Google Apps: Search Operators

Search Operators – Make your Google searches more efficient

When you type a word into a Google Search bar and press Enter, you activate a complex list of mathematical algorithms that Google uses to try and return the results that will best fit with what you are trying to find. However, Google has also designed their algorithms to respond to certain ‘search operators’ that you can use to increase their efficiency and return better results. Here are a few examples:

  • Operator Quotation marks “search query” instructs Google to search the web for this specific phrase or grouping of words. Ex. “I have a dream”
  • Operator site ( site:.edu ) instructs Google to search for your key word(s) on sites that only end with a specific domain, such as .edu. Ex. healthcare site:.gov
  • Operator minus sign (-) instructs Google to search for your key word(s) but also exclude sites that contain another word. Ex. jaguar speed -car

There are many other search operators that will help you expand, exclude, and specify your search parameters. There are even operators that will define words, convert mathematical measurements, and even tell you what the current temperature is in Timbuktu (click here).  You can also use Google’s Advanced Search interface to help you refine your search parameters.

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