Family and home

Googling faster than your kids can say “Mommy”


We live in fast world of instant messaging, instant cooking, and instant coffee. When things get slow, we get frustrated, anxious, and, at times, quite irritated.

I mean, there have been times where my Netflix show takes some time to load. I sit there, waiting, and wondering, if it EVER WILL. I mean, ideally, I want it to start as soon as I click a button. If it doesn’t, I then begin to decry the technology to whomever will listen and ponder alternatives to feed my entertainment habit. Mind you, I work on computers… I know they can be slow. I even know why. But, when I want something Now, am accustomed to having it NOw, and it doesn’t happen NOW… I’m in the group of those who feel these things should be as quick as light.

Then, we get to experience the joy that is trying to find good information on the Internet.

While my Internet is usually pretty fast, the results are what slow me down. I scream, usually inwardly, at the screen.

“Oh my goodness.  That’s NOT what I wanted.”

“This isn’t the information I need.”

“This is all crap. CRAP, I say!”

Usually I find myself on sites that don’t give me the information I want, or not enough of the information I need. Perhaps that is why one of my favorite sites is Wikipedia — it’s comprehensive… even if it can be edited by anyone and they can add whatever they want to put in at that moment.

Regarding getting the wrong information… did you get to this page using one of my search phrases below? Muhaha!! You’ve been Rickrolled. Don’t know what that is and don’t particularly care to click that unknown link? Well, you’ve been search hijacked, my friend, and I am the winner. Don’t worry, It happens to the best of us.

Okay, I digress. How do you find exactly what you want while you are searching on Google without having to wade through tons of uninformative, arcane, or apocryphal information? Here are some tips:

Want to search for a specific phrase? Use Quotations.

  • e.g. omaha “haunted houses”.
    • To search for an exact phrase, use quotations around a set of words. In my example, the search will return pages with the exact phrase haunted houses, instead of pages where the two words are separated.

What to search within a specific site? Use site:.

  • e.g.: huhot
    • This searches the site and returns any page containing the word huhot.

Want to search for a specific file type? Use filetype:.

  • e.g.: dinner place setting filetype:pdf
    • This searches for my search phrase, but only returns results that are pdf files. That can be done for any file type.
  • e.g.: filetype:pdf
    • This searches for all files that are in pdf format.

Want to exclude something from your search? Use the dash.

  • e.g.: apple recipes -applesauce
    • This searches for all apple recipes, but the resulting page should not contain the word applesauce.
  • Be forewarned that Google images doesn’t seem to care about you negating words from your search.

Can’t think of that word that goes in that phrase? Use an asterisk.

  • e.g.: peas in a *
    • This is similar to using “peas in a”, but could allow for you to use the asterisk in any part of the phrase.

Want results from two separate items, but not necessarily on the same page? Use OR.

  • e.g.: september 2014 coupons CVS OR Walgreens
    • This returns pages that have coupons listed for September 2014. This page may be contain the word CVS, Walgreens, or both.

Use inurl to find pages that contain your phrase in their url.

  • e.g.: couponing inurl:edu filetype:pdf
    • This will return pages that contain the word couponing; have edu in their url, which are presumably educational institutions; and also have a file type of pdf.
  • inurl:huhot
    • This returns all of the links on that contain the word huhot.

Need to quickly define a word? Use define:.

  • e.g.: define:couponing
    • This awesome feature gives you the definition, origin, and whatever else Google can pull for it. Personally, however, I use the Google Dictionary extension in Google Chrome, which gives me results much faster… and from the same source.

Need to find something for a specific date?

  • Search for your phrase. Say… “Huhot Coupons”. On the far right of the navigation bar under the search box, select “Search tools”. Drop down the “Any time” link, and select how you want to search. This is especially useful for coupons!

Final example: easy “new york cheesecake” recipe -cherries

  • This searches for the exact phrase, new york cheesecake, excluding any pages with words in-between those. This search also excludes pages containing cherries (although image results can fool you), and includes pages containing easy or recipe.

Things of note:

  • Search operators can go anywhere in your search phrase, but are easier to spot and modify when you put them at the end.
  • Although some of the operators allow a space after the colon, a great majority do not… so it works better to never add a space after the colon.

Don’t want to type these things out? Use Google’s advanced search, which will do it all for you, and a little more.