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Google Manual
Collated By
Shubhro De
Note: to link to this page, use “http://www.googletutor/google-manual”. It’s important to
understand that links to individual pages within the manual could possibly change in

Web Search

1. Introduction
2. Understanding the Search Results Page
3. Setting Your Preferences
4. Building a Basic Search Query
5. Adding Basic Operators
6. Adding Advanced Operators
7. Searching Within a Number Range (upd 05/27)
8. Using Page Specific Web Search Operators
9. Using the Advanced Search Form
10. Using the Google Directory

Specialized Searches

1. Phone Book Search

2. Movie and Showtime Search
3. Stock Quotes and Information Search
4. Special Numbers Search

Search Tools

1. Using the Google Deskbar

Google Features Page:
Google is more than a web search engine. Much more. It will search web pages, news
articles, images, phone directories, books, and on and on. Google’s mission is to search
the world. But in this section, we will be exploring only the web page search function.
We won’t be touching on phonebook searches, movie searches, or any of the special
searches here.

Google web search will search the millions of web pages stored on all the accessible
servers on earth to find pages that match your search criteria. Although a simple program
to use, if you don’t know anything beyond keying a few words in the search field you’ll
have difficulty finding just what you are looking for. But by using a few simple
techniques you’ll learn in the pages ahead, you can narrow your search down to a
manageable set of results that most likely be what you require.

The techniques you must learn to master Google are not difficult. But, you need to spend
a little time to get to know them. You need to know which tools work for what task.

So, let’s start learning.

Why don’t you start out by starting up Google and keying a word in the search field, and
then go to the next section, Understanding the Search Results Page to see what it all
Understanding the Search Results Page
The search results page lists your results by relevance, with each underlined item linked
to the associated page.

Image from Google Help Center

We’ll describe the various parts of the Search Results Page here:

(A) Top links: Lists the links for the Google search services you want to use.

(B) Google search button: After entering any search criteria in the search field, you’ll
click this button or simply hit the enter key.

(C) Advanced search: Click this link to bring up a fill-in form to perform an Advanced
Search with many options.

(D) Search field: This is where you had keyed the search criteria.

(E) Preferences: Link to the Preferences Page from which you can set personal search
preferences such as your language, filtering, number of search results per page and more.

(F) Statistics bar: This tells you the how many results the search found, the search
criteria and a link to a definition if it is in the associated dictionary/encyclopedia with
whom Google has partnered.

(G) Tip: There may or may not be a tip for searching more efficiently.
(H) OneBox results: Google’s search technology finds many sources of specialized
information. Those that are most relevant to your search are included at the top of your
search results. Typical onebox results include news, stock quotes, weather and local
websites related to your search.

(I) Page title: Title of the web page listed. If the page has no title or has not yet been
indexed by Google, it will show the URL.

(J) Text below the title: This snippet is an excerpt from the result page, with your query
terms bolded. If Google has expanded the range of your search using stemming
technology, the variations will also be bolded. If not yet indexed, there will be no snippet.

(K) URL of result: Web address of the returned result.

(L) Size: The size of the text portion of the web page. The size gives you an idea of how
long it will take to load. Pages not yet indexed by Google will not show a size.

(M) Cached: Sometimes a page will not load due to either a server problem or a page
that no longer exists. However, Google stores the last indexed version of the page in
cache. Clicking on this link will show the cached page.

(N) Similar pages: When you select the Similar Pages link for a particular result, Google
automatically scouts the Web for pages that are related to this result.

(O) Indented result: When Google finds multiple results from the same website, the
most relevant result is listed first, with other relevant pages from that site indented below

(P) More results: If more than two results are found from the same site, the remaining
results can be accessed by clicking on the “More results from…” link.
Setting Your Preferences

Before you get started using Google, you should check your preferences. You can do this
by going to the main Google search page at, and clicking on the Preferences
link to the right of the search field.

Here you will be able to change the the settings that will define your Google Web Search
user experience.

Interface Language: Set the language in which you want the interface to communicate
with you. Pretty self-explanatory. Note that the Google programmers had a little fun here
and included the Elmer Fudd and Klingon languages.

Search Language: While English pages are the most prevalent, web pages are written in
all languages. By default, Google will search without regard for language. It’s not going
to translate a search word to search pages in another language, but it will look for the
search term in any web pages written in any language. To keep this default selection
make sure that Search for pages written in any language is selected.

Google recommends searching all languages, but why clutter up your search results page
with site you won’t be able to read. I prefer to select only the languages I know how to
read. You may select any number of languages here.

SafeSearch Settings: As everyone is aware, there are an overwhelming number of sites

on the web that are not appropriate for kids, or most people for that matter. A search
without safeguards in place can surely give you an unexpected eyeful.
Google’s SafeSearch setting lets you set up a safeguard to stop the inclusion of such sites
in your search. Your choices are:

• Moderate filtering excludes most explicit images from Google Image Search
results but doesn’t filter ordinary web search results. This is your default
SafeSearch setting; you’ll receive moderate filtering unless you change it.
• Strict filtering applies SafeSearch filtering to all your search results (i.e., both
image search and ordinary web search).
• No Filtering, as you’ve probably figured out, turns off SafeSearch filtering

Number of Results: Set how many results you wish to see per page.

