Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Best Google Search Features

The Best Advanced Google Search Features
(and some you didn't even know about)

Google's Advanced Search: Right next to the basic Search box, click "Advanced Search" to refine your search by file type, results per page, search within a site or domain, language, etc. At the bottom of the first Advanced Search options, click on Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more to bring up additional advanced search criteria like date range of searches, usage rights like whether a document might be licensed for free use, sharable use, or commercial use, as well as Region of your search, SafeSearch (on or off), and even where the key words will show up on the Web pages you search. How many of you have ever dug deep into these advanced search options?

Google Book Search (books.google.com): Helps you find what you're looking for inside of a book and shows you where you can find that book in a bookstore or library.
--Full View Books are "complete" books in the public domain (or non-copyrighted, or shared by the publisher & author) that are fully viewable in the Google Book Search. Public domain books can also be downloaded as a free PDF file.
--Limited Preview Books are books whose publishers or authors have given Google permission to display a limited number of the books' pages.

Google News (news.google.com): Searches over 200 years of news articles. Click on the "News Archive Search" link. When you search Google News, your search results will be sorted by relevance and by timeline.

Google Notebook (google.com/notebook): Free research tool, available to anyone with a Google account, that lets you create a notebook of your online resources, such as Web sites, articles, pictures, quotations, facts, etc. It's like a Web version of the old 3x5 note cards. You must first download and install the free Google Notebook browser add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Then, find a resource you want to remember (such as a Web link or picture). Highlight the passage or Web link. Then, click on the Open Notebook link in the bottom right corner of your Web browser. Click on the Star * icon. This adds the highlighted resource and its Web address. It also adds the date you added the resource to your notebook. To view, edit and organize your online notes, go to google.com/notebook or (within the Google Notebook), click on Tools>>Go to my notebook homepage. Your notes are editable, sharable and deletable.

Google for Educators (google.com/educators): Offers teaching guides for Google's most popular tools, such as basic info about each tool and examples of how educators are using them. Lesson plans are included and videos from Discovery Education that show how to use GoogleEarth and Google SketchUp.

Google Q & A: Just type a question into the basic Google Web search blank. Examples might include "What is the currency of Japan?" or "What is the population of Texas?" The answer will appear at the top of your search results. You can refine your search with additional links given on broader topics like, say, "leg exercises" or "hair treatment."

Google Calculator: Just enter a math problem (for instance, a multiplication problem like 456*87) or a conversion problem (such as 25 liters in gallons). Hit the Search button and the answer will appear in bold. It's better and faster than using a typical calculator because it is also a converter of various currencies and measurements.

Google Dictionary: Type into the search blank define:keyword and instead of keyword, just type in the word you want to define. Google will give you various definitions after pressing the Search button. It's better and faster than using an actual dictionary.

Google Weather: Enter weather: and the city, state, and/or ZIP code. It will give you the 5-day forecast, etc.

Google Movie Showtimes: Enter movie: and the city, state, and/or ZIP code. Various movie theater listings in your area will pop up. Select the movie theater's link for a list of current showtimes.

Google Time: Enter what time is it in [insert location here] Major cities work best.

Custom Google Search Engine: Go to google.com/coop/cse/ and click "Create a Search Engine." Log in with or create a Google account. Type in the search engine's name, description, and key words. Enter the sites you want your custom search engine to search. You can choose between searching only the sites you enter, or emphasizing these sites but allowing users to search the entire Web.

iGoogle: This is the amazing new flexible home page you can customize for Google. Just log in with your Google user name and password, and then have fun dragging and dropping various Google gadgets, such as your GMail, weather forecasts, stock quotes, online bookmarks, and well over 150 others. Just click the "Add Stuff" link to choose from many other Google components for iGoogle.

Google Personalized Search (google.com/psearch): This feature reorders your search results based on your history of past searches, and gives more weight to topics that interest you.

Google Music Search: Just type in the name of a fairly popular musical artist or group. Click on the Search button and it will bring up that artist or group's name in bold face, along with a picture. Example: Pink Floyd or The Beatles. Click on the "More music results for" link in the results page. Google displays album titles and album covers, song titles, user reviews and links to online stores.

Google Phonebook Search: Type in phonebook: then enter the last name of the person you want to find, followed by a comma, and then their ZIP code or city, state. Press the Search button and it will bring up all families in that city or ZIP code that have that last name, alphabetically, along with a Google Maps link to their houses.

Google Shakespeare (books.google.com/googlebooks/shakespeare/): You can now search, read, and download the complete plays of Shakespeare.

Google Recipes: Search any meal ingredient or type of cuisine, along with the word recipes (example: dessert recipes). In the results page drop-down lists, you can refine your search by cuisine, course, or main ingredient. Go to this site: http://tinyurl.com/z985q for a more advanced version that searches over one million recipes.

SearchMash.com: http://www.searchmash.com/ is Google's search engine test bed. Type in your query and hit the Enter key. Click on a URL result and a drop-down list lets you refine your search. Pictures, blogs, videos and Wikipedia results automatically appear at the right of the results page. Immediately you can give feedback at the right as to whether the search results were useful to you. You can also hide details so that only the title and URL show in the results.

Soople.com: Although it has been around for some years now, http://www.soople.com/ is still an amazing exercise in organizing Google's many search tools into a single Web page (and a few additional links like Translate and Calculator). Soople is for anyone who wants to simplify the Google search tools into one basic interface, even better than iGoogle in many ways. You can search Movies, Videos, the full text of books, Music, News, Images, file types (my favorite search), definitions, stocks, and much more...all from a single Web page.

This may be the longest blog post I will ever do, but well worth
it. Many thanks go out to my hero Patrick Crispen for compiling
such amazing Google research over the years. If you've enjoyed this
collection of tools, you have him and Google's talented staff to thank.

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