Google expert tips: How to find anything fast

The tips and tricks below will help you improve the precision of the search results Google provides--and use far fewer keystrokes to get them.

The nice people at Google have invented multiple ways to make their core product --Internet search--even better. The tips and tricks below will help you improve the precision of the search results Google provides--and use far fewer keystrokes to get them.

Get to know search operators: Google made its name by delivering powerful search results in response to queries of any level of sophistication, but learning to use Google's search operators can really hone your Google-fu. The Google Help Cheat Sheet rounds up some of the finest, such as define: (for quick dictionary lookups), site: (to return results from a specific Web site), and OR (as in 'pc OR world').

Convert nearly any measurement: Aside from working as a simple calculator, Google is also a great tool for converting units of measure. Need to know how many ounces are in a cup? Enter ounces in a cup in Google. Or try something exotic, like how many furlongs are in a league. Google can handle it.

Narrow down your results: Usually you can find what you're looking for on the first page of Google results, but if you need something very specific--say, a page that was published in the last 24 hours--click the new Show Options link above your search results. Among other features available is the interactive Wonder Wheel, a spidering graphical representation of queries related to yours.

Navigate results from your keyboard: Google's Experimental Search page is full of fun experiments from the search giant. One of the best is the Keyboard shortcuts experiment, which adds Gmail-like keyboard shortcuts to Google search results; for example, pressing 'j' or 'k' moves you up or down, respectively, between results.

Find a killer desktop wallpaper: Google Image Search is a familiar go-to resource for users seeking new wallpaper, but finding wallpaper that fits your desktop is much easier than you may realize. Go to the Google Advanced Image Search page, and click Use my desktop size link to automatically search for images that exactly fit your desktop dimensions.

Square your results: If you're a hardcore data nerd, give Google Squared a try. This new search tool returns results as structured data in a spreadsheet to help you get a bird's-eye view of the data contained in the results. Search for 'DSLR cameras', for example, to compare and contrast prices and resolutions for digital SLRs.

Developer's Choice: Quick Local Searches

"I'm really happy with how easy it is to use local search on Google. Just search for the kind of store you want--restaurants, for example. We guess your location, and show restaurants near you. It's one of my favorite of our lesser known search tips: www.google.com/landing/searchtips."

--Jim Muller, Google software engineer

Tags Googlesearch engines

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Adam Pash

PC World (US online)

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