The Google search engine is the single greatest tool to people today. But do you know how to use it correctly? There’s dozens of special Google tricks to find exactly what you want.
Here’s some of the widely and lesser known tips and secrets of this tool. Now break out your pen and paper, Google Docs or Evernote and prepare to note your heart out. [Or feel free to simply bookmark this page 🙂 for future reference.]
Now here’s my Google search tricks to help you find what you need like a boss:
Talk to it like a person
The first step to using Google is to ask it something.
Think of it as an information kiosk person standing there in a light blue suit, hands folded in front, with a bright smile as it says, “How can I help you today?”
Using full questions in your search will help the engine to learn what you are looking for and give you relevant information.
Now ask away.
Spell it out, even if you’re wrong
If you don’t know exactly how to spell a word or even if what you want to know is how to spell a word, \ask away.
So, even if you don’t know, type in phonetically how you think a word is spelled.
Google recognizes commonly misspelled words and will correct it. Or it will have a red Did you mean: with suggested searches below the search bar. If one of these options is the correct one, click on it and the search results will update.
Or say what you are searching comes up as a misspelled word, such as in the above picture it says “Showing results for anemone” and under it says “Search instead for anomone“. You can choose the second option to get results for the word if that was your intent.
Use basic words
Keep your search simple and then add words as needed.
It can be as basic as a few simple words or even only one word. Google will intuitively adapt and bring you relevant results.
Do you want to know what’s today’s weather forecast?
And just like that, Google pulls up your local weather forecast.
You may have to allow Google access to your location, especially if you are on mobile. Otherwise add the location, such as “weather New York City“.
This is a great way to get a quick definition of a word, too.
Use the voice or image search
Tired of typing things out? Then simply say it.
Click on the microphone icon and ask your question out loud. This is the best option for when you are using a mobile device, because those tiny keyboards are infuriating.
This is also helpful for those spelling issues we talked about earlier. Google will spell it for you. Make sure that you enunciate as clearly as possible.
The more you use this feature, the more Google will learn and adapt to your speech.
No words needed, just use pictures.
For this tool, paste an image’s URL or upload the image from your computer or mobile device. Google will analyze the image and bring up exact and similar matches.
I do have some more specific tips when using this feature.
When you first search an image, Google will choose what it thinks is the relevant keyword. If you want to refine the search by another keyword, type it into the search bar at the top.
So here you can see that Google guessed the keyword “pixabay gunung” which I honestly have no clue how it got that. My guess is there’s something in the metadata of the image, which credit is to Jakob Owens on Unsplash for this amazing image.
But let’s say I want to find visually similar images of stunning views with feet suspended out.
See how changing the keyword to “feet” has now produced exactly what I wanted. Also, clicking on the blue words “Visually similar images” will bring me to a page filled with more images that I can cycle through.
Tab over for more results
This is another key element few people realize exists. There are actually different versions of Google search. Right underneath the search bar (after you’ve done a query) there is a small list; All, Images, News, Videos, Shopping, More.
Each one will filter the results by that specific topic.
For instance, IMAGES shows all different pictures associated with your search while NEWS will show relevant news headlines.
Want to watch cute kitten videos?
Search “cute kittens” and then click the VIDEOS tab.
Choose industry-specific words
When you need specific help or answers then you will need to be more precise in the language that you use.
For instance, if you have a headache and search “my head hurts” then you will get a video that you certainly do not want to listen to when you are in that situation. (Trust me.)
Instead you want to be more specific about what you want to know about your related topic.
- Do you want to know why your head hurts? Try “why does my head hurt?“
- Do you want some help getting rid of your headache? Try “headache relief” or “how to get rid of a headache.”
- Do you want “homeopathic remedies for migraines“? Try exactly that.
Think about the industry and possible jargon they would use. Being more exact about the answer you want will help you get to the right place.
Find the answer in the search results
You might have guessed by this point that you don’t even have to click on a search result to find what you want. One of the best Google tricks is right in front of you.
Such as when we wanted to know the weather and it showed up right at the top of the results page.
Google can also be used as a dictionary and thesaurus. Type in any word and it will quickly give you the definition along with synonyms at the top.
