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Google Smarter

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Google Smarter

It's only a matter of time before you can upload the entire Internet to your brain. Until that glorious day, these tricks will save you some keystrokes.

Get good sources. Add "site:edu" or "site:gov" to limit your search to school or government domains. To target specific sites, type, say, "neutrino"

Convert currency and units. Easy: "12 parsecs in light years" or "12 dollars in euros," for example.

Check your stocks. Take a deep breath, then enter a ticker symbol to see a real-time quote.

Narrow by file type. To find PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets, or books scanned into PDFs, add "filetype:ppt" (or any other extension) to your query.

Search ranges. Use two periods between two numbers, like "Wii $200..$300."

Expect flight delays. Type in the airline, then your flight number.

Define yourself. To get the definition for a word, just type the word define: followed by the word. Include the colon and space.

The above was contributed by Damon Tabor for Wired magazine. However, this wiki is editable by anyone. If you want to add your own Google search tool tips, log in and add them below.

Find the Answer to the Secret of Life. Ask Google directly for the answer to the secret of life. The answer might surprise those of you who haven't read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Use the Correct Search Type. There are three types of Google search keywords: [exact], "phrase" and broad terms. Exact queries are surrounded by brackets and search for the query in the exact order in which they were entered. Phrase keywords are between quotation marks and look for the terms in any order but used together. Broad terms are the default search type and results are based on any use of the keywords on the page.

Understand a Google Search URL. You can write your own search URL without having to visit Google first. Take this example:

Everything after the "/search/" portion is fair game for editing. Take a look:

  • /q=search -- this is the search query. All spaces are converted to plus signs (+) in order to not break the URI.
  • &hl=en -- This is the language. You can use any standard internet language code here. You can find a list of internet language codes online.
  • &btnG=Search -- This does nothing except tell Google you pressed the Google search button instead of pressing Return on your keyboard.
  • &dq=Display+Query -- This little known trick will change the query in the search box of the page to whatever you'd like. The search results will remain the same. For instance, take a look at the search box over the results for "incomparable genius."

Little known search operators. Did you know the asterisk (*) can be used if you don't know exactly how to spell a word. For instance, "contagiou*" will match all articles containing words that start in "contagiou." Give it a try, it's contagious. Other operators include the pipe code (|) which acts as the word "OR." For example, a search for "this|that" will return search results for "this" OR "that."

This article is borrowed from's How-To Wiki which is editable so you might want to have a look and see if anyone has added anything since I grabbed it. You might check out the discussion too.

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