When it comes to the Google search box, you already know the tricks: like searching for exact phrases in quotes like "so say we all" or searching a single site using site:lifehacker.com gmail. But there are many more oblique, clever, and lesser-known search recipes and operators that work from that unassuming little text box. Dozens of Google search guides detail the tips you already know, but today we're skipping the obvious and highlighting our favorite obscure Google web search tricks.
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Google rolls out a new flight tracking feature: just type your airline and flight number into the search box, and get the departure and arrival location, time, and estimated departure and arrival. I'm also a fan of 4INFO's SMS flight status check on the way to the airport from my cell phone. How are you going to track your (and your arriving loved ones') flights this holiday season? Give it up in the comments.
Better flight stats results
When you're trying to find someone online, Google's not the only game in town. In the last two years, a handful of new people search engines have come onto the scene that offer better ways to pinpoint people info by name, handle, location, or place of employment. While there's still no killer, one-stop people search, there are more ways than ever to track down a long-lost friend, stalk an ex, or screen a potential date or employee. The next time you wonder, "What ever happened to so-and-so?" you've got a few power people search tools to turn to.
An undocumented Gmail search operator, language: (or simply lang:), finds messages by the language they're written in. Give it a try in your inbox: lang:Portuguese and lang:Arabic both turn up several messages in the Lifehacker tips box. Sadly -lang:English doesn't seem to work, which would be perfect to create a filter for all messages not in English; but you can create filters to snag messages in particular languages you don't speak, for instance. Hidden Gmail feature lets you search by language
The huge number of splogs (spam blogs) on the internet means search results you get from Google's Blog Search engine can contain a lot of noise in the form of duplicate information that you really don't want. The Google Operating System offers steps to show how to optimise Google Blog Search's settings so that you get the best results you can. In a nutshell:1. sort the results by relevancy
2. restrict the results to a recent period (last day)
3. restrict the results to English (or another language)
4. if you really have to sort the results by date, remove the posts that follow a spammy pattern (for example, add -"google alert" -site:blogspot.com -site:.info to your query), but make sure you don't remove important results
5. check the posts that contain "References"If you haven't been using Google Blog Search, I'd highly recommend it. It's an excellent tool for finding both late-breaking news and to get an idea of what people are saying about a topic—especially if you know how to increase your signal-to-noise ratio using tips like those included in the Google Operating System post. If you have been using Google Blog Search, let's hear what kind of uses you've put it to in the comments.
We all know how to use Google for quick spelling lookups, but weblog Google Operating System suggests you can use the same method for quick URL "spell checks" when the address you're trying isn't working. The "similar addresses" suggestion you see in the screenshot doesn't always show up, but I found that when it doesn't you'll still often receive the classic "Did you mean" correction—both of which should work to find the correct address.