Getting the most out of Google

Your internet searches can become more accurate if you know a few tricks, says Greg Miles.

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Search engines have become part of our daily lives in the workplace. According to, which recently posted global search engine market share results for January 2013, Google currently has the lion’s share, with 88,8% (Bing has 4,2%, Baidu 3,5% and Yahoo 2,4%). Knowing how to get the best out of a search engine such as Google can save time and improve your efficiency. Here are a few helpful pointers for Google:

Be Specific
Be specific in your search, for example, if you’re looking for content on planting maize. Enclose your search phrase with double quotes – as in “planting maize” – in the search box and your results will be much more accurate. If you want to find information about maize on a specific webpage which doesn’t have a built-in search feature, type the following in the search box: “planting maize” site:www.nameofsite.

Exclude Words

Lets say you want to do a search on ‘bass’ (music-related) and don’t want info on the fish of the same name, make sure there’s no space between the “-” and the word you want excluded: “bass-fish’’ If you’d like your search to show similar words or synonyms to your main search phrase, add a tilde (~) in front of the word. In maths, the symbol ‘~’ means ‘similar to’. Thus, ~inexpensive, will also include ‘cheap’, ‘affordable’ and ‘low cost’. If you’re looking for results that are of a specific type, use the modifier ‘filetype:’. For example, if you only want PowerPoint (ppt) presentations related to internet marketing, type: “internet marketing” filetype:ppt

Easy sums
If you need to do a calculation, simply type the sum in the search box – for example 1254/99 – and Google will automatically open a calculator for you. If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the ‘define:’ command. For example: define: ineptocracy. Convert acres to hectares by typing [number]acres = ha.

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If you have friends in different time zones, type time in australia. If you need to access a website blocked by your network server, use Google’s proxy search. Type the name of the website you wish to access preceded by cache:. This mostly enable you to acces the ‘blocked’ website. For a very advanced search, simply type “advanced search” in the Google toolbar.

Contact Greg Miles at [email protected] with ‘Online Farmer’ in the subject line.