Dozens of Little Known Features in Google Search That You Need to Know

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By Hector Cisneros

Google is the dominant player in the SEARCH arena! It controls 70 to 80 percent of all searches that take place. But did you know that most of the search users don’t use 90% of the capabilities of Google Search? What would it mean to you and your business if you could improve the efficiency of your search by 10 to 50%? What if you could execute a search effortlessly for all kinds of useful and necessary questions. You know what I mean? The kind of questions that pop into your head, but don’t execute because you don’t find what you’re looking for? Well, in this episode of Working the Web to Win we will dig deeper into Google Searches functions, its tools and many of it's not so well known capabilities, so you can quickly do a search and get what you want.

Now you can always do a Google Search and find tons of examples and articles that will provide cool search tips, tricks, and tutorials. This is a good way to expand your knowledge and skills and is well worth your effort. Two articles which are packed with cool tips, tricks and hidden Easter eggs are New Google Tricks: 40 Hidden Cool Google Search Tricks For Fun – Updated 2017 and Google tricks: 123 Cool stuffs you need to learn right now. You can also view a good video that covers all the search basics at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A69yumUAzj4.


Today, smartphones and other mobile devices rule the search arena. Even the time-tested desktop is overshadowed by laptop computers. Since most computers have a camera and microphone, this means you have video and voice capabilities. If you look at the Google Search screen, you will notice a microphone symbol in the search box. What this does is let you click and ask Google Search a question using your voice. I regularly ask Google how to spell words, but you’re not limited to just spelling words. You can do voice-activated searches, voice-activated math problems, get answers to calendar questions, get weather information for anywhere in the world, do a Wikipedia search and a whole lot more.

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So, you see, you already have part of the Google’s A.I. Home device right inside your computer or smartphone. Want to up your A.I. capability even further? You can add a plug-in from Google’s Chrome Web store for other A.I. apps similar to the “Jarvis”  A.I. program in the iron man movies.

Now let’s talk about maximizing the keywords we enter when creating a search. Once you do a search of any kind, you will see a list of options just below the search box. These options provide a whole horde of new capabilities that can greatly enhance your searches. But before we look at these, let’s look at how you enter your keywords first. Did you know you can use Boolean functions in your searches? Boolean functions include keyword modifiers like terms “AND” and “OR.” This means you can enter a search like “find books about Travel or vacations” or “look for desktop computers and laptops under $500”. You can also tell Google to search inside a specific website URL by using the “Site.” Modifier (example “site.gov”), the search range function using “..” (example $200..$500) and my all-time favorite the “Wildcard” function aka “*.*” (example search for “books starting with 101*.*”). You can also use “parentheses” to be more explicit with your searches, and you can use any combination of these modifiers to create very powerful searches that will allow you to find exactly what you’re looking for. Here is a video that provides a good tutorial for using these search modifiers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMGHfBUiksQ


Now let’s look at the Search settings listed below the search box. These will show up once you enter and complete your first search. The features listed vary depending on what kind of search you’re doing at the time. These items can include: All - shopping - Images - News - Maps - More - Settings and Tools. Each of these functions has sub-functions as well. This means when you click on them; a drop-down menu lists the additional options.
The “Settings” option allows you to set the details of your search results (i.e. how many items listed etc.…) change the Language - Turn off SafeSearch - setup Advanced search - My activities - and get Search help.
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The “Tools” option - which is right next to” Settings” - provides options for all the other search options except for Maps and Flights (these two go to their own URLs). For example; if you select “Images,” your “Tools” options include “Size - Color - Type - Time - Usage rights and More Tools.” This allows you to modify and narrow your search results for Size, Color, Type, etc.... There is also a clear option that resets to the default setting. The “More” option allows you to expand or narrow your search to - All - Videos - News - Books, Flights, etc.… These will also vary depending on which setting item you are currently using as well. The following is a summary of what each of these Search settings will do.

If you write a blog or newsletter, the “Images Search” will be of great value to you. The Tools option for Image search allows you to set the “Usage rights” so that you are only using images that are “Labeled for reuse,” meaning that they are royalty free.

The “News Search” setting allows you to narrow your search time frame and relevance (“Recent and Sorted by relevance”). It also allows you to create search alerts that will send you an email based on your search alert criteria. There will be a “create alert” button in the lower right-hand corner of the search listing you have selected. This function can also be reached by typing in “Google Alerts in Search.”

Selecting the “Shopping” setting allows you to set the listing criteria for items you are shopping for. This option lets you select if the items are new or nearby, including price range, categories, sellers and more. It also allows you to tag items you like to a shortlist after you have viewed them.

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The last three items on the setting list are; Maps - Books - Flights. When you select “Maps,” it takes you to a whole new window where you enter the Google Maps functions. Once in “Maps,” you can execute all kinds of map searches by keyword, address, subdivision name or zip code. You can also set up maps for different kinds of vehicles, views that include Terrain, Google Earth, and traffic. There are also options to save places, print maps, take a tour, get tips and tricks and a lot more.

The “Books “option allows you to narrow your search for any kind of document. They can be sorted by type of Publication (Any document, book, magazine) time frame of publication, and relevance by keyword and date.

Our last item “Flights” is a great tool for airline travel. This setting takes you to the “Flights” function which allows you to look for flights to and from cities, look for multi-city flights, Roundtrip, One-way flights and select the class of flight (Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class) and the number and age of the passengers. This tool provides a listing of airlines, flight times number of stops and of course the cost of the flight. This is very useful if you’re a frequent flyer.

Many of these settings and functions can be mixed and matched with the Boolean and search modifiers mentioned earlier in this article. It is my hope that you will spend the time exploring these advanced capabilities and take the time to learn and use at least some of them. If you do, you will greatly enhance your search capabilities, become the Goto expert when it comes to finding the right information and it will greatly improve your enjoyment and use of Google Search.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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This article provides more than a dozen easy ways to help any user increase their efficiency when using Google Search. It provides detailed information on how to take advantage of Google advanced search settings, and it provides links to other valuable resources and tutorials that teach you how to use these Google Advanced Search functions. 

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091 or fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog, we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend reading, "Eight Great Content Marketing Tools That Are Google-Friendly",  "Hector's the Connector’s Social Media Predictions for 2014 and Beyond" and "Are You Prepared for Mobilgeddon?" for related articles. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “Google Tools” in the search box at the top of this blog. Also, check out the “Blog Talk Radio, Internet podcast, that goes with this article ” and the Show Note Page, it has, even more, links for you to check out.  If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.


Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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