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How to Search on Google

The Google Media Academy offered some Tips and Tricks on how to efficiently use the Google Search Engine.
Gehad Hussein | 19.03.2012
Google Search can either be the most useful tool there is - or the most confusing. It all depends on how one uses is.

In order to reach maximum efficiency, the Google Team comes up with two search development ideas per day and conducts about 30,000 experiments annually on Google Users (which amounts to 1% of global Google Users.

Yesterday, the Google Media Academy in Cairo held a session hosted by its Head of Public Relations for the Middle East and North Africa Maha Abo ElEnein, dealing with Advanced Search Tips and Tricks.

Google has tools that help in getting accurate and proximite search results:
1. Spell Checker: When the user mispells a word, Google automatically defaults to the most common spelling of that possible word.
Example: If I type "eygpt", Google will automatically search for "egypt" and suggest the correct spelling of my entered search term.

2. Voice Search: At the end of Google's Search Bar, there is a small icon that looks like a microphone. When clicking on it, one can perform a voice search by saying what one is looking for out loud. This service is also available in Arabic now.

3. "Upload Image"-Search: Google Images gives the user the option to upload an image instead of entering a search term. Similar images will then appear as the search results.

4. From Information Technology to Knowledge Technology: Recently, Google has been trying to understand the search term besides merely searching it. That means that in certain situations, the search engine offers you the answer to your query before giving you links to a website. This works for time-queries, currency conversion, calculations and graphs, stocks, weather etc.
Example: When I enter "euro to EGP", the first result that pops us is "1 Euro = 7.92970941 Egyptian pounds" - the actual currency rate. Yet, there remain some glitches and not all queries written in that way offer knowledge-technology-based results, so it does not always work.

Abo ElEnein also offered some tips on how to search and specifically, how to enter search terms:
1. Long sentences do not give good results, which is why one should initially start searching about a topic with just two general terms and then add more specific ones after taking a look at the primary search results.

2. Usually, punctuation is ignored, so avoid adding commas, full stops and exclamation marks.

3. If one wants to look for a phrase, one should place it between quotation marks, so as to avoid search results where each term is searched for seperately.

4. When wanting to exclude sites with a certain term from the search results, place a "-" before the word.
Example: Enter "fruits -mango" and the search results will offer all pages about fruits that do not mention "mango".

5. When searching for results related or similar to a certain website, type the word "related:" before the search term.
Example: Type "" into the search bar, and Google will give you links to similar social network websites, such a MySpace, YouTube, Hi5 etc.

6. When wanting to search within a website, type "site:" before the site-domain and the search term.
Example: Type " imf loan" and all pages about the IMF loan on Egypt Business Directory will appear.

Whatever you are searching for, always check out the "Advanced Search Options" at the bottom of any Google-search-results-page to filter what you got according to color, file-type, date, language etc.
Img of Gehad Hussein
About the author: Gehad Hussein

Former Editor-in-Chief at Egypt Business Directory and Freelance Editor at Ahram Weekly.