Google 101, Learn From My Trials.

My great gleaning gathering method of grasping the good from Google or How to find information faster using Google

J. Pisano’s guide to Googling, version 0.3: Your Google Cheat-sheet or Google 101, Google This:

I use Google for 90% of my searches. I like it, I’m happy with it. I’m a fan.


Google this, TYPE IN: car red … What you will get is any page that contains the words CAR and RED located anywhere within the page. ~A NEWBIE SEARCH. Is this you?

Google this, TYPE IN: car or red … What you will get: any page that has the words car or red. Do you really want to search through all this?

Google this, TYPE IN: “red car” (notice the quotes) and you will get only results that have the words RED CAR next to each other in the order you placed them. ~NOW YOU ARE GETTING TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY AND NOW YOU WILL BEGIN GETTING BETTER RESULTS!

+, *, -, ~

Minus (-) is my favorite operator.
It allows me to “cut to the chase” and if you use it wisely, you will too! Let’s say I am searching for graphic software. You know what will happen if I search for TYPED IN: Graphic Software … I will get everything but what I am looking for and about 1,000,000 plus pages returned to me to sift through, as if I have the time. What I am really looking for is freeware (aren’t we all), so a better search would be: Google this, TYPE IN: “graphic software” freeware … This is a better search but is still going to list out graphic software that is demo, retail, shareware, trial-ware, Mal-ware and every other kind of “ware”.

A good search would be, Google this, TYPE IN: “graphic software” freeware -buy -shareware -demo -$ -trial … That line of typing will “cut to the chase”. Sometimes I string seven or eight of those babies (“minus” signs) in a row; It works wonders!

Google will truncate simple words like, I, to, from, and, the AND “roman numerals”. If you want those types of words or single digits, be sure to include them in quotes or use the “+” symbol directly in the front of them when entering into Google.

Another great operator is the tilde sign: ~. It allows you to look for synonyms. For instance, if I wanted a book about “fixing cars” (note the quotes for better searching, catching on ;) ), I might Google this, TYPE IN: ~book “fixing cars” … It will now return not only books, but also manuals, pamphlets, and fliers, etc.

Finally there is the * operator. It allows you to search for words that are near each other or separated by a set amount of words. For instance, Google this, TYPE IN: red * blue … this will mostly likely return results of red, white and blue within the document.

Now we have graduated grade-school, let’s move on to some ADVANCED TOPICS:


How many times have you come across a site that you cannot find the information you want but you know it’s there? To solve this problem, use the “site:” command.

For instance, let’s say you want to look up Britney Spears on the site. You could spend time looking for the text, or you might even use the “search” feature on the site (if you can find it) OR you could enter this on Google: Google this, TYPE IN: spears … when you do, you will get a list of pages on about Britney Spears or some other Spears character :) .

Now, a really practical example: Let’s say you are looking up magnesium on Dr. Mercola’s site … Google this, TYPE IN: magnesium … Voilà, better results, fast.


Have you ever wondered if it was possible to find sub-sites or associated sites related to the one you were looking at? Use the “related:” command. An example: Grove City College has many pages related to it; to find them, Google this, TYPE IN: … out will come the associate sites.

Cutting through the proliferation of porn on the web, THE SAFESEARCH COMMAND:

Now, here, we have a useful command! Let’s say you are looking for sex education material. If you TYPE IN: sex education on the web, even in quotes, YOU BETTER MAKE SURE YOUNG ONES ARE NOT AROUND! To get the best results (and not porn) for this type of search, would be to Google this, TYPE IN: safesearch: sex education … or better yet, safesearch: “sex education” … Enough said.


The “short and sweet” about a web page. Google this, TYPE IN: … get the one paragraph “shorty” about what it’s all about.


It really gets to me when I am looking for information about something and returned to me, in the list, is exactly what I want BUT, ONLY 3 YEARS AGO IN PRINT! To get the newest pages, use the “date:” command. This is really important for when you need current information which is about EVERY TIME.