Results Window: Set whether or not to open search results in a new browser window.
Default is no.
Building A Basic Search Query
Running a Google query means entering your search criteria into Google’s search field
and requesting the search results. This search field is found either on the main Google

or on the Search Results page:

In addition, you might find a search field on some web sites. Wherever you find it, you
can use the same query for the same results (be aware that some web sites may have
“site-flavored” search boxes which limit your search to certain pre-selected categories).

What criteria to use for the Search Query?

Your natural inclination is to enter whatever word you think might match up with the
sites you are looking for. This word is called a keyword. After pressing enter, the search
results page will display all the sites that contain the keyword you entered. The keyword
could be in the text, title URL or hidden META tags. Note: that capitalization is ignored.

Unless this keyword is unique (which is difficult with gazillions of web page indexed),
you are going to have a very long list of search results. For example, searching for
[supercalifragilisticexpialidocious] resulted in 43,300 pages! Obviously, you need to
narrow it down. Imagine if you keyed in a more popular word. Let’s say you are a golf
enthusiast and key in [golf]. That will give you 147,000,000 results.

Now if you just wanted the most popular, general sites for golf, you could find some in
your results list because the most popular pages rise to the top. Our search brought up,,, and more on the first page. If
that’s the type of popular site you need to find, that might work for you. But, usually you
need to look deeper than that. So how do you do that?

Multiple Keywords

You can start by entering more than one keyword. If you key more than one, all
keywords must be found on the page. To get technical, this is called a logical AND.
Returning to the subject of golf, let’s say you want to find out about the golf scene in
Boise, ID. Perform the search with the query [golf Boise]. This returns 1,100,000 results.

You get the basic idea. You can keep adding more keywords to narrow down the list.
You might add words like spa and country club to try to find exactly the type of place
you are looking for. Don’t let the huge number of pages that come up scare you;
remember, the list is sorted in order of relevance. Google will display the most popular
sites first. At the tail end of the results listing you might find pages in which people
simply mentioning it in their family blog or something.

Keep in mind that Google gives higher priority to pages with search terms that are found
in the same order as you structured them in your query, and if the words on the page are
close in proximity.

Compound Words

There are quite a few compound words that are sometimes found combined into one
word, sometimes separated into multiple words and sometimes connected together with a
hyphen. If you are searching for one of these words, is it important which format you use
to search? You bet it is, if you don’t want to miss anything.

First off, let’s make sure we all understand the types of conditions I’m talking
about. I don’t know about other languages, but the English language can be very
confusing in its seemingly arbitrary spelling of compound words and phrases. A word
phrase can be spelled as a solid compound, a hyphenated compound or spaced words. Do
you spell it database, data base or data-base, website, web site or web-site, fundraiser,
fund raiser or fund-raiser? There are hundreds of words and phrases that are like this.

And then there are the acronyms or made up sets of letters/words that have an irregular
use of the hyphen. Take for example the Apple operating system OS X. Or is it OSX or
OS-X? There is obviously one preferred usage, developed by Apple, but it doesn’t
mean everyone spells it that way.

So, how do you search for these? You don’t want to miss anything, and you certainly
don’t want to perform three searches. You also don’t want to have to tale the time to
build a query with the OR operator.
If you were to perform the search as spaced words, such as [left handed], you’ll get pages
with ‘left handed’ and ‘left-handed’, but no ‘lefthanded’. If you search for [lefthanded]
you’ll only get ‘lefthanded’.

But, if you search for [left-handed] you get it all!

ANSWER: Always search for compound words with the hyphen and you’ll pull up pages
that may use all three variations..

Automatic Exclusion of Common Words, Punctuation and Special Characters

Google ignores common words and characters such as “the” and “how”, as well as
certain single digits and single letters. This is done because they are virtually omnipresent
and therefore slow down and expand your search without improving results. If Google
considered any of your words to be common words it will note this in a message just
below the search field.

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by
putting a “+” sign in front of it. (Be sure to include a space before the “+” sign.)
Enclosing multiple words in quotes to form a phrase (more on that later) does the same

Other than the special characters you’ll learn about later that have special relevance to
Google, most punctuation will be ignored. There is an exception, and that is the
apostrophe since it is used in contractions.

