Chapter 2. Superior Searching

Searching the Web is like panning for gold. There’s a lot of dirt out there, and you need the right tools to get at the shiny nuggets. The previous chapter provided the sieve. But to become a real search jockey, you need tweezers. And forceps. And maybe a staple gun.

It may help to think of every search as a problem, and to bear in mind that different problems require different solutions. “How do I find out which Web sites link to mine?” needs a different approach than “I want to find sites about Miss Piggy—but only those in Urdu.”

This chapter sets you up with an array of techniques that you can use to run different kinds of searches or get more specific results from any search. Because Google’s preference settings can affect all of your results big time, this chapter covers them, too.

Have It Your Way: Setting Preferences

Software programs almost always let you change some settings, like the way Microsoft Word lets you choose the standard font or turn spell checking on and off. Google lets you set some preferences, too. Unlike Word and other programs that hang out on your hard drive, Google remembers your settings with a cookie, a tiny file that a Web site can place on your computer and communicate with.

You can reach Google’s settings page by clicking Preferences on the home page or at the top of any results page. Figure 2-1 shows the Preferences page, from which Google lets you control five settings: interface language, search language, filtering, number ...

Get Google: The Missing Manual, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.