When it comes to the Google search box, you already know the tricks: finding exact phrases matches using quotes like
"so say we all" or searching a single site using
site:wikipedia.com gmail. But there are many more oblique, clever, and lesser-known search recipes and operators that work from that unassuming little input box. Dozens of Google search guides detail the tips you already know, but today we’re skipping the obvious and highlighting our favorite obscure Google web search tricks.
10. Get the local time anywhere
What time is it in Bangkok right now? Ask Google. Enter simply
what time is it to get the local time in big cities around the world, or add the locale at the end of your query, like
what time is it hong kong to get the local time there.
9. Track flight status
Enter the airline and flight number into the Google search box and get back the arrival and departure times right inside Google’s search results.
8. Convert currency, metrics, bytes, and more
Google’s powerful built-in converter calculator can help you out whether you’re cooking dinner, traveling abroad, or building a PC. Find out how many teaspoons are in a quarter cup (quarter cup in teaspoons) or how many seconds there are in a year (seconds in a year) or how many euros there are to five dollars (5 USD in Euro). For the geekier set, bits in kilobytes (155473 bytes in kilobytes) and numbers in hex or binary (19 in binary) are also pretty useful.
7. Compare items with “better than” and find similar items with “reminds me of”
Reader abhishek taps the wisdom of the crowds by searching for like items using key phrases. He writes in:
Simply search for, in quotes: “better than _keyword_”
Some example results:
Results 1 – 100 of about 550 English pages for ” better than WinAmp”.
Results 1 – 57 of 57 English pages for ” better than mIRC”.
Results 1 – 100 of about 17,500 English pages for ” better than Digg”. (Wow. Poor Digg.)
The results will almost always lead you to discovering alternatives to whatever it is you’re searching for. Using the same concept, you can use this trick to discover new music or movies. For example, ” reminds me of _someband_” or “sounds like _someband_” will pull up artists people have thought sounded similar to the one you typed in. This is also a great way to find good, no-name musicians you’d probably never know of otherwise.
Results 1 – 88 of 88 English pages for ” reminds me of Metallica”.
Results 1 – 36 of 36 English pages for ” similar to Garden State”.
Results 1 – 66 of 66 English pages for ” sounds like The Shins”.
Just get creative and you’ll, without a doubt, find cool new stuff you probably never knew existed.
6. Use Google as a free proxy
What, your company blocks that hip new web site just because it drops the F bomb occasionally? Use Google’s cache to take a peek even when the originating site’s being blocked, with
5. Remove affiliate links from product searches
When you’re sick of seeing duplicate product search results from the likes of eBay, Bizrate, Pricerunner, and Shopping.com, clear ’em out by stacking up the
-site:ebay.com -site:bizrate.com -site:shopping.com operator. Alternately, check out Give Me Back My Google (original post), a service that does all that known reseller cleaning up for you when you search for products. Compare this GMBMG search for a Cruzer 1GB flash drive to the regular Google results.
4. Find related terms and documents
Ok, this one’s direct from any straight-up advanced search operator cheat sheet, but it’s still one of the lesser-used tricks in the book. Adding a tilde (
~) to a search term will return related terms. For example, Googling
~nutrition returns results with the words nutrition, food, and health in them.
3. Find music and comic books
Using a combination of advanced search operators that specify music files available in an Apache directory listing, you can turn Google into your personal Napster. Go ahead, try this search for Nirvana tracks:
-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Nirvana". (Sub out Nirvana for the band you’re interested in; use this one in conjunction with number 7 to find new music, too.) The same type of search recipe can find comic books as well.
2. ID people, objects, and foreign language words and phrases with Google Image Search
Google Image search results show you instead of tell you about a word. Don’t know what jicama looks like? Not sure if the person named “Priti” who you’re emailing with is a woman or a man? Spanish rusty and you forgot what “corazon” is? Pop your term into Google Image Search (or type
image jicama into the regular search box) to see what your term’s about.
1. Make Google recognize faces
If you’re doing an image search for Paris Hilton and don’t want any of the French city, a special URL parameter in Google’s Image search will do the trick. Add
&imgtype;=face to the end of your image search to just get images of faces, without any inanimate objects. Try it out with a search for rose (which returns many photos of flowers) versus rose with the face parameter.
What’s your favorite ninja Google search technique? Tell us about it in the comments.
Clever Google Tricks Worth Knowing
Below I have compiled a list of 7 clever Google tricks that I believe everyone should be aware of. Together I think they represent the apex of the grand possibilities associated with Google search manipulation tricks and hacks. Although there are many others out there, these 7 tricks are my all-time favorite. Enjoy yourself.
