+
Pop Culture

13 simple, life-changing Googling tips you didn't know you needed

Google is one of the most powerful tools humanity possesses and most of us have no idea how to use it.

Google, internet, search engine
Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

Most of us aren't making the most of Google's powerful search capabilities.

Do you ever just stop and marvel at how much the internet has changed human existence? At no other time in history has the average person had access to so much knowledge. Yes, we use it for dumb things too, but anyone with an internet connection can learn anything they set their mind to, from languages to auto mechanics to music to rocket science. It's mind-blowing.

This unlimited access to information is amazing, but it can also be overwhelming. If I Google "rocket science," I get 190 million results in 0.7 seconds. If I actually had an interest in learning about rocket science—which I don't—I wouldn't even know where to begin.

I could narrow down those results with more specific search terms, of course. But that would barely be scratching the surface of Google's search abilities. As Chris Hladczuk wrote on Twitter, "If you use it right, Google is the most powerful tool in the world. But the truth is most people suck at it."


It's true. Many of us have no idea how to actually utilize Google effectively to find the information we want or need. I use Google all the time and thought I was pretty good at it, but after reading Hladczuk's thread of tips and researching more, I realized there are so many ways I could up my Google game to save myself some time and effort.

Here are 13 tips and tricks for better Googling that we can all use:

1. Make use of the one-click filters that Google already set up.

Google makes it easy to narrow down search results with pre-set filter categories that show up at the top of your search results. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's easy to gloss over them if you don't know they're there. If you just want news stories or just want images for your search topic, you'd click "News" or "Images" at the top of the search results page.

To further filter, click "Tools" on the right. Depending on what other filters you're using you can sort by date (in News), type of document (in Books), duration or quality (in Videos), and so on. Just utilizing these built-in filtering tools will greatly enhance your Google search experience with very little effort.

Google's preset filters help you narrow down search results with one click.

Screenshot via Google.com

2. Use the minus sign (-) to eliminate words you don't want in your results.

Let's say you want to research George Bush's presidency but you want the first Bush, not George W. Bush. You could Google "George H.W. Bush," but that's not generally what he was referred to prior to his son running for president.

Using the hyphen, or minus sign, before a word or phrase you don't want included in results will eliminate that word or phrase from the search. So Googling "George Bush -W." tells Google to pull up results for George Bush, but without "W." Voila! All senior Bush results.

3. Quotations marks (" ") give you exact phrase results.

Googling multiple words at once can give you a mixed bag of results. The search will include all of the words, but not necessarily in order. If you are looking for an exact phrase, let Google know that by putting it in quotation marks.

4. Use a colon (:) to search a specific website.

Let's say you wanted to see all of Upworthy's articles about dogs. Type in "dogs:upworthy.com" and Google will give you all of our pupworthy content. (Generally speaking, you should put in the .com or .org or whatever the extension is on the URL, but "dogs:upworthy" works, too.)

5. Looking for a specific file type? Tell Google with (filetype:).

Do you swear you saw a printable PDF of dad jokes, but can't remember where you found it? A search for "dad jokes" gives you a gazillion results you'd have to wade through to find a PDF. But you can search just for PDFs by typing "bad dad jokes filetype:PDF" into your Google search bar.

6. Search for similar or synonymous terms with a tilde (~).

Say you wanted to find a Spanish teacher in your area. Searching "local Spanish ~teacher" would also bring up search results for Spanish tutors, instructors and so on. (Google does some of this intuitively, but there may be instances when results are too honed in on one word.)

7. Do a fill-in-the-blank search with an asterisk (*).

Want to know what percentage of Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19? Want to know how many gorillas are left in the wild? A search for "* percent of Americans vaccinated for COVID" and "* gorillas left in the wild" will bring those exact numbers right to the top of your results.

Pull up a tip calculator with one click.

Screenshot via Google.com

8. Calculate a tip or set a timer in a jiffy.

Searching for "tip calculator" brings up a simple, handy tip calculator without having to click through to any website. Nifty.

And you can set a timer by typing "timer" and however many minutes you want into the search bar. The timer starts automatically and will beep when finished. (Just don't close that browser window.) You can also pull up a stopwatch with a simple "stopwatch" search.

9. Track a package without having to go to the carrier's website.

All you have to do is copy and paste any tracking number into the Google search bar. No need to go to USPS or UPS or FedEx websites first. Just straight to Google.

10. Track a flight without having to go to the airline's website.

Just like the tracking number, simply enter your flight number (e.g., DL 275) into the Google search bar. Easy peasy.

11. Do quick definition checks and look up time and weather in different places.

Sometimes Google is more intuitive to use than we might assume. Want to look up what "obfuscation" means? No need to search for an online dictionary. Just type "define obfuscation" into the search bar. (You don't even have to spell it right, as long as you're close.) Wondering what the weather's like where grandma lives? Search "weather Orlando" to get current conditions. Need to know if it's too late to contact that friend overseas? Search "time Barcelona" to get the current local time.

12. Search for free-to-use images with Creative Commons licenses across multiple websites at once.

Finding photos that are free to use, either with or without attribution requirements, can be tedious. But it's easy to find Creative Commons License photos on Google if you know what to click.

Type in your search term for whatever images you want (say "snuggly kittens"), then click Images, then Tools, then Usage Rights, then Creative Commons Licenses.

(Quick reference: Images > Tools > Usage Rights > Creative Commons Licenses)

When you click on an image, you can click "License details" and it will tell you which Creative Commons license applies to the photo so you know how to attribute it.

13. Reverse search images to see where they came from or where else they've been shared.

If you want to try to track down where an image originated, you can search using an image itself, either using the image URL or uploading it to images.google.com. Just click on the camera icon and either paste the URL or upload the image, and the search results will show you all the places the image lives on the internet.

Bonus: Just for fun, try typing "askew" into the Google search bar.

The folks behind the scenes at Google have a silly sense of humor, so you never quite know what you're going to get when you use it. You can also put "play pacman" into the search and actually play a mini Pac-Man game. Who knew?

Google is an incredibly useful tool in far more ways than most of us use it, and hopefully these tips will help you utilize it to its full potential. Happy searching and three cheers for digital literacy!

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Machine that bats away only green tomatoes at lightning speed has people nerding out

The automated sorter technology is fascinating, as is watching it work in slow motion.

An automated green tomato sorting machine is mesmerizing in slow motion.

For thousands of years, people around the world have been honing the art of agriculture. For the vast majority of human history, people planted and harvested and sorted produce largely by hand, gradually developing tools and machines over time that would make farming more efficient.

Many crops still have to be harvested and/or sorted by hand, but thanks to a rather mind-blowing machine, tomatoes aren't one of them. A machine that harvests tomatoes saves a ton of time and labor, but as tomatoes don't all ripen at the same time, pulling up an entire tomato plant results in a good number of green ones getting into the mix.

One solution to this problem would be to have the tomatoes transported down a conveyor belt in a factory while workers spot and remove the green ones by hand. However, an automated green tomato sorter does it right in the field as the tomatoes are being harvested, and a whole lot faster than any person ever could.

Keep ReadingShow less
Celebrity

U.S. Soccer star expertly handles an Iranian reporter’s loaded questions about race.

Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.

Tyler Adams expertly handles Iranian reporter's question

Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.

It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 06.22.18


Imagine you're sitting in a pub and Sir Paul McCartney walks in.

That's exactly what happened when he guested on an episode of "Carpool Karaoke." The legendary performer rolled through his hometown of Liverpool with host James Corden, sharing memories of the city, surprising fans in his favorite pub, and bringing all of us a badly needed emotional release with his music.

Keep ReadingShow less