Sometimes it feels like Google is almost too powerful, and other times it feels like it’s an idiot. There never seems to be a happy medium with this search engine, but luckily the company planned ahead and added some nifty tricks that will help you make far more accurate searches so that the system can return more useful results.

Exclude Words

Have you ever gotten a page full of results that is slightly confused with what you really wanted? There is a way to exclude a word from the results you get.  While this search would make no real sense, it will demonstrate the power of the command.

iPhone 3GS -reviews

This will bring up a list of results about the iPhone 3GS but will omit any results that mention reviews.  This is accomplished by entering a space, a hyphen and the word you wish to exclude.  It is a quick way to narrow down your results when they are being skewed by an unexpected result.

Multiple Choice

By using OR, in all capital letters, you can search on things multiple versions.  For example you could search on:

iPhone OR 3G OR 3GS

This way Google will return results for all the different versions.

Phrase Search

Ever noticed how when you search on a phrase in Google and the words show up here and there in the results?  If you add quotation marks around the phrase Google return results that only show those words in that order.


Use Google to search inside a specific site

While some sites have used Google as their search tool, not all of them have, and there are some lousy search solutions out there.  You can make Google search any site you want by entering the following in the search box:

site:[site name] [subject]

If you want a true example, here is a search on TechnoBuffalo for anything related to the iPhone: iphone

When you do this, you will see that the only search results returned for the site you named.  Can be quite a handy tool when you know the site you saw an article on, but you forgot to bookmark it.


Ever been uncertain of a word, or you want to find all the possible results for a piece of information?  By entering a * in a search it will be treated as a wild card.  Couple this with Phrase Search, and you have a pretty powerful search tool.