Word Variations (Stemming)

Google uses something called stemming technology. When it considers it appropriate, it

will search not only for your search terms, but also for words that are similar to some or
all of those terms. What it does, essentially, is match other versions of a word by
chopping it down to its basic form and matching different endings. Take the word “runs”.
Its most basic form is “run”. Stemming will match run, runs, running, runner and runners.
These stemmed words are assigned less relevance because they aren’t an exact match.
But they are still considered a match.
Adding Basic Operators
Google supports powerful operators which can be special characters or words that modify
the search query. In this section we’ll look at the basic–not to be confused with weak–
operators which include the OR operator and the special character operators:

• OR word or “|” character

• Double Quotation Marks (” “)
• Plus sign (+)
• Minus sign (-)
• Tilde (~) character
• Asterisk (*) character
• Double Periods (..)
• Parenthesis (())

As I’m explaining these, I’ll be tempted to use advanced operators (which I’ll describe
later) to improve them, but I can’t until we get to that chapter. So, as you are reading,
know that there are often better ways to do what I’m showing you and you’ll soon learn

The OR Operator

When you build your search with multiple keywords, Google searches for these as logical
ANDs. This means that all of the keywords must be satisfied. For example, search query
[red blue] means pages with both red and blue will be selected. But what if you wanted to
search for either of the words? Do this by placing an OR between the words like this:
[red OR blue]. The OR operator must be in caps; a lower case OR will be considered one
of the stop words and ignored. Better yet, if you want to save a keystroke and not take the
chance of keying it in lowercase, you can use the pipe character “|” instead of the word
OR. These are both valid OR queries:

[Uranus OR Neptune]
[Uranus | Neptune]

OR sets the either or condition between the element preceding it and the element
following it. It does not perform an OR between multiple words on either side of it
(unless they are a phrase or group, which you’ll read about in a moment). So, the
following query does not search for either “red couch” or “blue sofa”. What it does
instead is search for “red” and “sofa” and either “couch” or “blue.” You’ll end up with
pages that have “red”, “couch” and “sofa” or “red”, “blue” and “sofa”–not what you are
looking for.

[red couch | blue sofa]

So, how would you request either “red couch” or “blue sofa”? By using phrases, up

Double Quotation Marks for Exact Phrase Search

When you enter multiple keywords, Google searches for all of those keywords. It gives
precedence to finding the keywords together just as they are keyed, and those in close
proximity, but it will also pull up pages having the keywords anywhere in the page.

But, you can search for only the exact set of keywords, in the order you keyed them, by
enclosing them in quotation marks. The words within the quotes are called a phrase. In
addition, enclosing the search terms in quotation marks will stop word stemming (finding
variations of the word, not to be confused with synonyms). For this reason, you could use
quotation marks to enclose a single word simply to find that exact word without Google
word-stemming it.

Here is an example of using a phrase to better find pages with Crater lake Lodge in them:

[Crater Lake Lodge] 151,000 pages, not all about the Crater Lake Lodge
["Crater Lake Lodge"] 6,550 pages virtually all referencing the Crater Lake

Getting back to the “red couch” or “blue sofa” query we did earlier, you can now do that
with this query that uses phrases:

["red couch" | "blue sofa"]

Using the “+” Sign to Force a Search on a Word

Google ignores certain “common words” (called stop words) because they appear too
frequently in pages and would thus pull up too many pages that would not satisfy the
search request properly. Using the “+” sign will force Google to treat the word following
it (without a space in between) as a valid search term.

Frankly, there are not many situations that using this does any more than enclosing a
word or words in quotation marks. For example, Google tells you that if searching for
Star Wars Episode I you should use [Star Wars Episode +I]. Well, it would be better as
["Star Wars" "Episode I"]. This way you won’t get someone who wrote “I sure love that
episode of Star Wars, the second one.” (I created two phrases in my search in case there
was any punctuation between Star and Episode.)

There are valid situations in which you will need the “+” sign, and you’ll know it when
you come across it.

Omitting Pages with Certain Keywords by using the “-” Sign

This special character is much more useful than the “+” sign. It tells Google to omit
pages that have a particular word or phrase in it. Often words have multiple meanings and
you end up with results that include pages that have nothing remotely to do with what
you were interested in.

For example, let’s say that you were interested in learning about alternative energy, with
the exclusion of solar energy since you already know about that. The following would
satisfy that search:

[alternative energy -solar]

Powerful Synonym Search with the “~” Sign

Now this is a great search operator! By placing a “~” sign (called a tilde) right in front of
a word (no space in between), you are instructing Google to search not only for the word
following the tilde, but also its synonyms. Without doing this in certain types of searches
you will miss many valuable sites. Let’s say that you want to find sites that offer a primer
on alternative energy. You know that the word “primer” is not the only way to say “an
introduction to” or “the basics of” but you don’t want to try to think up all the synonyms
and build a massive OR query. So, you use the tilde like this:

["alternative energy" ~primer]

You should execute this query by clicking the link to study the results. Looking at just the
first page, you’ll see pages that use the words, “tips,” “basics,” “review” and
“introduction.” Although not “primer”, the sites appear to be what we are looking for.
Using just one word like “primer” would have missed many sites of interest.

Wildcard Search with the Asterisk

You can use the asterisk “*” as a wildcard in your search query. It’s not the type of
wildcard people are used to. It’s really more of a placeholder for a single word. It means
that wherever there is an asterisk, the search will accept any word.

This works well if you know a phrase but forgot one of the words. For example, let’s say
you know there is a story called Little somethingg Riding Hood, but for the life of you,
you cannot remember what that missing word is. You can search for it like this:

["little * riding hood"]

Oh yeah, it was Little Red Riding Hood!

