Google fu

Every Sunday, the "Rocket Science" blog I enjoy so much posts a lot of links to a variety of science articles.  For the last couple of weeks it's been boring, but today is a bonanza.  One of my favorites is a short article stuffed with tips for Google searches.

If you've ever worked as a lawyer or paralegal, you probably know a lot of tricks for searches in sites like Lexis or Westlaw that permit you to search for X but not Y, or X within 15 words of Y, or exactly the phrase "X Y Z," or only documents that have all three of X, Y, and Z.  It seems you can do the same things with Google code, as spelled out in this article.  I already knew that typing "Pendergast L. Snooks" will weed out the pages that mention that far less interesting fellow, Pendergast W. Snooks.  But "Pendergast L. Snooks" -sheep will enable you to focus on Mr. Snooks's  invaluable contributions to heirloom tomato production without bogging you down in a lot of articles about the unfortunate farm scandal.

You may also have known that, once you're on a page, you can use "Ctrl-F" to search for a word within it.  I use that one all the time.  I've noticed, though, that search engines will send me to sites that don't contain all words I was looking for, which is annoying.  Typing "Pendergast L. Snooks" intext:tomato will zero in on his important horticultural work while filtering out the many web pages distracted by his earlier careers in basketball, espionage, and Hollywood.

You can upload an image to Google and ask it to show you "more like this."

It's just the handiest article I've found in ages.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you.


Grim said...

I knew all of that except intext:(x) and AROUND(x). But those two alone were worth reading it; I've missed the w/x function badly, and now I see it can be done after all.

douglas said...

That's good stuff- I thought I was pretty good with the search engine, but you can teach an old dog a new trick or two I guess.

I also ran across something interesting there:
"Neal Stephenson’s Kickstarter campaign to make the greatest swordfighting game ever."

That's Neal Stephenson the author.
The link from 'Not exactly rocket science' takes you to the kickstart site, where they explain the project and have some amusing videos. Worth a few minutes of your time.

An aside- I recently saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with an illustration from a familiar manuscript, and the line- "What Would Talhoffer Do?". I thought that was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I will be the googlefu master in a 10 cube radius at work now!