Though other search engines — including Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, AltaVista, Lycos, Gigablast and DuckDuckGo (which was in the news after the NSA scandal because it doesn’t use tracking) — still exist, Google leads the pack.
“To google” something on the Internet has become a household verb. Yahoo! and Bing haven’t been able to overtake the search engine leader.
But with the millions of page hits a common search can retrieve, how can you make your “googling” more effective? Here are some helpful Google search operators:
•define: Use before unfamiliar terms for a dictionary definition or, sometimes, the word or phrase's origin and an option to translate. Say you’ve just read about “chocolate bacon." By using the define: search operator, you will discover that it is “a North American dish that consists of cooked bacon with a coating of either milk chocolate or dark chocolate that can be topped with sea salt, crumbled pistachio or almond bits” and that Internet references date back to at least 2005.
•link: Lists web pages with links to the specified web page. For example, “link:www.cityofcrestview.org” will list web pages that link to the City of Crestview’s main page.
•site: Restricts the search to a particular domain name. For example, to search the U.S. government’s main site for identity theft information, type “site:usa.gov identity theft” into the Google search bar.
•related: Lists web pages similar to the specified web page. For example, to find websites similar to Better Homes and Gardens, type “related:bhg.com” in the search box.
•filetype: Shows only certain kinds of files. If you wanted only USA.gov handouts on identity theft, try “site:usa.gov identity theft filetype:pdf”
•info: This prefix will return background information about a specified web page and direct you to other search options already listed.
Have fun “googling" — and getting better results with some of these search options.
Sandra Dreaden is the Crestview Public Library's reference librarian.