Use multiple asterisks for multiple wildcard words. For example, the following looks for
pages that have the words “brown” and “cow” with three words in between them:

["brown *** cow"]

I don’t think this is extremely useful. A traditional wildcard would have been better. But,
it’s there if you need it.

Grouping with Parenthesis

Another very powerful operator is the parenthesis characters, used for grouping. It means
that the operator (including the always assumed invisible AND operator) is to perform its
operation on the group within the parenthesis. This is is primarily used with the OR

Let’s say that you wanted to search for pages that were about silver or gold coins. You
could do ["silver coins" | "gold coins"] but using grouping is better if the query becomes
more complicated. The following search query looks for pages that deal with silver, gold
or platinum dimes or quarters. This would be too unwieldy with just OR’s.

[(silver | gold | platinum) (dimes | quarter)]

Adding Advanced Operators
We’ve been through the basic operators that tell Google what to search for. Now we look
at the advanced operators that instruct Google where in the pages or site, or even in
which site, it should look to execute the query. These are essential in fine-tuning your
search query.

You’ll identify these operators easily because they are a word ending with a colon. Here
is a list of the operators:

• site:
• inurl:
• allinurl:
• intitle:
• allintitle:
• intext:
• allintext:

Do not include a space between the operator and the word following it. Sometimes a
space will work, but no space always works.

Note that all the operators that start with “all” cannot be mixed with other operators in a
query, and cannot be preceded with a “-” sign.

Specify Site to Include (or exclude) with site:

The site: operator tells Google to search only within a particular site, or within sites with
a certain Top Level Domain (domain suffix).

Let’s say you want to see only pages about Gmail help only in the Google site:

[gmail help]

Maybe you’d like to see what tips (actually synonyms of tips) that sites besides Google

[gmail ~tips]

How about educational sites that discuss political correctness:

["political correctness"]

Multiple sites require multiple site:’s–one per operator.

Specify Word in URL to Include (or exclude) with inurl:

With this operator you can restrict the results to pages that contain a word in the URL.
The word can be anywhere in the URL, not just in the domain name. The following finds
pages that contain “UCLA” in the URL, “prerequisites” anywhere on the page, but are
not from UCLA’s own site:

[inurl:ucla prerequisites]

Putting inurl: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allinurl: at the
front of your query.

Specify Multiple Words in URL with allinurl:

Allinurl: works similarly to inurl: except that it can be followed by multiple words. The
search will be restricted to pages that contain all of the query words in the url. For
example, the following query will return pages that have either “UCLA” and “Bruins” or
“UCLA” and “Football” in the URL:

[allinurl: ucla bruins | football]

Specify Word in Site Title with intitle:

Web sites insert a title in each of their pages. This is what you see in the title bar of your
browser. These titles are chosen carefully so that the search engines will index their site
in the way which best represents its contents. So, being able to search only the title is a
very, very powerful search. The operator intitle: performs this search.

Let’s say you are looking for pages that have “Anaconda” in the title, do not have
“movie” in the title (Anaconda was the name of a movie) and have the word “danger”
anywhere in the page:

[danger intitle:anaconda -intitle:movie]

Specify Multiple Words in Site Title to Include with allintitle:

Operator allintitle: is to intitle: as allinurl is to inurl. It will do what intitle: does, but all
the words that follow it must be in the title. For example, the following search query will
find all pages that have the words “fish”, “taco” and “recipe” in the title. This will give us
a better chance at finding pages that actually have the recipes in them, rather than pages
that merely mention them.

[allintitle: fish taco recipe]

Specify Word in Site Text with intext:

This operator looks for pages that have the word in just the text only, and not anywhere
else in the page (URL, title, META keywords). I don’t really see much use for it; you
might as well do a regular search. Here’s the format:


Specify Multiple Words in Site Text with allintext:

I’ll bet you guessed what this does. It does what intext: does, but with multiple keywords.
Here’s the format:

[allintext:really stupid]
Searching within a Number Range
Google has many interesting ways that it handles numbers. We’ve already discussed how
it treats specialized numbers in our article, Specialized Number Search. And, we’ve
discussed how you can turn Google into a calculator in the article, The Amazing Google
Calculator — Hidden in Plain Sight. Now, we’re going to talk about how you can search
Google using a range of numbers.

Essentially, you can tell Google that you want it to search for a range of numbers within
the text, or wherever else you want with the advanced operators. It will find numbers
equal to, or within the range, and understands numbers it finds on pages that have
commas and decimal points in them. To tell Google to do a number range search, place
two periods between to numbers, with no spaces, like this:


Let’s say you were trying to figure out who was president between 1800 and 1804. You
could perform the following search:

[1801..1804 president]

You can search with decimal points in the lower or higher number, but it gets confused
with commas. For example:

[15,000..30,000 miles] confuses it.

but [3.1..3.9 liters] does not.

You can also leave off one of the numbers to do a equal or greater than or less than or
equal. For example, the following will search for numbers greater than or equal to
50000000 miles.