Example, Google this, TYPE IN: aspirin research date:3 … this returns information for the related data, aspirin research, posted within the last 3 months. You may also use 6 and 9 for the last 6 months and 9 months of postings respectively. If you don’t use the “date:” command, you may very well get results back from 1995!

NOW, we are off to college:

There are some absolutely amazing things that you can do with Google, I am now going to list the most cool:

Google includes a built in calculator. We all need one, we all have one buried somewhere in our “accessories folder” in the “start menu”, it’s never handy- so we keep an old, outdated, monster calculator by the computer; after all, Why would we expect a expensive COMPuter to be able to perform something like calculations so easily and handily?. Enter Google calculator.


In the search line, of Google, simply type your calculation. For example, Google this, TYPE IN: 25 + 25 … hit the ENTER KEY(RETURN KEY for you old schoolers!) BAM!, There’s your answer! Use * for times(x) and the slash key (/) for division.

You can also perform power and percentage calculations: 2^(shift 6)5 will give you 2 to the 5th power and 50% of 100 will give you “50”. Try it out; get rid of your relic on the desk.


Do you want to find out how much 5 British Pounds are worth in U.S. Dollars? TYPE IN: 3.5 GBP in USD … check the results. Don’t know what the Russian’s call their money? TYPE IN: 10 USD in Russian money (that’s right, just type in “Russian money”). You’ll find the answer to be (as of this print) 267.46800 Russian Rubbles. How about 10 Mexican type money in euros? TYPE IN: 10 Mexican money in euros …answer: .712 Euros. Quite amazing, really.


Google this, TYPE IN: 10f in c … or … 10c in f …get your result instantly.


How many times do you wish you knew what a word meant? Define it easily with Google. Having a hard time understanding the word,acatalepsy? Google this, TYPE IN: define acatalepsy … let me know when you find out what it means, it a hard one to understand :). Better yet, Google this, TYPE IN: define gas … now you’re cooking!


Looking for a pizza joint close by? Google this, TYPE IN: pizza 75555 (75555 the zip code where your looking for something, put your own in). Pizza Hut is only 11 miles north, click the listed link to get a map, directions and phone number…yep. How about this? Google this, TYPE IN: plumber 15003 …yep a bunch of them there too.

Looking for your buddy? Google this, TYPE IN: smith, 19130 … now click on a link to get driving directions… scary aye? When you get to the map, click the satellite button for a real “picture”!

Want to find the latest movie show times for your theater? Google this, TYPE IN: movies, 16066 …(cranberry, pa listings here). Pick one; go for a drive.

Can’t remember a movie title, or looking for something or someone that was in it? No problem, Google this, TYPE IN: movie: tom hanks … oh yeah, he WAS in that.


Quick and easy: Google this, TYPE IN: weather 16036 … lovely weather in Philly, put your own zip code in… SORRY U.S. ONLY on this one.


Want to find out what Moby-Dick was all about? Google this, TYPE IN: books moby-dick … happy readings! Want to find out what Moby-Dick was all about? Google this, TYPE IN: books moby-dick … happy readings!


One of my personal favorites… How many times do you wish you could find a document already printed, in a format that you need? Perhaps a spreadsheet already finished or maybe a PowerPoint presentation for ideas?

The “filetype:” command is the [tag]PARTY STOPPER[/tag] for this kind of searching. Maybe you need an excel sheet using the Sabine formula for room acoustics… Google this, TYPE IN: sabine filetype:xls … how about a Microsoft Word file? Google this, TYPE IN: sabine filetype:doc

How about a PowerPoint file? Google this, TYPE IN: sabine filetype:ppt … Now save it and open it. Now you have it, It’s yours. Don’t forget about copyright!

