Advanced Search Tips
You can increase the accuracy of your searches by adding operators that fine-tune your keywords, or search specific areas, such as FedEx/UPS tracking, phone numbers, maps, airline flight numbers and more.
" + " Searches
Google ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box.
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.)
Another method for doing this is conducting a phrase search, which simply means putting quotation marks around 2 or more words. Common words in a phrase search (e.g., "where are you") are included in the search.
For example, to search for Star Wars, Episode I, use: Star Wars Episode +I
" - " Searches
Sometimes what you're searching for has more than one meaning; "bass" can refer to fishing or music. You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign ("-") immediately in front of the term you want to avoid. (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign.)
For example, to find web pages about bass that do not contain the word "music", type: bass -music
" ~" Searches
You may want to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its synonyms. Indicate a search for both by placing the tilde sign ("~") immediately in front of the keyword.
For example, to search for food facts as well as nutrition and cooking information, use: ~food ~facts
Search for complete phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks. Words enclosed in double quotes ("like this") will appear together in all results exactly as you have entered them. Phrase searches are especially useful when searching for famous sayings or proper names.
Google supports the logical "OR" operator. To retrieve pages that include either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms.
For example, to search for a vacation in either London or Paris, just type: vacation london OR paris
Searching by Question
Phrase your question in the form of an answer. So instead of typing, "What is the average rainfall in the Amazon basin?", you might get better results by typing "The average rainfall in the Amazon basin is.
Put quotes around phrases that must be searched together. If you put quotes around "electric curtains," Google won't waste your time finding one set of Web pages containing the word "electric" and another set containing the word "curtains..
Put a hyphen right before any word you want screened out. If you're looking up dolphins, for example, you'll have to wade through a million Miami Dolphins pages unless you search for "dolphins -Miami."
Search for "phonebook:home depot norwalk, ct," Google instantly produces the address and phone number of the Norwalk Home Depot. This works with names ("phonebook:robert jones las vegas, NV") as well as businesses. Don't put any space after "phonebook." And in all of the following examples, don't type the quotes as shown here.
Type a FedEx or UPS package number (just the digits); when you click Search, Google offers a link to its tracking information.
Type in an equation ("32+2345*3-234="). Click Search to see the answer.
Type "teaspoons in a gallon," for example, or "centimeters in a foot." Click Search to see the answer.
Type in AAPL or MSFT, for example, to see a link to the current Apple or Microsoft stock price, graphs, financial news and so on.
Type in an area code, like 212, to see a Mapquest map of the area.
Type in a flight number like "United 22" for a link to a map of that flight's progress in the air. Or type in the tail number you see on an airplane for the full registration form for that plane.
Type in a VIN (vehicle identification number, which is etched onto a plate, usually on the door frame, of every car), like "JH4NA1157MT001832," to find out the car's year, make and model.