you can use the Google Doc to find it. Typically Google Docs will only let you search your own documents, however, if you type:
site:docs.google.com “ford manual”
it will search all publically accessible document for the search term Ford Manual (or anything you type in there).
As a side note: its amazing what people keep online in an open format for you to discover.
Tip 10: Quick Info out of Google:
How to find any city’s Time Zone:
Instead of trying to work out how many hours ahead or behind a city is compared to your own time zone, simply type in:
time in London
Google will display the time now in that city.
How to find a Word Definition:
Need the definition of any word, just type into Google:
How to calculate a maths sum:
Need to work out a sum just type in what you want to work out:
*image from Shutterstock.com