The following is a very good list of common searchable file types:

ART – Clipart.
ASC – ASCII text file.
AVI – Audio/Video Interleaved used for Windows based movies.
BAT – MS-DOS batch file.
BMP – Bitmap format.
CGI – Common Gateway Interface. Web based programs and scripts.
CLASS – JavaScript Class file.
DOC – Document format for Word Perfect and Microsoft Word.
DOT – Microsoft Word Template.
DXF – AutoCAD drawing exchange format file.
EPS – Encapsulated PostScript supported by most graphics programs.
FLA – Macromedia Flash movie format.
GIF – Graphics Interchange Format that supports animation. Created by CompuServe and used primarily for web use.
JPEG – Compression scheme supported by most graphics programs and used predominantly for web use.
JPG – More common extension for JPEG described above.
MID – MIDI music file.
MOV – QuickTime movie.
MP3 – MPEG Audio Layer 3.
MPEG – Animation file format.
OGG – Ogg Vorbis digitally encoded music file.
PDF – Portable Document File by Adobe. Viewable in a web browser or with Adobe Acrobat.
PNG – Portable Network Graphic file.
POT – Microsoft PowerPoint design template.
PPS – Microsoft PowerPoint slide show.
PPT – Microsoft PowerPoint presentation(default extension).
RTF – Rich Text Format.
TGA – Targa bitmap.
TIFF – Tagged Image File Format. Universal graphics format supported by most graphics applications.
TXT – Text Format.
WAV – Waveform sound file.
WMF – Windows Metafile (graphics format).
XLS – Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
ZIP – Compressed Zip archive.


You can find your packages (FedEx, UPS, USPS), check on the LIVE progress of an incoming airline flight, check phone numbers, lookup car VIN numbers and even patent numbers with Google. Here’s how you go about doing this:

[tag]UPS[/tag] tracking numbers example search, Google this, TYPE IN: 1Z9999W99999999999

[tag]FedEx[/tag] tracking numbers example search, Google this, TYPE IN: 9999999999

Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers example search, Google this, TYPE IN: AAAAA999A9AA99999

UPC codes example search, Google this, TYPE IN: 073333531084

Telephone area codes example search, Google this, TYPE IN: 650

Patent numbers example search, Google this, TYPE IN: patent 51231230 … Remember to put the word “patent” before your patent number.

FAA airplane registration numbers example search, Google this, TYPE IN: n199ua … An airplane’s FAA registration number is typically printed on its tail.

FCC equipment IDs example search, Google this, TYPE IN: fcc B4Z-34009-PIR … Remember to put the word “fcc” before the equipment ID.


You can ask simple questions. For example, do you want to know the population of Germany? Google this, TYPE IN: what is the population of Germany … or Google this, TYPE IN: population of Germany … How about the time in Germany? Google this, TYPE IN: time in Germany … etc. Make up your own questions; ask Mr. Internet (inside joke from my sister).

Want current news? Google this, TYPE IN: Iraq … Choose from the News Headings listed first in the results.

Ever found a page that is exactly what you want, but when you click on it, it’s 404, or A DEAD LINK (There is some really techno-geek humor in this one… it’s “404”, if it passed by you, that’s ok. Try this: “He’s dead, Jim.” substitute 404: “He’s 404, Jim.” Get it now? No? Moving on…)?

Search for it again and instead of clicking on the link, THIS TIME, choose the CACHED hyperlink. It’s a crapshoot, but you’ll get your page shown better than 50% of the time.

Incidentally, if you are looking for a specific phrase or words within a document, choose the CACHED link anyway. GOOGLE will highlight the search words in pretty colors for you so that you may find them easily! This is how I find exactly what I want in a page without having to read it in its entirety.

Want the latest stock quote? Google this, TYPE IN: csco … for Cisco or your favorite ticker number.

Not sure how to spell a word, Google it. Google this, TYPE IN: personnell … out comes: DID YOU MEAN: personnel … of course!

Looking for the best price? Try; Google will do the work for you.


This is perhaps the least known secret of google for those of you interested in scholarly articles. Stand on the shoulder of giants, do your search at Google Scholar only returns results that are scholarly in nature. Cut through the garbage and advertisements, it works great and you get better results, if not different results.

I KNOW there is more, but this will have to suffice for now!

Good Googling!

    ~J. Pisano

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website
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