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Become a Google expert


​Google is probably the search engine that you are most familiar with but most of us only use a fraction of Google's full potential. 

On this page we'll show you some ways to improve your Google searching skills in order to retrieve more useful search results for your research.



 Google search options




 Google search features



Modifiers help to refine your searches and get better results.
​What it does: searches for an exact phrase
What to type: "I have a dream"
What you'll get: results that include the exact phrase "I had a dream"
What it does: excludes search results with a particular word or phrase
What to type: apple -fruit
What you'll get: results about Apple that are not related to fruit
What it does: searches for a word and all its synonyms
What to type: ~mobile phone
What you'll get: results with "phone" and also "cell", "cellular" etc.
​What it does: searches for pages that include either word
What to type: diving Tioman OR Redang
What you'll get: results with "Diving" and either "Tioman" or "Redang"
​What it does: defines a word or phrase
What to type: define:ubiquitous
What you'll get: links to definitions of "ubiquitous"
​What it does: searches only particular websites
What to type: robotics
What you'll get: references to robotics found on .edu websites
What it does: searches for webpages
What to type:
What you'll get: websites that link to the website
​What it does: basic calculator functions
What to type: 4+7, 30% of 55, 20^2,sqrt(4), etc.
What you'll get: the answer

​What it does: converts units of measure
What to type: cm in foot, 28C in F, $ in pound, days in fortnight, miles in league, mph in speed of light, etc.
What you'll get: the converted answer

Advanced Search


 Google Advanced



Google offers a variety of special Google Products.

Here are a few examples of search tools that may be useful in your research (click on an icon to find it in Google) - these will retrieve only particular kinds of resources when you search:

Google Images - Search for images on the web


Google News - Search thousands of news stories


Google Scholarly Papers - Search scholarly papers


Google Books - Search the full text of books


 Google for education


How google works

When searching the internet it is useful to understand how you search is being performed and how your results are being chosen.
This short video gives a brief introduction to the methods used to determine what appears in your results list.

 How search works


Test your skills

Google provides a new challenge every day for you to practise your search skills.
Find out more about 'A Google a Day' in this short video, then have a go at today's question.

 A Google a day


Metasearch engine

"A metasearch engine is a search tool that sends user requests to several other search engines and/or databases and aggregates the results into a single list or displays them according to their source. Metasearch engines enable users to enter search criteria once and access several search engines simultaneously."

[Source: Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia, 2011. Metasearch engine. [Online] Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2011].]

Metasearch engines
Other search engines