1. Find the Face Behind the Result – This is a neat trick you can use on a Google Image search to filter the search results so that they include only images of people. How is this useful? Well, it could come in handy if you are looking for images of the prominent people behind popular products, companies, or geographic locations. You can perform this search by appending the code &imgtype;=face to the end of the URL address after you perform a standard Google Image search.
- Examples (notice the differences in each URL):
2. Google + Social Media Sites = Quality Free Stuff – If you are on the hunt for free desktop wallpaper, stock images, WordPress templates or the like, using Google to search your favorite social media sites is your best bet. The word “free” in any standard search query immediately attracts spam. Why wade through potential spam in standard search results when numerous social media sites have an active community of users who have already ranked and reviewed the specific free items that interest you. All you have to do is direct Google to search through each of these individual social media sites, and bingo… you find quality content ranked by hundreds of other people.
3. Find Free Anonymous Web Proxies – A free anonymous web proxy site allows any web browser to access other third-party websites by channeling the browser’s connection through the proxy. The web proxy basically acts as a middleman between your web browser and the third-party website you are visiting. Why would you want to do this? There are two common reasons:
- You’re connecting to a public network at a coffee shop or internet café and you want privacy while you browse the web. You don’t want the admin to know every site you visit.
- You want to bypass a web content filter or perhaps a server-side ban on your IP address. Content filtering is common practice on college campus networks. This trick will usually bypass those restrictions.
There are subscription services and applications available such as TOR and paid VPN servers that do the same thing. However, this trick is free and easy to access from anywhere via Google. All you have to do is look through the search results returned by the queries below, find a proxy that works, and enter in the URL of the site you want to browse anonymously.
4. Google for Music, Videos, and Ebooks – Google can be used to conduct a search for almost any file type, including Mp3s, PDFs, and videos. Open web directories are one of the easiest places to quickly find an endless quantity of freely downloadable files. This is an oldie, but it’s a goodie! Why thousands of webmasters incessantly fail to secure their web severs will continue to boggle our minds.
- Find Music: -inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “Counting Crows”
- Find Videos: -inurl:(htm|html|php) in
title:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(mpg|wmv) “chapelle”
- Find Ebooks: -inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(pdf|doc) “george orwell 1984″
- More info.
5. Browse Open Webcams Worldwide – Take a randomized streaming video tour of the world by searching Google for live open access video webcams. This may not be the most productive Google trick ever, but it sure is fun! (Note: you may be prompted to install an ActiveX control or the Java runtime environment which allows your browser to view certain video stream formats.)
6. Judge a Site by its Image – Find out what a site is all about by looking at a random selection of the images hosted on its web pages. Even if you are somewhat familiar with the target site’s content, this can be an entertaining little exercise. You will almost surely find something you didn’t expect to see. All you have to do is use Google’s site: operator to target a domain in an image search.
7. Results Based on Third-Party Opinion – Sometimes you can get a better idea of the content located within a website by reading how other websites refer to that site’s content. The allinanchor: Google search operator can save you large quantities of time when a normal textual based search query fails to fetch the information you desire. It conducts a search based on keywords used strictly in the anchor text, or linking text, of third party sites that link to the web pages returned by the search query. In other words, this operator filters your search results in a way such that Google ignores the title and content of the returned web pages, but instead bases the search relevance on the keywords that other sites use to reference the results. It can add a whole new dimension of variety to your search results.
- Examples (notice the added variety between search results):
- allinanchor:”google hacks” vs. basic search for Google hacks
- allinanchor:”wordpress exploits” vs. basic search for WordPress exploits
- More info.
Here is a list of my favorite Google advanced search operators, operator combinations, and related uses:
- link:URL = lists other pages that link to the URL.
- related:URL = lists other pages that are related to the URL.
- site:domain.com “search term = restricts search results to the given domain.
- allinurl:WORDS = shows only pages with all search terms in the url.
- inurl:WORD = like allinurl: but filters the URL based on the first term only.
- allintitle:WORD = shows only results with terms in title.
- intitle:WORD = similar to allintitle, but only for the next word.
- cache:URL = will show the Google cached version of the URL.
- info:URL = will show a page containing links to related searches, backlinks, and pages containing the url. This is the same as typing the url into the search box.
- filetype:SOMEFILETYPE = will restrict searches to that filetype
- -filetype:SOMEFILETYPE = will remove that file type from the search.
- site:www.somesite.net “+www.somesite.net” = shows you how many pages of your site are indexed by google
- allintext: = searches only within text of pages, but not in the links or page title
- allinlinks: = searches only within links, not text or title
- WordA OR WordB = search for either the word A or B
- “Word” OR “Phrase” = search exact word or phrase
- WordA -WordB = find word A but filter results that include word B
- WordA +WordB = results much contain both Word A and Word B
- ~WORD = looks up the word and its synonyms
- ~WORD -WORD = looks up only the synonyms to the word