The Internet contains an unbelievable amount of information, which is really not all that useful unless you can find what you’re looking for. After all, it’s not the volume of information that’s so powerful, it’s that somewhere within that enormous haystack is the needle you’ve been looking for. Search engines are all about finding the needle.Internet searching is one of the easiest and useful ways to use the Internet. There are endless reasons for why Internet searching is so helpful. People use common search engines (such as Google and Yahoo) to find web pages, images, books, currency conversions, definitions, file types, news, local information, movies, and many more. The most-used and best-loved search engine, by far, is Google. Built upon the philosophy, “Do no evil”, Google is useful, uncluttered, incredibly fast, remarkably on target, and really reliable. Many people believe that Google can only be used for inputing key words to web pages and getting results that share those key words. However, you can use Google to find so much more information and find it much more easily using specific built-in Google commands.

Google Interface

Of Note

The following information is for those of you out there looking for a basic introduction into common Google capabilities. Scroll down to the 6 Things You Might Not Have Known section for a more in depth look at the advanced capabilities of Google

Out of all the features Google has theses days their number one capability is still their website searching. Google is so special because it is so simple. Google’s main page (below) is based around the search bar where users enter a query using keywords.

Google Main

5 Basic Things To Know About Google


A query consists of one or more words, numbers, or phrases that you want to find in the search results listings.

To enter a query, type descriptive words(keywords) into Google’s search box. You can use either the search box on Google’s home page (shown above) or the search box that always appears at the top of a Google results page (shown below).

Google Upper


The results page is full of information and links, most of which relate to your query. Results Google considers to be most relevant to your query are shown first. To the right of Google’s search results appear sponsored links, which are paid advertisements.

The first line in each result is the page title. The title will be a link to the web page. Under the title are often excerpts which include one or more of your query words shown in boldface. The URL of the page is shown in green at the start of the last line under the result.

Cached Pages

To the right of the URL there is a link named “Cached”. The Cached link will take you to a screen shot of the page that Google took when it first found it. A lot of the content and images under the cached page may have been changed since websites are constantly updated.

Similar Pages

The Similar Pages*(To the right of the *Cached page) link will take you to a results page similar to the normal results page, but will have results similar to the result you linked from.

Google Results Example


How do you know what keywords to enter into the search bar? Not only does it matter what words you enter, but the order you enter them will vary your results. A good rule for the order of words to have in your search is that the first word should be a word that if you only included that word, the results would be closest to what you wanted. Then the second word would be the word that if you included after the first word, the results would be the closest to what you were looking for. And so on and so on with the rest of the words you want to enter. For example, let’s say you wanted to search for information on the record for longest baseball game played. The first word you would want to enter is “baseball”, because if you only included “baseball” in your search, the results would be the closest to the record for the longest baseball game played. The second word would be “record” because with the phrase “baseball record” you would get results, such as a website containing a list of baseball records. However, if you had put “longest” second, then you probably would get results relating to longest home run or longest bat. Once you get to the third word the order does not matter that much, so you could follow “baseball record” with “longest game played”, “game longest played”, or “longest played game”, etc.

Google Keywords Example

6 Things About Google You Might Not Have Known

There are many characters that you can use to affect the way Google uses the keywords you enter. Some of these helpful hints you might not have known.


To search for a phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order, put them in double quotes. For example, say you wanted to search for the quoted phrase “to be or not to be” you would enter into Google [“to be or not to be”] (without the brackets).

Plus Sign

Force Google to include a term by preceding the term with a “+” sign. For example, if you wanted to search for Star Wars Episode 1. “I” is a stop word and is not included in a search unless you precede it with a + sign. So you would input into Google [Star Wars Episode +I] or [Star Wars +I]. Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a “-” sign.


Find synonyms by preceding the term with a ~, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator. Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar). Specify that results contain numbers in a range by specifying two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces.


If you aren’t sure what words you should use and in what order, try Googlefight. Googlefight allows you to compare the number of search results you would get for any two sets of keywords.

Having Favorites

Google favors results that have your search terms near each other. Google gives higher priority to pages that have the terms in the same order as in your query. Google also limits queries to 32 words.

Of Note

Google is NOT case sensitive; it shows both upper- and lowercase results.

Stop Words

Google ignores some common words called “stop words,” (such as, the, on, where, how, and, de, la, as well as certain single digits and single letters along with some punctuation and special characters, including ! ? , . ; [ ] @ / # < >). A term with an apostrophe (single quotes) doesn’t match the term without an apostrophe.Because some people spell hyphenated words with a hyphen and others with a space, Google searches for variations on any hyphenated terms.


A really handy feature of Google search is search for images. Searching for images is the second most used Google feature behind searching for web pages. There are multiple ways that Google allows you to search for images.

  • Entering the words “clip art” or “gif” after your image request will yield the graphic version of the image, which is very usable in PowerPoint presentations and on web pages. However, using that method will provide you with a list of web pages containing images with names involving the keyword y ou entered For Example, the picture below shows a search for the keyword “bu ll gif” and the results are a list of web pages containing names of .gif files with the word “bull” in them:
Google Mouse Gif
  • The concept of including the type of file you are searching for can be used with the keywords “bull gif” under the image search engine. This allows you to specify what type of image you are looking for:
Google Mouse Image Gif