Firefox and Internet Explorer only: The Surf Canyon browser extension embeds extra search results at Google, Yahoo, and MSN. With Surf Canyon installed, search the web with your favourite engine as usual. A bull's-eye icon will appear next to results—click it to expand another level of links related to the single result. My test for a "lifehacker" Google search was promising: Surf Canyon included links to the official Lifehacker book, Upgrade Your Life, and a life hacks site search engine at Google Coop. Surf Canyon is a free download, and it's available as both a Firefox extension and IE add-on.
Tagged With search techniques
YouTube search webapp TimeTube creates a timeline of video clips for a certain search. Search for something (like "American Idol") and you'll get back a timeline (or "tubeline") of video clips. Pan, zoom and watch the clips right on page. Fun way to catch up on old clips of interest you haven't seen in years. TimeTube
If you run into a problem on a Windows computer, all you have to do is type a little description of the problem and Google takes care of the rest; Mac users, on the other hand, often need to include a little context in their search—instead of typing a query like text editor, you type text editor mac. Google's Mac-specific portal, found at http://google.com/mac/, now includes a Mac-specific search box. It's not groundbreaking, but the guaranteed Mac-specific results could come in handy next time you're looking for a specific application or you're troubleshooting your Mac.
Web site Boolify makes advanced web searches easy through a simple drag-and-drop interface. Intended as an educational tool, Boolify teaches users how to create boolean searches in Google using operators like OR and NOT (-) to get very specific search results. Boolean searching isn't new by any means, but if you've never gotten the hang of it or you just prefer a more visual approach, Boolify is worth a look. If you're way past this, then our top 10 obscure Google search tricks may be more up your alley. Boolify Project
Google can reorder search and news results from the last day, week, a few months, or entire year by adding a small string to the end of the search URL. Just add this string—&as_qdr=d—to the address bar and hit enter. You'll get a custom drop-down box that lets you re-order results based on date. It's great for getting past the same top results you've already looked through, as well as grabbing only the newest links related to gadgets, software, or whatever else you're searching. Sadly it doesn't work on Google Images, but let us know in the comments if it does work on other Google searches.
Reader Brett writes in with his favourite Safari tip, harnessing the power of Google and keyword search tool Keywurl into one nifty time-saver. He sets his default Keywurl search to a URL that pulls up Google's first "I'm feeling lucky" result, using this string:
You already love the one-stop convenience of shopping online at Amazon.com, but chances are you're not getting everything you can out of this feature-packed shopping engine. Did you know Amazon can email you suggestions from Mom's wish list two weeks before her birthday? Automatically ship you a new case of toilet paper every two months? Refund the difference on the price of an item you purchased that went on sale? Several advanced Amazon features and third party apps and add-ons can help you get the best deals and the stuff you want delivered to your door right on time. After the jump, add our favourite 10 Amazon power-shopper tools to your cart.
Regular expressions are archaic-looking, extremely specific, and amazingly helpful for finding the right data, files or whatever else you need. RegEx, a free online regular expression tester, lets you hone your expression language and terms down, giving you a box to put testing text in and highlighting the words that match your query. For users of Mac OS X, Linux, or even Windows with Cygwin installed, this web-based workshop (or desktop version) is a great way to get uninhibited but real practice at file-sifting. RegEx's desktop versions require the Adobe AIR platform installed to run. RegExr
When you just can't seem to hunt down that file you know you've got stowed away somewhere on your Mac, it's time to break out the Spotlight big guns—advanced search operators, that is. Macworld runs down advanced Spotlight operators which will be familiar to power Google searchers. Here's a sampling: Enclose phrases in quotes, like "time machine" Use AND, OR, and NOT to narrow or widen your search, like java NOT coffee or invoice OR bonus Search by document attributes using operators like author:authorname, kind:pdf (for PDF files), and date:today What's your favourite Spotlight operator? Give it up in the comments. Create good queries in Spotlight
The Wired How-To Wiki tackles a series of ways you can find material that's disappeared off the web. Whether a site has been slashdotted to death, or the domain just isn't around anymore, there are some steps you can take to try to find a cached version of what you seek. I used to think I was clever for being able to turn up cached pages of dead or edited websites in Google. Then I fell in love with the Wayback machine for helping me find the Lord of the Rings diet ad spoof site "The Lembas Plan". Hopefully you'll be looking for something more useful. :)Find Lost Web Pages
Firefox and Opera both offer keyword bookmark searches by default, and Internet Explorer users can have them too—with a little tweaking. The Productivity Portfolio weblog runs down how to set up custom keyword searches in IE using the previously mentioned TweakUI utility for Windows XP. Here are our favourite 15 keyword bookmark searches.
