7 Handy Google Search Tips and TricksApril 10th, 2008 by Michael Kwan
I was on Twitter last night when the bovine mogul ask how he could find out how many pages on a particular website are indexed in Google. I gave him the simplest answer and he sent out a tweet thanking me for the help. Shortly thereafter, John Cow get a follow-up “tweet” from Landon Porter asking the same thing. I guess this command in Google isn’t quite as well known as I had thought. In talking with Landon, I decided that it would be a good idea to do a post like this, so here it is.
We all know that Google is the world’s most popular search engine and that’s part of the reason why its stock value continues to rise. The thing is that many people only use Google search in its most basic form, plunking in their search term and just waiting for the most relevant results from the web. Google Search is much more powerful than that. What you will find below are a series of “extras” that you can do in Google Search. These handy tricks and useful tools will certainly prove invaluable in your journeys through the Internet.
Number of Indexed Pages
This was the question asked by John Cow. To find out the number of pages you have indexed in Google, simply preface the domain with “site:”. Don’t forget the colon and make sure there is no space between the colon and the domain. When I did the search for MichaelKwan.com, I see that 818 pages are currently indexed. This may or may not be 100% accurate, but it gives you a good ballpark. You can also the the “site” function to look for content within a particular website. For example, you can enter “site:michaelkwan.com mogul” into the search field and it will find all instances of “mogul” within the michaelkwan.com domain.
Number of Incoming Links
While you may look to Technorati for the number of incoming links, it’s always useful to check with other source — like Google — as well. This command works in a similar fashion to the “site” example above, except you use the command “link”. Just as before, you need a colon and there shouldn’t be a space between the colon and the domain. Doing the search for btr.michaelkwan.com currently yields 297 inbound links. Again, this may not be 100% accurate, but it shows you what Google knows.
Checking the Cached Pages
This can come in handy if you’re doing a top commentators post, but you only remembered to check after the count has been reset. If you preface the domain with “cache”, it will bring up the cache of that site, which is basically Google’s “snapshot” of the page when it crawled the web. Near the top of this page, you’ll be told when was the last time the site was spidered, so you’ll know how recent the snapshot was taken.
Simple and Complex Math
1 + 1 =
Google has a built-in calculator. You can enter just about any mathematical function into the search field and it will produce the result for you. Google can handle addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), division (/), exponents (x^y), and more. It will understand parentheses if you have a more complex equation to compute too.
Instant Stock Quote
If you know the ticker for your favorite stock, all you have to do is enter that into the search field. If you search for AAPL, you’ll get the current stock price, as well as recent trends, today’s opening price, today’s high, today’s low, volume, market cap, and more. There are also direct links to Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, MarketWatch, CNN Money, and Reuters. That’s pretty comprehensive.
100 USD to CAD
When I write for Mobile Magazine, I will oftentimes come across product pricing in a currency other than the US dollar. It might be in Korean Won, Japanese Yen, or British Pounds. Instead of going to a currency site and doing the calculation there, you can actually do a currency conversion right from Google search. All you have to do is use a formula similar to the one above, replacing the numbers and currency with what you need. Want to know how much 300 Euro are worth in Korean Won? Then enter “300 Euro to KRW.” It’ll do the conversion based on the current mid-market rate.
Hong Kong weather
While it isn’t quite as powerful as a “real” weather website, you can get the current conditions and a basic forecast just by adding the word “weather” to your target city. I found that this worked for most major cities — Tokyo, London, New York, etc. — but it can be hit and miss with smaller towns.
Based on all this added utility (and more), is it really all that surprising that Google has come to dominate my life? I’m sure they’ve had a pretty big effect on you too, even if they don’t let you visit their campus in California.
UPDATE – Thanks to the comment from Miss604 below, I’m reminded of another function in Google: the dictionary! To find the definition of any word, preface the term with “define”. It works the same way as the link, site, and cache commands above, so you’ll need a colon as before. For example, if you’ve ever wondered about the definition for rhetoric, there it is.
Filed under Technology.