[50000000.. miles]

You are supposed to be able to search dollar amounts, but it did not work for me, as it
also pulled up numbers within the range that were not dollar amounts.
Using Page Specific Web Search
Now we look at the site specific search operators. These don’t serve the same purpose as
the other operators but three out of four are useful nonetheless.

• info:
• link:
• related:
• cache:

Make sure that there is no space after any of these operators.

Retrieve Page Information with info:

The operator info: will present some information that Google has about the web page
whose URL you specify in its value. For example, the following query will show
information about the Google homepage.


Boring. Doesn’t show anything of value. Maybe Google has some future plans for this.

This functionality is also accessible by typing the web page URL directly into a Google
search box.

Search the Saved Cache Page with cache:

Google stores on its servers a cached copy of each page it has indexed. So, if a site is
down, or the page has ceased to exist, you will be able to still view the cached version of
the page. This is done with the cache: operator.

Start your query with cache: followed by the page whose cache you wish to view. For
example, the following will show the cached page of


You can include words that you want Google to highlight in the cached page by listing
them after the web page name. For instance, adding “population” will show the cached
content with the word “population” highlighted.

[cache: population]
This functionality is also accessible by clicking on the “Cached” link for any page listed
on Google’s search results page.

Search for Pages with Links to a Web Page

The link: operator will list web pages that have links to the specified web page. For
instance, the following query will list web pages that have links pointing to the homepage.


Search for Similar Pages

The related: operator will list web pages that are similar to a specified web page. For
instance, the following will list web pages that are similar to the e*trade homepage.


This functionality is also accessible by clicking on the “Similar Pages” link on Google’s
results page.
Using the Advanced Search Form


It was good to learn how to use them free-form in the search field, but for more
complicated queries you can save time by going right to Google’s Advanced Search page.
It has the power of most of the query operators built in to a more convenient interface for
easier use.

To get to the Advanced Search page follow the link the right of the search box on the
Google home page.

It lets you search for pages that:

• contain ALL the search terms you type in

• contain the exact phrase you type in
• contain at least one of the words you type in
• do NOT contain any of the words you type in
• are written in a certain language
• are created in a certain file format
• have been updated within a certain period of time
• contain numbers within a certain range
• are within a certain domain, or website
• don’t contain “adult” material

Find Results: The blue Find Results area is the heart of your search. You can fill in just
one field or up to all four. These field relate to the basic operators we discussed a few
chapters back.
Language: Use the Language selection to list only web sites in your language. This has
been useful for me because for some reason I’m always coming up with German web
pages in my searches.

File Format: The file format selection can include or exclude one file type.

Date: The Date option is extremely useful if you are looking for timely information (and
who isn’t?). Let’s say that you are searching for the latest precautions on a
medication—do you really want to risk reading a seven year old report on the subject?
Set the Date selection to a recent time frame. The most recent time frame page you can
specify is three months.

Occurrences: I really like this option that lets you select where the search terms must be
located. There are several choices, but if you really need to find pages that are created in
line with your search terms, asking to find the words in just the title will find the most
relevant. (The title is not necessarily what you see on the header of the web site; it is what
the web designer carefully crafted and placed in a “Meta†keyword in the
“code†that tells the search engine what the site title is.)

All the choices relate directly to the advanced operators we discussed ina previous lesson.
Read that page for details how each choice works. Anywhere on the page runs the query
without any of the “where” advanced operators, in the title of the page is equivalent to
allintitle, in the text of the page doesn’t have an equivalent, in the URL of the page is
equivalent to allinurl, and in links to the page is equivalent to allinanchor.

Domain: The domain selection offers a way to do a search that either searches only
within a particular site or avoids a particular site. This is equivalent to the insite: operator.

Safe Search: If you are going to search for anything other than porn, turning on the Safe
Search is a good idea. This uses the preferences you set in the Search Preferences page.

Page Specific: The two options here mimic the related: and link: operators. Similar will
list pages that Google feels are similar to the page you enter. Link will list pages that link
to the page you enter.
Using the Google Directory
You wouldn’t know it by Google has a directory system where you can browse or search
by category and subcateogries. You get to it by going to or
searching Google for [google directory] and finding the link to it at the top of the search
list. Here’s what you get:

This directory combines Google search technology with the Open Directory pages,
developed by the 20,000 volunteer editors from the Open Directory Project, who review
websites and classify them by topic. There are currently over 1.5 million URL’s

What’s the value of using the Google Directory over the regular Google web search?

• You can search within any category or subcategory that you’ve drilled down to.
You’ll get only results that fall within that category.
• The Google Directory is particularly useful when you’re not sure how to narrow
your search, and can help you understand how topics within a specific area are
related and may suggest terms that are useful in conducting a search.
• It can give you an idea of the breath of a given category
• You might prefer to only see sites that have been evaluated by an editor.

