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Some of the search queries that lead to this blog really amaze/ perplex/ puzzle me and sometimes even embarrass me. Though yes, sometimes the search queries are very smart! Following a post by Dr Aurelie Thiele that echoed the same sentiment (minus the embarrassment I guess), I decided to index some BASIC Google searching tips that I use frequently which I think could be of help. Even if you are using most of them or some of them you can add some which you have not been using often and also suggestions (for operators, not essentials) would be most welcome.

Google is by far the most popular search engine on the Internet, accounting for about 80 percent of all the search queries made on it. Google has become highly popular not only because of its searching abilities but also because of the vast number of querying options that it comes with. Obviously with so many functions most of us miss out on them, and some that we miss out on turn out to be really very helpful. Also with such powerful searching capabilities there is a very valid concern for privacy violations, as unsuspecting sites can keep out private information open for smart searches, but let’s not talk about that in this post. Maybe sometime later.

I will also not be talking about the various services that Google offers, though they can largely change the output of a particular search. I would leave that part out.

Google Calculator:

Basic Operators: + (Addition); (Subtraction); * (Multiplication); / (Division); % of (Percentage of); ^ (Raised to a Power).

Calculator Examples: Note the examples for some cool ones.

75% of 150;    12^13;    87 in hexadecimal;     (2+i)*(3+i);    the speed of light in knots;    m_moon;

r_saturn;    h;    kbit/s in bit/s;    40USD to RUR;    sqrt(-9);    200 pounds*780 feet in calories.

I would leave it on the reader to try more interesting queries taking ques from the above if they were of any help at all.

Other Essentials and search features and tips can be obtained from the page I linked to.

First thing to remember is that one should not search on Google thinking it understands human language. The main point is to search for key words and to search them using appropriate queries instead of asking Google a question. This “question” type of searching can work for simple questions such as “What is Dino?” However it is difficult to get good results if we are looking for more specific results.

Google Query Operators: Here I index some of the most commonly used and most useful query operators. Skillful use of such operators can lead to very interesting results that otherwise would have been rather elusive. These are common knowledge, but no harm in indexing them again I suppose?

1. site: This restricts the search results to sites within the specified domain;

Example: site:wikipedia.org vector will find all sites containing the word vector within the *.wikipedia.org domain.

2. intitle: This restricts results to only those which have the specified phrase or word in their title.

Example: intitle:Hilbert Space will find all sites containing the word Hilbert in the title and the word Space in the text.  Suppose you want to search for BOTH the words Hilbert and Space to be in the title then the search query would be intitle:Hilbert intitle:Space

3. allintitle: This is an equivalent of the above. A phrase following the operator “allintitle” would return results that would give all of them in the title.

4. inurl: This restricts the results to only those sites which contain this phrase in their URL.

Example: inurl:Hilbert Space will find all sites that have the phrase “Hilbert” in their URL and “Space” in the text. Again if we wish to have both the words “Hilbert” and “Space” in the URL then we can use the query inurl:Hilbert inurl:Space

5. allinurl: This is an equivalent of the above.

Example: allinurl:Hilbert Space will find out all the sites that have both the phrases “Hilbert” and “Space” in the URL.

6. filetype, ext: This operator returns results restricted to only documents of the specified type.

Example: filetype:pdf Voronoi will restrict the search results to only pdfs which have the phrase “Voronoi” in the text.

7. link: This operator returns all the sites that contain links to the specified site.

Example: link:www.mit.edu will return all sites in results that contain at least one link to http://www.mit.edu

8. numrange: This operator restricts the search results to documents containing numbers only within a specified range.

Example: numrange:1123-3452 Voronoi will restrict results to only those sites that contain a number in between 1123 and 3452 and ALSO contain the word “Voronoi” in the text.

9. inanchor: This operator restricts the results to websites that contain links with the specified phrase in their descriptions.

Example: inanchor:wildboar will return results with links whose descriptions contains the word wildboar.

10. allintext: This returns sites, documents with the specified phrase only in the document text and NOT in the URL, title or link description.

Example: allintext:”Weighted Regression” will return results that have the phrase “Weighted Regression” in their text.

11. safesearch: This returns sites containing the specified phrase without returning mature material.

12. define: This returns a list of definitions for the specified phrase.

Example: define: publish returns a list of definitions of the phrase “define”.

13. related: Returns results similar to the specified website.

Example: related:www.example.com returns results websites which are related to http://www.example.com

14. +: This returns results that will contain the phrase specified more frequently.

Example: +Onion will return results by the number of occurrences of the word “Onion”. 

15. – : This returns results that will NOT contain the specified phrase.

Example: -Onion will return results that will not contain the word “Onion”.

16. “” : The quotes serve as delimiters for the search phrase. This will return results only containing the specified phrase.

Example: “Voronoi Analysis” will only return results that contains the phrase “Voronoi Analysis”.

17. . : The dot operator serves as a wild card for a SINGLE CHARACTER.

Example: Angry.Fox will return results containing the phrases “Angry Fox”, “Angry7Fox”,”Angry-fox”, “AngryXFox” and so on.

18. * : This serves as a wildcard for a word.

Example: Angry*Fox will return results having phrases such as Angry the fox, Angry A Fox, Angry Why Fox and so on.

19. | : Logical OR. Returns results that contain either of the two specified phrases.

Example: “Paul Erdos” | “Carl Sagan” will return results that contain either the phrase “Paul Erdos” or “Carl Sagan” or both.

The above was a brief list of some of the most basic query operators that can optimize search results very significantly.

There are many more queries that are suited only for advanced users. I will not index them here as I don’t think there is the need. I might provide them on email but only at my own discretion.  Feel free to e-mail me.

These Queries fall under the following categories:

1. Queries for locating Web-Servers.

2. Queries for locating standard post installation web server pages.

3. Queries for application generated system reports.

4. Queries for Error messages.

5. Queries for locating network devices.

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