Google queries are simple yet powerful
To enter a query into Google, just type in a few descriptive keywords and hit "search." That's it! If you need them, however, we also provide a few advanced search operators.
- NEW! The "" operator. Google automatically prefers pages where the query terms are found in close proximity. However, sometimes the only relevant pages are those where some or all of the query words occur as a phrase. You can enclose words in double-quotes ("like this") to force the words to appear together in all returned documents.
- NEW! The - operator. Sometimes it is helpful to choose words to exclude from a search. That is, you want all relevant result pages except those containing a certain word. We support this "not" functionality with the "-" operator. Simply prefix your query word with a - (-like -this) to make Google ignore all pages containing that word.
- Automatic AND. Google only supports "and" queries. That is, it only returns pages that include all the query terms. The + operator, which enforces "and" behavior on some search engines, is unnecessary on Google (though it can be used to include stopwords; see below).
Do more than query
The results of a Google search do a lot to help point you toward the right result: the numbers in the results help you figure out result quality, and the query word-sensitive content helps you figure out what the pages are about.
The results can also be used for further exploration of the web. Click on the bar graph at the beginning of the result, and see what pages link to this page.
Click on the "cached" link, and see what the page looked like when we indexed it. Has the page changed so much it doesn't hold the information you need anymore? Perhaps the version in the cache will be more helpful.
The "I feel lucky" button automatically takes you to the first web page returned for your query. When it works -- and it often works -- it means less time searching for web pages and more time looking at them.
Want to limit your search to web pages regarding Linux? Interested only in web pages at Stanford? Then site search is for you. It searches only a subset of the full web, providing pages that are even more likely to be relevant to your needs.
Limitations on queries
Google does not support all of the operations found in all search engines. Many of these we plan on supporting in a future release.
- No "or" operator. Most search engines will return pages that contain only some of the query terms, sometimes in preference to pages that contain all the terms! Google only returns pages that contain all the terms. There is no way to turn off this behavior. There is also no way to tell Google to accept pages containing either word A or word B. You must submit the query twice, once with word A and once with word B.
- Google doesn't "stem." Some search engines automatically expand your search, so when you type in "wood" it searches for "woods" as well, and maybe even "woody" or "wooden." There's some argument about whether this is good or bad, but Google does not support it. If in doubt, try both forms: "airline" and "airlines," for instance.
Google removes common words such as "the" and "of" from the query before it starts to search. Use "+the" or "+of" to prevent the common word from being removed. This is sometimes helpful when the word is important for completing a phrase.
Since some other search engines (but not Google) use "and" and "or" as search operators, Google ignores them. If you want to use "and" or "or" as actual query words, you can use "+and" or "+or".
Note that you need to use "+" even within quotation marks. A query like "lord of the flies" will normally search for documents with "lord" and "flies" and any two words in between them. You can use "lord +of +the flies" to force those two words to be "of" and "the".
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