When you select a main category, you will be shown a list of the various subcateories,
any of which you can click to drill down further.
You can continue drilling down through subcategories until you reach a list of web sites
under the lowest level subcategory. Any search within Google Directory will search only
the category you are currently in. This can be very useful. For example, a search of the
entire web for ‘Patriots’ might return pages on any number of subjects, But is you search
“Patriots” within the category Sports > Football, American > Professional >, you will
see only results related to the Detroit Lions football team.

Here’s a little trick: Let’s say you are in Google’s regular web search, looking for
something there but would like to switch into a targeted directory category instead. You
can do this quickly by searching for the words “google” and directory”, plus a word that
might be in the heading of a category you want to zero in on. The first item on the
resulting search page will bring you directly to the Google Directory category page

For example, if you are looking for a site on Astronomy, search for [google directory

Try it out by clicking it. The first item you’ll see in the search results will be the
Astronomy category page. Click that and you’ll go right to the category page.
Phone Book Search
Google provides an excellent directory of residential and business phone numbers in the
United States. With Google Phonebook you’ll be able to:

• search residential listings separately

• search business listings separately
• search both business and residential listings together
• perform a reverse number lookup

Looking Up Phone Numbers

There are three operators that perform the searches for a phone number (we’ll get into the
reverse directory lookup later). These are:

rphonebook: Search the residential listings

bphonebook: Search the business listings
phonebook: Search both residential and business listings

The format for these operators is [operator] [name] [location]

A search beginning with any of these operators brings up Google’s Phonebook search
results page. A search of both business and residential combined (phonebook:) will list up
to five matches for each of the two phone books, with links to display more. The other
two operators display a longer initial page of matches.

The name search word, if residential, should be [first last], [initial last], or [last]. You can
include the middle initial, but if the listing does not have it, you won’t get the match. I
suggest trying “first name last name” first, and if that does not work out, try “first initial
last” because if it’s listed that way using the first name won’t find it. Finally, if that does
not work, try just the last name. And, if you have a strange first name and a last name I
cannot even pronounce let alone spell (like a doctor I know who is named Proton), you
can try the first name only

If you are looking for a business, Google Phonebook will simply look for a match of your
search term word or phrase (multiple words are considered a phrase–won’t be reordered)
in the listing business name.

The location can be a zip code, a city or a state. If you’re looking for a Smith, you better
narrow it down to zip code if you can. If you’re looking up Shiblowski, it probably
doesn’t matter.

Here is an example of finding a specific individual, zip code known:

rphonebook: Aaron Smith 92101

Here is an example of finding all plumbing companies in Los Angeles; state not required
due to uniqueness):

bphonebook: Plumbing Los Angeles

Here is an example of finding a CPA in Belmont; unsure if listed in business or


phonebook: Stevens Belmont, CA

Wildcards are not permitted and just using a portion of a word does not act as a wildcard.
For example, using “Plumb” will not find “Plumbing.” However, putting in one or more
full words of a multi-word listing name will work as a “wild card;” i.e. “Plumbing”
shows all listings with the word “Plumbing” in the name.

You can also use a logical OR for the residential or business name, but not for the
location. This could be helpful if there are several ways similar business might describe
themselves. For example, if you had some clothes you need altered you might need to
look up both sewing and alterations. Or, for a residential listing you might not know if a
last name is spelled Fleming or Flemming:

bphonebook: (sewing | alterations) los angeles

rphonebook: john (fleming | flemming) ca

Doing a Reverse Lookup

All of the three operators can be used for a reverse number lookup using the format
[operator] [phone number]. Area code is required. The following looks up the phone
number 805-555-1234 in either directory:
phonebook: 805-555-1234

Asking Google to Remove Your Listing

If you aren’t happy that Google has your name listed, you can go to the Google
Phonebook Removal Page to request that they remove it.
Movie and Showtimes Search
With the Google “movie” operator, you can look for movies by titles, actors, directors,
genre, famous lines, plot details and more. In addition, you can find movie theaters and
showtimes in your area.

The magical operator is “movie:†. If you key it into the search field (try it:
[movie:]) you will get a listing of theaters in your area with showtimes. This is assuming
you have already told Google Local your local area; if not, you can do so when prompted.
You can also ask Google for showtimes in any area like this [movie: 92101] or [movie:
new york, ny].

From this display, you can toggle the listing to display by theater or by movie. You can
click on the name of a movie and it will show you every theater in the area that is playing
it, along with the times. Clicking showtimes that are links will bring you to a website
where you can purchase tickets for the show online. Each movie has a link to the Internet
Movie Database (IMDB) page for the movie, where you can find every bit of information
you ever wanted to know about it.

If you already know the name of the movie that you wish look up, you can key in the
movie: operator followed by the name of the movie. This will go directly to the local
showtimes for that movie. Alternatively, you can even just key in the movie name alone.
This will sometimes bring up a link to go to the showtimes as the first entry in the search
results, like this:

Google can also provide lots of other information for a movie. First, I’ll explain all the
ways you can find a movie: You can search by whatever information is part of the title,
description or reviews. If the keyword–perhaps title, name of director or some other
descriptive word–is found it will display a listing for that movie on the page with a short
description, date and the number of reviews associated with it. Here are examples of
some ways to find a movie:

[movie: Casablanca]
[movie: spielberg]
[movie: kid friendly]

It’s a really useful tool when you remember some details of the film, but you
can’t remember the title. For example, let’s say that you cannot remember the
name of the movie in which the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the higher-rated Russian
team. A search of [movie: hockey olympics united states Russian] pulls up the move
Miracle, just what you were looking for.

