Google search – a few non-standard tricks

Posted on 11/01/2011


We use Google daily- the ability to use it determines the quality of our access to information. Below some non standard commands which might be useful in daily work of a journalist and researcher. I confess I note them here to have a fast access in case I would once forget them:

 + and  || cut or enrich search outcome

examples:  opera +poland or computers -shopping -buy

they serve to either couple two words sort out the unwanted content from search results. The latter example will allow to find infromation about computers that is not coupled with shopping or buying.

.. || numerical range

examples: 10..20 pounds dinner

this serves to search to find some words in the range of related quantities.

~ || a word with its synonyms

examples: netbook ~advice

This will search for a word with its synonyms. E.g. a search above will look for the word “netbook” coupled with synonyms of “advice”, like “advice” itself, “help”, “guide” etc.

filetype: || only  files with certain extension

examples: ancient civilization filetype:ppt

This is a search for all possible file extensions like ppt (PowerPoint), doc (Word), pdf (Adobe) or any other. Very useful.  The example above will look for all ppt files in the web that contain “ancient civilization” in the file name.

site: || searching within one site

examples: unemployment 

This is very useful to search portals or large web clusters in order to finds specific keywords. The phrase aboove will look for all content on that relate to unemployment.

cache: || displaying a cache copy of a website


This is useful when one cannot access certain sites (e.g. blocked access in a company), as it asks Google to show the image of a site “remembered” by Google cache bots, which is different from viewing a page itself.

Note: this post will be occasionally updated after I come across something extremely useful, to form, with time an abundant set of tricks.

Curious detail: you can demonstrate these searches to others through a site called let me Google this for you.  Simply paste the relevant example into the window, and the link containing animated search results will appear.

Posted in: Technicalities