Here are some tips and tricks to help you find exactly what you want from the leading search engine.

After you go to the Google home page, click on “Preferences” next to the search box. The most important setting, located near the bottom of the page, is “Number of Results.” By default, Google returns just 10 results for a search. Since Google’s search algorithms are so accurate, this default saves Google both computer resources and bandwidth. But I always increase the default to 100.

You can search for an exact phrase using Google simply by putting that phrase inside quotation marks. Want to find out whose life Google has changed? Search for “Google has changed my life” and you’ll get Bob Metcalfe’s profile in the September 30, 2002 issue of Computerworld.

Searching with quotes is like using a pair of needle nose pliers to pull index cards out of a hat: the search can be so precise that it’s easy to miss stuff that’s similar but slightly different. I was surprised to discover just a single hit when I searched for “Google has changed my life.” I changed the search string to “Google changed my life” and found six more. You can search for them both at the same time by typing:

“Google has changed my life” OR “Google changed my life”

Be sure that the word “OR” is capitalized. If you want to be cool, you can use the vertical bar (|) instead of the word “OR.”
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