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How's your Google Fu?

Submitted by Kady on June 9, 2015 - 11:40am
Pie Operators

A long, long time ago, on an internet vastly dissimilar from that we know today, a little company named Google came up with a new way of searching the web. Unlike other search engines of the time, their search portal was not cluttered with links to other places, or news stories, and you could not customize your experience to show only the spam content that was interesting to you.

It was just a box. A lovely text box in the middle of the page, beneath the vivid primary colors of the Google logo.

Nowadays, Google has become a proprietary eponym (a brand name that's been generalized... like Kleenex® or Rollerblade®.) for the more general "search the web."

But how good are your Google skills? Do you always find what you're Googling for? Did you know that there's more to the Google algorithms than just the search box?

This mythical antediluvian Google site also had a few tiny little text links, one of which was "Advanced Search." From there, you could access secret extra tools (like a spy!) to be more specific in your searches.

You can find a friendly list of some basic operators on Google's support page.

I'm going to tell you about a few of my favorites.

Let's start with basic math. Say you're looking for peach cobbler. You don't want pages that are JUST about peaches, nor do you want pages about people who make and repair shoes. Google's pretty good, and typing peach cobbler into their search box will probably get you lots of peach cobbler results before you get the other two, but if you want to be extra sure, you can type peach+cobbler.

Nowadays that one is not quite as useful as it once was, but still good to have in your back pocket. The next operator, however, is still very useful, and that would be old mister minus (-). You can use the minus sign to subtract from your searches. Maybe you're not picky about the flavor of your pie, you just want to find some awesome pie. So you Google for "pie"... and get a bunch of pizza joints. Pizza has its place, of course, but it is not the answer to your current question. If you type pie -pizza into the search box, that should give you pie results, while eliminating pizza.

Another of my favorites is the conversion that's built right into Google's search bar. Go type "15 grams in oz" into the search bar, and see what happens. Or how about "35 degrees Celsius in Fahrenheit" (Man, that's HOT!). It works for cooking, too. Can't remember how many tablespoons are in a quarter cup? Google can tell you. Nifty, right?

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go get some delicious pie.

P.S., you can still access the Advanced Search Google Form in all its glory. Use it for searching for a month or two, and I bet the operators will become second nature. You'll have your black belt in Google Fu in no time!