Graphics + Images
To search for images from the main Google search window, select Images in the upper right corner of the page, or go directly to Images.Google.ca.
You can type your search request into the window and then press enter; no syntax is required. For example, type ‘Spanish Flu Pandemic’ and you will get thousands of results.
But Google Images has a remarkably powerful alternative way of searching for images. Click on the Camera Icon in the search bar and a Search by Image window will appear. You can insert the URL of an image you’ve found online, or you can upload an image from your computer. So if you’ve found something that you think will be perfect for your story, upload it and Search by Image. You’ll get many new additional images that in some way relate to or resemble the image by which you searched.
An even quicker way of searching by image is to download the Google Search by Image extension from the Google app store (if you’re using Chrome), or from Firefox Add-Ons from the Firefox website (if you’re using Firefox). With the extension installed, simply right-click any image on the web to search by that image.
Search Specific Images
Google Search offers you choices to filter what you’re looking for if the search terms return more than one type of information. For example, searching images for ‘Charles’ might bring you Charles Manson, the book Charles by Shirley Jackson, a city named Charles, and so on.
After you’ve done your initial image search, click on the Tools menu (below the search window), and you’ll be shown options to refine your search such as size, color, type, time, and usage rights. You can filter your image search by size, grayscale or full colour, face or photo, or clipart types, when it first appeared, and if it is copyright free to use in your project.
Google Art Project
Google collaborated with art institutions all over the world in their Art Project to give people a chance to see brilliant art from the comfort of their homes. If nothing else, you’ll feel more cultured!
Define, Compare, & Translate
Simplify the dictionary process by using, for example, ‘DEFINE:mortgage.’ For words that appear in the dictionary, you’ll be able to see etymology and a graph of its use over time alongside the definition. Google Search will even search the web to define slang words or acronyms. Try out ‘DEFINE:ESSO’ or ‘DEFINE:SNAFU.’
Occasionally using all uppercase letters for ‘define’ will return slightly different results than using all lower-case letters. Experiment with both.
Compare Two Subjects
Google Search can compare two subjects using ‘vs.’ For example, ‘epidemic vs. pandemic,’ or ‘Dolphin vs. Porpoise.’
Want to translate a simple word or phrase from one language to another? No need to go to a translation website. Search for translate [word] to [language], inserting the word you want to be translated and the language to which you want it translated. You can also use the Google Translate website, but always remember that the results will typically be a literal translation, not necessarily a translation that embodies the subtle connotations within each language.
Using the syntax operator ‘around,’ Google will do a proximity search for the words for which you are searching, and which are near to one another in the content. This search will only return results which have both the words, where both the words are near to one another with the maximum given proximity. You can specify what the limits of that proximity are. For example, ‘India around (10) Modi’ will return results that have the words ‘India’ and ‘Modi’ at the distance of maximum 10 words from each other in the body of the content.
Diseases & Symptoms
Type any (common) symptom, disease, medicinal prescription into Google, and you’ll find an expert summary. You’ll also be directed to the appropriate phone number or even nearby locations that can help. For example, “Is there a flu epidemic nearby?”
Working with Numbers
Search Between Two Values
Searching for a range of numbers is another tip we don’t anticipate many people using. The people that do use it, however, will probably use it quite a lot. People interested in statistics or numbers will find this tip particularly useful. For this search, the syntax is to use three dots (… ) and a number to let Google Search know you’re looking for a specific range of numbers. For example, if you wanted to quickly find a list of Canadian prime ministers between particular years, Google can make this a simple matter. All you would have to do is enter the following search phrase: ‘Canadian Prime Ministers 1950…2000.’ In this example, the search will return results showing all the Canadian Prime Ministers that served between 1950 and 2000.
Here is the syntax is shown in three variations.
- What teams have won the Stanley Cup…2004
- iPhone 8 $500…$1,000
In the first example, the search will return the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The three dots with one number will tell the search that you don’t need anything before or after 2004. This can help narrow down searches to a specific number to improve search results. In the second example, Google will search for the numbers 41, 42, and 43. And in the third example, Google will search for iPhone 8s between those two price points.
This is an obscure tip but can be very useful if you need to search for specific ranges of numbers, or subjects partially defined by number ranges.
Money & Unit Conversions
Google Search can quickly and accurately convert both measurement units and currency value. There are a variety of uses for this, such as checking to see the conversion rate between two currencies. You can use it to convert from feet to metres or from ounces to litres. If you type ‘miles to km,’ this will convert miles to kilometres. You can put numbers in front to convert a certain number. Like ‘10 miles to km’ will show you how many kilometres are in 10 miles.
CDN to British Pound Sterling will convert Canadian dollars to British pounds. As with measurements, adding numbers will give you exact conversions for a defined amount of money.
