For all the time you spend online, you probably spend most of it searching for stuff. So why settle for the most basic Google experience? Here are 10 ways to beef up and speed up your Google searches and find stuff more easily.
10. Make Use Of Google’s Built-In Tools
If you know Google well enough, you can find what you’re searching for without clicking on a single link. Most of Google’s built-in shortcuts are intuitive: to search for movie times, just search for the movie you want to see. To find the release date of a video game, type in
release date and the name of the game. Other tricks may be harder to find, so check out our list of the best Google search shortcuts to hone your Google-Fu.
9. Make Your Results Easily Scannable
It’s hard scanning through a bunch of boring text and links to find what you’re searching for. Luckily, a few user scripts can make it easier. Faviconise Google adds small icons next to each result, so you can see what website its from — really handy if you have a few trusted sites (like, oh, I don’t know… Lifehacker?). Locate Multiple Domains highlights sites you specify so your eye is drawn to trusted sites right away. They’re both small extensions that can make a big difference in Google’s scannability.
8. Endlessly Scroll Through Results
If you really have to dig deep, clicking "Next" on each page can get to be a hassle. Autopagerize is a user script that allows you to keep scrolling and scrolling forever, so you don't have to constantly click next (or back) to move between pages.
7. Make Google Cache Better
Sometimes, you click on a result and the page is no longer there. Maybe it's temporarily down, or maybe it's gone forever. However, you can still access it with Google Cache -- just click the instant preview button for that page and click "Cache" to see it. If you try to follow any links on that page, they could lead to a downed page too, so install Google Cache Comeback -- it'll make all those links lead to their cached pages, so you never run into a 404 again.
6. Ditch The Spammy Results
Nothing's worse than finding a great-looking result only to discover its a content farm that's just spewing out links and terms built to show up in search results. Luckily, Google has some protections against this. If you visit a site that isn't useful, when you click the "Back" button, you should see a new "Block" link under that Google result. You can click that to block it from ever showing up in your results again. If the Block link doesn't show up, you can add it to your block list manually, or use an extension like Personal Blocklist to hide the offending site.
5. Turn Off Google's More Annoying Features
Don't like Google's new personal search results? Sick of its annoying instant previews? Some features -- like the Search Plus Your World -- you can turn off right from your Google Settings. Others -- like the Instant Previews -- require a user script or AdBlock filter to turn off. However, no matter what your annoyance, you should be able to find a way to remove it from your view entirely.
4. Highlight Your Search Terms On The Resulting Pages
So you've gotten some results for your search terms, but then once you click on the page, you can't find where it actually used those words. You could just use Ctrl+F to find them, but Google Quick Scroll will do it for you. Just install it in Chrome and get to searching. It'll highlight your search terms on any of the resulting pages without you having to lift a finger.
3. Use Advanced Operators
You've probably heard about searching for multiple terms with the
AND operator, but what about more advanced ones? For example, you can search a specific site by using the
site: operator, ignore certain sites with the
-site: operator, or even search for two words close together with the
AROUND operator. Check out our guide to tweaking your search when Google doesn't give you want you want for more ideas.
2. Add Custom Searches To Your Browser
If you really want to speed up your Google searches, why not make them before you even visit Google? You already know you can search from your browser's address bar, but your address bar can do oh-so-much more. Want to search a specific site without typing out the whole
site: operator? Use a custom search keyword. Want to search for results from the past year without having to click that option later on? Custom search keywords can do that too. Check out our list of custom searches you should enable right now (and its follow-up list) for ideas.
1. Know When Not To Google
Sometimes, Google just isn't the best search engine to use. If you're looking for something very specific, there might be a lesser-known search engine that suits you better, like the cruft-free Blekko or the data-driven Wolfram Alpha. Google will always have something for you, but if you're not having a lot of luck (or if the results are just taking too long to find), check out our list of other worthwhile search engines and when to use them to keep up on your alternatives.