Most words are more common and Google won’t immediately think you want it’s definition. So, you can add “define” before a word or “synonym” after a word to get definitions and/or synonyms of words. Or you can also use the Google search operator DEFINE: but we’ll talk more about those advanced Google tricks later.
Translate into another language
Google Translate is a better and faster option than most other translator services out today.
Here are a few Google tricks when it comes to translations:
- Translate words instead of full sentences. Breaking down long sentences or paragraphs into smaller segments will give you a more accurate expression.
- Try basic words instead of something complex. Some languages don’t always have an equivalent word to the one you want. So keep it simple.
- Avoid using slang at all costs. Most (if not all) translators cannot account for slang in languages.
Kick it up a notch – Advanced Google tricks!
Use the wildcard (*)
If you don’t know of a particular word within your question, then use the asterisk * to fill it in like a blank space.
Google treats the asterisk as a placeholder for one or more words and tries to find the best match to complete your query.
Solve a math problem
Need to know what 1 + 1 equals? Ask Google. It has a built-in calculator.
It doesn’t even shy away from more complex math problems.
Get quick conversion results
I am always finding myself cooking with a recipe that refers to a measurement not readily available on my measuring cups or spoons. Google tricks to the rescue!
Google can convert measurements and currencies.
How many miles in a kilometer?
What is the conversion rate of the US Dollar to Korean Won?
Track a package
Did you recently order something and you want to know where your package is at now?
Also, if you are logged into your Google account, then it will even allow you to search through your personal orders that you’ve made on that account. This links to your Play Store and Amazon orders, too.
Find a file, movie, or person
If you want to find a specific file type, then use an advanced search operator.
- filetype: followed by the certain file suffix (i.e. mp3, mp4, pdf, doc, etc).
- movie: followed by a word or words will bring back results of movies that are relevant.
- phonebook: followed by a name will provide search results for phone numbers linked to a particular name.
Flip a coin to decide
Need help making a decision?
Google has a trick for that.
Search Level: Insanity
Remember I mentioned earlier that we would talk more about the best Google tricks called “search operators”. Well, now’s the time.
Some of the most accurate ways to search on Google comes from using special symbols or words in your query. Now the important part of most of these Google tricks to note is that you must have no spaces between the search operator and the query. Read carefully below.
Quotation Marks ” “
Adding quotes around a single word or multiple words (even the entire query) will cause the search engine to find results with exactly what you type.
When you want to search for two varying terms then you place the OR operator between them.
Hyphen – and Plus +
Placing a hyphen – before a word will bring in only results that do not have that word as well. Conversely, if you place a plus + sign before a word, then it will only return results that have your search and that variation.
If you use a tilde ~ symbol before a word, then Google will know that you want results that have synonyms of that word.
Forget trying to find a search bar on a website. Simply use the site: operator along with a website url then your search query and Google will find you results only from the website you specify.
Ever had a time where a certain website was down? Use the cache: search operator followed my the link of the site or page you want to find its cached version. Basically the backup or archived version. It might not be the most updated, but it might get you what you want.
intitle: intext: inanchor: inurl: inpostauthor:
Each of these operators is meant to search only within a specific area for what you want. Searching for a blog post and you remember part of the title? The use the intitle: operator and you will find it.
Plus + before query
A bit different from how we used the plus + sign earlier… if you place a plus before a word then Google will know that you only want that specific variation of a word and no abbreviations. Such as +California will show no results with CA or Cali.
The related: search operator can be used to find other websites similar to the one you enter (i.e. related:etsy.com)
Time to use your Google tricks to search like a boss.
Google is constantly overdoing the search engine, but we love it. This is the single greatest tool that has cultivated my vast knowledge bank I am sharing with you.
Everything in the universe that you want to know is at your fingertips.
Be the know-it-all that everyone goes to for an answer.
So go try out these tips, write them down, or bookmark this page for quick reference later.
Which of these Google tricks and tips did you already know? Which has been an eye-opener or life-saver for you? Is there any other Google tricks that you know? Share below!
Melissa’s passion for all things free has cultivated a frugal habit of cheating the “Man” out of millions. Her blog, freestufflife.com, is geared to inspire others to do the same.