From the resulting list of movies that match your search criteria, you select the movie for
which want to pull up the Google movie page. This page will provide a list of the reviews
(grouped by positive and negative), the average review score in stars, and a list of
frequently mentioned terms in the reviews. Clicking on a review brings you directly to
the source web page of the review. to try it out, click Click this link to see a movie review
page for the movie Elf.

Yes, there are sites dedicated to showing you information on showtimes and the movies
themselves. And, yes, they often have more information. But, as with many of Google’s
special searches, there are is nothing faster than the Google way.
Stock Quotes and Information Search
You can use Google to get quick stock quotes and more stock information.

The fastest way to get a quote with some basic trading data is to simply key the stock
symbol right into the search field. For example, give [goog] a try. You’ll get the
following stock quotes one-box right at the top of your search results page.

It gives you a one-day mini-chart, price, volume, market cap and highs and lows for the
day. I am very pleased to see that they included the real time price at the bottom, in
addition to the 15-minute delayed price.

To get more detailed and complete information, you can then click in the one-box. This
will produce the same result as if you wanted to go directly to the detailed stock data by
entering into the search field the operator “stock:” followed by one or more stock

[stocks: goog]

Google doesn’t have it’s own stock information page (yet?) so it will pull up pages from
other sites. Entering a Google stock: query, surprisingly, begins with a page from it’s
arch rival, Yahoo!. Click the link above to see it in action in a new browser window.

You can see at the top of the page there are links to switch to stock quote pages from The
Motley Fool, MSN MoneyCentral and ClearStation. Clicking any of these will display a
page from their respective sites.
If you enter more than one symbol in the search field, you’ll get multiple quotes on the
page. Try clicking the following now to open up the quotes in a new browser window:

[stocks: goog qcom nvda]

The initial Yahoo! finance page shows a series of snapshots, one after another, neatly
stacked on the page for an organized look at the stock prices, market data, a daily chart
and more. Links provide more detailed information.

The (The Motley Fool) site will display a page for the first stock symbol only.
Yet, it has a drop down list box pre-filled with the other symbols you can select to change
the page information. This page is better suited for recent headlines and press releases.

MSN Money Central provides a nice display for multiple symbols. There is less
information shown than on Yahoo, but the benefit is it takes less space. There is a line for
the price and volume for each stock, followed by a chronological list of headlines for the
companies. You can click links for more detailed information on any stock. (I had trouble
opening this page with FireFox for some reason, but maybe it’s only my installation.)

ClearStation gives you more information on the initial page than the others do. However,
it will only display information for the first two symbols. But, if you are looking for a
quick display of the best looking chart of the four, along with common technical
indicators, this is the best bet.

Other Ways to Get to Quotes

If you key in the entire name of a publicly traded company you’ll most likely see a
regular search result listing for the company’s web site; this will have a “stock quotes for
symbol” link you can click to go to the stock quotes page.

Creating Portfolios

You can create and bookmark a portfolio for quick retrievals of selected stocks. Just enter
the stocks: operator with the symbols you want grouped together, select the information
source up top, and then bookmark the page with a descriptive name for the portfolio. For
example, you can set up portfolios for Energy, Technology, Biotech, and so on. Or, if you
don’t have many stocks, just put them all in one portfolio.
Special Numbers Search
When you search for a number in Google, it’s not necessarily going to do it’s normal web
search, looking for pages with that number in them. It first examines the number to see if
it might have a special meaning. If its size and format match certain types of meaningful
numbers like parcel tracking numbers or vehicle IDs, for example, it will search for
information about the particular item it represents. For example, searching for a number
like 1Z9999W99999999999 will cause Google to put a one-box information display at
the top of your search results page that says” Track UPS package
1ZV723R33710000780″ linked to the UPS tracking page.

The specialized numbers that Google will do this with are:

UPS tracking numbers

example search: “1Z9999W99999999999″

FedEx tracking numbers

example search: “999999999999″

Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers

example search: “AAAAA999A9AA99999″

UPC codes

example search: “073333531084″

Telephone area codes

example search: “650″

Telephone number reverse directory

example search: “650-555-1212″

(More on the topic of Google Phonebook in our article, Google, the
Fastest Phonebook on the Web)

Patent numbers

example search: “patent 5123123″

(Must put the word “patent” before your patent number.)

FAA airplane registration numbers

example search: “n199ua”

FCC equipment IDs

example search: “fcc B4Z-34009-PIR”

(Must put the word “fcc” before the equipment ID.)
Using the Google Deskbar
Note: The Google Deskbar works in Windows only

There’s plenty of talk about the Google Toolbar, but I don’t really hear much about the
Google Deskbar. It’s a shame, as it’s really a great tool, does many of the same things as
Toolbar, yet takes up only about an inch of your taskbar. I’m not sure as to why the lack
of awareness–maybe because Google is really pushing the Toolbar.

