Power Searching in Google

Jim Holland (@talljim)
Arlington ISD Instructional Technology

Learning Targets

Searching Basics
⇰ I can explain why search results are different between two people
⇰ I can perform simple keyword searches
⇰ I can quickly find a word on any page
⇰ I can perform an exact phrase search and explain the circumstances when it’s needed
⇰ I can find out what other pages are linking to a specific website or webpage
⇰ I can find specific document types (like .ppt or .pdf) about specific topics
⇰ I can use the wildcard character to expand my searches
⇰ I can find old versions of website content when I encounter links that no longer work

Filtering Searches
⇰ I can filter out search results by telling Google to exclude pages with certain terms
⇰ I can limit search results to a specific domain (like .edu or .gov)
⇰ I can exclude search results from a specific domain (like .com or .biz)
⇰ I can filter out results based on reading levels
⇰ I can filter out searches based on when they were last updated
⇰ I can apply search criteria to find only mobile apps

Image Searches
⇰ I can find images filtered by creative commons licensing
⇰ I can find images that are similar to a chosen image
⇰ I can find images that match both keywords and desired color
⇰ I can find various types of images (photo, clip art, animated, etc.)
⇰ I can filter out image searches by image size
⇰ I can share the URL of a hosted image


Personalized Browsing

  • You don’t have to sign in, but if you do, Google will customize your search results based on what you have searched in the past and where you are.
  • This can be convenient when going from computer to computer or device to computer.

Simple Keyword Searches

  • Google uses "natural" language whereas most databases rely on Boolean operators
  • The "AND" operator is implied when using multiple words
  • Use Ctrl + F (Cmd + F on Mac) to find specific words on a page!
  • Word order matters!

Task 1: Who was Juan Seguin's father? (see my solution)

The default search yields website results, but you can use the other results categories to find specific types of results.

Task 2: Find recent news articles related to Lake Lewisville (see my solution)

Exact Phrase Searching

  • Searching by exact phrase using quotation marks yields more accurate results

Task 3: I remember reading an interesting article. I don't remember what it was called but do remember the sentence: "They were no longer afraid to go outside." What was the name of the article?

  • This is a great way to check suspicious sentences/phrases for plagiarism!

Searching with Operators


  • allows you to search for content on a particular site
  • example: cave formation site:.edu
    example: "jim holland" site:www.aisd.net
    example: elephant site:kids.nationalgeographic.com

Task 4: Search for yourself on the district's website

- (minus sign)

  • allows you to exclude certain words or items
  • example: "Texas Rangers" -baseball

Task 5: Find sites that tell about the effectiveness of vitamins but exclude any commercial websites


Task 6: Use the link: operator to find out about this site: http://martinlutherking.org/ How did using this operator help in evaluating the validity of this site?

Whois Lookup method


  • This helps you find documents that have already been created for your content!
  • example: “The Giver” filetype:ppt  (do not put a space after the colon)
  • Includes the following: xls, xlsx. doc. docx. ppt. pptx. swf, kmz, most text files, pdf

Task 7: find a PowerPoint file that already exists for one of the units you teach.

Other Operators

  • define:octothorpe
  • info:www.aisd.net/libsrv

Search Filters

  • By reading Level
  • By last updated
  • Include apps only

Image Searching

Use the search tools to filter out your image search results based on various parameters:

Usage Rights
Task 8: Find a photo of a waterfall that is labeled for non-commercial re-use

Color, Size, Type
Task 9: Find a medium sized clip-art of a frog that is labeled for re-use and has a transparent background.

  • Try filtering by color!
  • Try searching for similar images by clicking and dragging an image to the search bar!

Other Google Search Functions

  • movies + zip - Example: movies 76063
  • weather + zip
  • time + zip (or country)
  • flight status- Example: AA2345
  • convert - C to F, ounces to ml, km to miles
    • Example: 45 C to F
    • Example: 148 ml to oz
    • Example: 10K to miles
    • Example: 60 tbsp to cups
  • track your packages from UPS by putting in the tracking number
  • maps + zip code
  • set timer to 10 seconds