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Home » Entertainment, Technology

How to search like a pro

Submitted by Ryan P.C. McQuen on September 18, 2011 – 11:26 pm2 Comments
Illustration by Ryan P.C. McQuen
Search engines are not just for looking up homework answers or funny videos. They have a lot of functionality you may be unaware of.

Type in an equation like 2+3 or 7*5 and the search engine will yield 5 and 35 respectively. Bing, Google, and Yahoo! are all capable of acting as a calculator. You can also find the time anywhere in the world by typing: “what time is it in ____________?”

What about using a search engine for research? Most professors advise against this. But let’s say you are searching for a term like “cell theory.” If you type that into your search engine, you will get a variety of results, the first is often Wikipedia. You can’t use many of these sources but do the same search like this “cell theory site:.edu” and that will only load results from .edu websites. You can also use site:.gov to search only government websites.

Another useful feature is searching for a flight. Try “American Airlines flight 1789” and you will instantly know if your flight is on time.

Search engines also make unit and currency conversions easy. Type “how many teaspoons in a tablespoon?” or “2 teaspoons in tablespoons” For currency, type a similar inquiry: “how many us dollars in a euro?” or “2 dollars in euros.”

Another useful addition is “loc:” for location. If you are looking for pizza locally search “pizza loc:72204” to find places listed in order of nearness to that zip code. You can also be more exact and put an entire address after loc:. For all modifiers containing a colon make sure you do not put a space after a colon, otherwise the engine will interpret that as a search and not a command.

Also, one last trick, is the ability to search for a word on any page. Press Command+f on a Mac or Control+f on a Linux or Windows computer to search a webpage for any word(s).

2 Comments »

  • Ryan P.C. McQuen says:

    One I just learned!

    Negative modifier: type: “tiger -woods” to search for tigers without getting results about the golfer!

  • Tom Hedge says:

    Hi Ryan, I find it amazing how internet search engines work and process every site. There is so much out there on the internet and I wonder how much of it there is that I have never and probably might never see! Thanks for sharing your expertise.