It doesn’t matter which brand of browser you are using–Explorer, Firefox, Opera or
whatever–you’ll find the Google Deskbar makes it so simple to do quick searches, check
your spelling, do a simple or complex calculation and more. What’s really great is that a
browser does not even need to be open! And, even if one is, it does not even open up a
new page in your browser. Instead, it uses an unobtrusive, small mini-viewer that you can
modify to a size that works for you.

And while the built-in searches are cool enough, you can build your own custom
“searches” to web sites that you frequent. And you can pass variables to the URL for a
dynamic web page display!

A Quick Description First

The Google Deskbar is a Windows application that gives you the ability to search the
web without forcing you to stop the work you’re doing. Google startup puts a search box
in the Windows taskbar and displays your search results in a small mini-viewer that rises
just above it. You don’t even need to use your mouse, as everything can be done with
keyboard shortcuts. It does most of the things that the Google Toolbar does but takes up
less of your screen’s real estate.
Two-minute Installation

The Google Deskbar is one of the tools you’ll find on the Google Software Downloads
page; also found at Google Deskbar Home. From either page, it’s a quick install. Just
click the “Download Now” button to download it to your computer, and then double click
the file to install it. Once it’s installed, you must right click on the taskbar and go to the
Toolbars menu and select Google Taskbar to display it.

Using the Google Deskbar

To begin using Deskbar, you need to place your cursor in the search field it installed in
your toolbar. You can mouse over to it, or press the Ctrl+Alt+G keyboard shortcut from
anywhere. Key whatever keyword you want into it as if you were keying it into any
Google search field. If you then just press the enter key, it does a standard Google web
search, bringing up the results in the mini-viewer above it. If you want a different type of
search, click on the menu button to it’s right, just past the binoculars image, and select
the desired search type. The selected search results page will appear in the mini-viewer.
After this, clicking on the binoculars will show/hide the mini-browser, with the previous
contents remaining in it.

There are also keyboard shortcuts for each type of search. For instance, Google News is
Ctrl-N and Google Images is Ctrl-I. These shortcuts only function once your cursor is
already in the search field.

You can customize the mini-viewer to your personal preferences. You can change its
dimensions by dragging its top left corner until you get the size that works for you.
Deskbar will remember this setting between uses. You can also change the size of the text
shown in the mini-viewer. Just open the Deskbar menu, select Options, and open the
mini-viewer tab. Here, you can change the font size, in addition to other operational

While you’re in Options, take a look at the other preferences you can set. You can control
things like if it should open a browser when clicking on results, use AutoComplete, make
searches sticky, keyboard shortcuts, the preferred Google site (language-specific site),
customized searches and more.

Did I say Customized Searches?

Warning: this section gets kind of technical and is not necessary to understand for
everyday usage of Google Deskbar

I’ll bet only one out of a thousand Google users know they can creat custom searches in
the desktop. But just why would you want to do? It’s very useful if you go to any site
often that allows you that asks you for a keyword. For example, Google Deskbar comes
with two custom searches built in. One is for and the other for
stock quotes. Common to both of them is that you pass a variable (respectively, the word
to look up or the stock symbol to request).

Before building your own customized search, you can take a look at the built-in ones to
see how they are done. In Option’s Customized Searches tab, click on either “Stock
Quotes” or “Thesaurus” and press the Edit button. You can see that the URL has a “{1}”
in it for passing the variable. (Google has complete instructions for this.)

Let’s build one from scratch so you can learn how to do this. Why don’t we build
something that is similar to the Stock Quotes, but instead we will request headlines from
Yahoo for a publicly-traded company. The first thing to do is to go to the page you’ll
want to bring up; just pick any stock symbol for now. The page for recent headlines in
Yahoo Finance (for Google stock, symbol GOOG) is:


Look for the question mark. That is what precedes the variables that are passed from the
URL to the program. In this case it is “s=goog”. That’s the variable we have to change
before we enter the URL into the Customized Search entry we’ll make. We need to
change “s=goog” to “s={1}”. The “1′ means variable number 1. This will pass to the
URL whatever we key in the deskbar search field

Choose to “Add” a customized search entry. In Name for deskbar menu, key in
something like Stock Headlines. You can pick a Ctrl-key keyboard shortcut here too.
Then, enter the URL ({1}) we just created into the URL
field and click OK:

Viola! Now I can key my stock ticker in the search field and press Ctrl-H to bring up the
latest headlines in my mini-browser.

Give it a Try

I haven’t covered everything on the Google Deskbar. Google has some good Deskbar
Help pages for that. I do hope that you install the deskbar, and play around with it,
referencing this article and the help pages when needed. I think that you’ll find it a time
saver and if you are using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox or Opera, it will save you
from opening too many instances of your browser (Firefox and Opera use tabbed