Search for Prices
The dollar sign ($) will search for prices. For example, ‘Computer $400’ will return pages that have $400 computers on them. You can add two periods (.. ) to search within a range of prices, like this: ‘Computer $400..$800.’
To search for the population growth rate of any country or city, simply enter that phrase, like this: Moncton population growth rate. You’ll get numerous results, which you can then begin to narrow down using Tools.
Type a simple phrase, such as Medicine Hat to Kelowna, and you’ll be given a wide spectrum of search results, ranging from simple distance measurements to ways and means of making that journey.
Places + Dates
Periods of Time
Google Search has been indexing the web for 20 years, which makes it more difficult for researchers to cut through the noise to find the exact site or page that they’re after. Searching within a specific time period can help with that.
After you’ve run a search on the main Google Search engine, click Tools, and then the Any time sub-menu will appear. When you click on Any time, another sub-menu appears that will allow you to limit the search results to more specific time periods, such as Past hour and Past 24 hours, which is helpful for focussing on very recent stories.
On the other hand, if you want to look for archived news that has since been replaced by more current stories, then you might want to specify a date range. Choose Custom range, and you get to specify a start and end date. Consider 01/01/1918 to 01/01/1920.
You can also specify what country you want your search results to pertain to. Any country is one of the options that will appear when you open Tools.
This is not only useful for news items, but for any type of search. The syntax is to use a colon (: ) after the subject of your search, followed immediately by the location you want to search within. For example, ‘café location:downtown Victoria,’ or Spanish Flu Pandemic:Toronto.
Google stores public data like data about population or employment rate. Enter what you need to find along with the name of your country and Google will display accurate results. You can also try a general phrase such as Find Public Data Montreal.
Using the word ‘nearby’ at the end of a word or phrase will give you results based on your location. For example, ‘Coffee nearby?’
This Day in History
Google that phrase and see what results you get. You can also visit History.com for their perspective.
Target Specific Sites
The search engines of most websites are poor. You can search using Google instead by using the site or domain limiter, which will then search only within that website. Here is the syntax: ‘Sidney Crosby site:nhl.com.’ This will search for all content about Sidney Crosby but will only find results from NHL.com. ‘site:nhl.com Sidney Crosby’ is also effective.
Combining this syntax with keyword operations to narrow down your results even further – including or excluding keywords – makes it even more powerful.
To be more specific, identify which keywords are the most important by putting a plus symbol (+) in front of words you want to force Google to include. And if the results you want get pushed off the page by similar, but irrelevant, articles, remember to add a minus symbol (-) in front of keywords that you don’t want to see. When you need to find something on a website, then this trick often works better than a site’s own built-in search option (because of Google’s non-stop scanning of websites and their content).
If you’re trying to look up technical or scientific information, you’ll probably find more reliable results on a university or government website than you might see on a random blog. To do this, you would add ‘site:.edu’ to your search query to limit results to university websites. (Note the ‘ . ‘ before edu.) Or if you want information on a Canadian government ministry’s resources on a particular topic, information, add ‘site:Canada.ca’ to your search request. If you wanted to search for Selfie Sticks on the Edmonton Journal’s website, your search syntax would look like this: ‘site: edmontonjournal.com selfie stick.’
This is a unique trick that could be used by practically everyone if they knew it existed. Let’s say you have a favourite website. It can be anything. However, that website is getting a little bit boring, and you want to find other websites like it. To do so, you would use this syntax: ‘related:amazon.ca.’
If you do a Google Search using this syntax, you won’t find a link to Amazon. Instead, you’ll find links to online stores like Amazon. For example, sites like Indigo/Chapters, Best Buy, Hudson’s Bay, and others that sell physical items online. It’s a powerful Google Search tool that can help you find new sites to browse. The next example below searches for sites similar to the National Geographic site. That syntax would be, ‘related:nationalgeographic.com.’ Similarly, ‘related:Google.com,’ and ‘related:facebook.com’ will return websites that are similar to either of those two.
Social Media Searches
Put a ‘@’ in front of a search word or phrase to search social media sites. For example, @twitter. Put a ‘ # ‘ in front of a word or phrase search to search hashtags.
Combined Site Searches
As with combined word searches, Google Search can combine website searches using the right syntax. For example, if you enter, ‘site:businessinsider.com apple OR Microsoft -tablet,’ Google will search the Business Insider website for Apple or Microsoft products, excluding tablets.
Ignore Country-Specific Searches
This trick is useful if you are searching Google and getting redirected to .uk, .nl, or some other unwanted country. You can avoid country-specific redirects (e.g. .uk, .nl) on Google. To do so, go to ‘Google.com/ncr,’ and it will not redirect to any country extension.
Get Site Info
Put ‘info:’ in front of the site address to get information about that specific site. For example, ‘info:facebook.com.’