Friday, August 05, 2005

August 4, 2005

My Simple Searching Searching Suggestions

by Steven Groginsky is the world's most-used search engine, and may be found by entering "", without the double-quotes, into your browser's address bar.

Searching has helped me immensely, since I started to get the hang of basic searches. I think searching is a tremendously useful, important, and integral part of the Internet. It is a very good way to access specific information you are looking for short of following links, which can also be a fruitful method but in my experience can take more time. I might say, then, that searching can enable an accelerated web, at least in terms of looking for information.

What is a search engine, you may ask? A search engine contains two parts - the user interface, and the "web page indexer." Hmm... this is getting curiouser and curiouser. All we need to concern ourselves with right now is the basic user interface - a text-height box where you enter search information for building a list of relevant web pages residing on the Internet and results list allowing you to browse the results entry by entry.

I will call all of the information that you enter in the search text box the "search string" (a "string" is the name used for text in programming languages). The most basic search string is a single word or more than one individual words. For example:


This search will produce a list of web pages in your browser with the word "apple" somewhere on each web page listed.

search=green apple

This search will produce a list of web pages in your browser with both the word "apple" and the word "green" somewhere on each web page listed. I don't think you'll run into any restriction of the number of words you can use.

The next step up is an exact phrase match, or text string match. In a phrase match, the phrase is surrounded by double-quotes ("), and the exact phrase in the double-quotes will be matched. For example:

search="green apple"

This will produce different results than the previous example. It will only match pages that have the word "green" followed by a space and the word "apple". Only the phrase to be matched is allowed between the double-quotes - it is treated as text and no other search information is allowed within the double-quotes.

Minus and Plus

This is slightly more advanced, but useful. A minus sign immediately before a search term (any of the examples above), signifying a logical NOT, which can also be used, excludes any instances of the term following it on web pages from the results list. For example:

search=books -shakespeare
is the same as
search=books NOT shakespeare

You have already read all of Shakespeare's works and would like to see all web pages with the word "books" on them but not the word "shakespeare" (upper-case is the same as lower-case in all of these examples).

I don't normally use the "plus" term, but it can be useful. It's use is to include small and frequently-used words that Google would ordinarily exclude when searching web pages. For example:

search=olympics +v
(probably easier to use:)
search="olympics v")

It's probably easier to use an "exact phrase" search, as immediately above. At least, I am used to doing it that way. However, the "plus" option is available.

There is more basic search information on at: Basic Search Help

I'd also like to share a little personal tip that I just thought up: if you are looking for something that's difficult to find, but you know a web page that is about something like it, try to find search terms on that page that you can use for your search.

For example, I was looking for something particular to a certain kind of PC audio file. I knew that a program called WinGroove does the same thing, so I went there. After following some links in an initial search, I ended up with the following search string:

search=soundfont gm

and I got a lot of interesting hits. Google also provides for modifying your original search string - adding to it to "refine" your search, subtracting to make it more general. I believe there is also a "find more like this" link that is offered for each results entry.

My name is Steven Groginsky

I am not associated in any way with I just wanted to see if I could help others move ahead a little.