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Advanced Google Searching: Home

Guide to advanced search features in Google and to Google Scholar and Google Books.


Grateful acknowledgment is made to Nancy Pressman Levy of Princeton University for allowing us to use her exhaustive Google LibGuide as a basis for this one.

Ready Reference Tips

define: fort                  

weather:  Lima             

time: Venice               

stocks: goog                

movies:  08544            




gas prices 08540    

500 rand in US dollars  

  5 USD in euros   

 5 degrees C in f  

40 m in k                            

32 ft in m

About Google's Basic Search Box

In Google searches, "and" is assumed. By default, it will search for all terms you enter.

Google searches for your terms in any order. To specify the order of terms, put quotation marks around your search. Example: "Harry and David"

Putting quotation marks around your terms also forces Google not to ignore words like "and," "the," and so on.

Google results are ordered by a complex, proprietary formula, of which Google's trademarked PageRank algorithm is only one component. Links labeled "Sponsored Links," which often appear at the very top of the Results list and on the right side of the screen, are exactly what they say they are: Sponsored.

Improving Your Google Simple Search

Google doesn't know the context of your search. Add a word to your query, preceded directly by a hyphen, to eliminate unwanted results. Example: saturn -car

Google is generally not case-sensitive: it will find your terms whether you enter them in capital or small letters or any combination. But if you want to do a search using "or," type OR. Example: Thailand OR Siam

To search for something in a particular domain, add "site:" followed by the domain name to your search. Example: “global warming”  site: gov

This works more specifically also. Example: “global warming”  site:

The Google cheat sheet lists many more tips like these.

You can also use the Advanced Search interface to craft searches like these.

For better results when asking complex queries, try using about four keywords. If what you need isn't within the first two pages of results, reconsider your search terms.


Sign up for a Google account

Creating a Google Account will give you access to:

  • Gmail
  • Google Book Search (additional features)
  • Google Finance

Install Google Toolbar

Create a custom toolbar for your web browser.  With Google Toolbar you can:

  • Highlight your search terms
  • Translate web pages to and from English
  • Fix navigation errors with automatic suggestions
  • Open files in a new window

Google Custom Search Engines

Create your own search engine tailored to your needs. With Custom Search you can:

  • search over a set of sites or specific pages
  • add the search box and results to your website
  • customize the style to match your design