Dear Lifehacker, I'm trying to make a keyword search bookmark for Lifehacker.com in Firefox, but it's not working. In the address bar, I can type http://lifehacker.com/search/myterm/ and it'll search for "myterm" but when I make a quick search bookmark for this, using http://lifehacker.com/search/%s/, I get a "Bad Request" error since Firefox doesn't replace the %s with the actual search term. All my other keyword search bookmarks work great. Am I doing something wrong? Signed, Desperately Seeking Quick Search
Most of our readers, savvy searchers that they are, likely know all about Google's "site:whatever.com" function, which lets you search for a term inside a specific web site. Now the search engine has made it possible to do this-site-only searches from a search box underneath certain top results (based on, the company says, "metrics that measure how useful the search box is to users"). It might be convenient if you stumble upon a site you didn't know about in your own searching, but it's also an easy way to help your less web-savvy Uncle Bif and Aunt Marge find what they're looking for, rather than explaining the semantics of search to them. Search within a site: A tale of teleportation
Blogger Jenny says that when she puts an important item in a "safe place" so she won't lose it, she usually winds up forgetting where it is and, well, losing it. Her solution is to make a private, searchable database of locations via email: I put my passport back where I found it and then I emailed myself: Subject: Passport Message Body: In your backpack in the closet. I also copied my brother on the email and applied the label "Stuff." This way when I lose my passport next time I can simply pull up my email and see where it is located. Looks like a good way to "index" stuff when you're defragging your home. Quick Tip: Never Lose Anything Again
Empower yourself with the most accurate medical advice online by utilizing the tools available to you online. CNN proposes that you filter out websites that are not backed by medical professionals and to only focus your energy on those that do have medical credence. Additionally, seek out bloggers who have the same disease so that you can learn more about their personal experiences. Chances are, they have done some substantial research themselves and have linked to the most powerful resources on the subject matter as well which gives you access to additional useful guides and articles. Study the organisations and people who post to determine whether their goal is informational (versus marketing). In the former case, you're usually given more objective information. Combine all tools available to you because nothing works alone. Be curious and view the medical advice from all angles before accepting anything as truth. Tips for Savvy Medical Web Surfing
View the relationships between words using webapp Visual Thesaurus which displays synonyms, antonyms, adverbs, and adjectives for any particular search word. Enter a phrase in the search box. Your search term will appear in the center of the screen and additional nodes will crop up to indicate related terms. Click on any of these nodes to dig deeper and get more word associations. Mouseover any node to get a quick definition. Visual Thesaurus is a powerful tool that quickly builds vocabulary. The only downside is that the application runs for a limited amount of queries and then you're prompted to pay the $2.95/month fee. (Tip: Reopen the Java application and you can run additional searches.) Previously mentioned VisuWords does nearly the same thing (albeit slower) and is completely free. Visual Thesaurus
You know you put that phone number in some file on Monday, but you're drawing a blank as you gaze at your Vista desktop. The How-To Geek offers a solution for those who haven't explored Windows Vista enough to learn the syntax of the Start menu's search box. The syntax for finding an Excel spreadsheet, for example, within a range of dates is:name:xls modified:2/1/2008..2/20/2008The Geek has, as always, way more information on this technique and a mouse-powered one as well, including the syntax for finding files based on date created or just "date." Got any more Vista-specific search tips for your fellow Lifehacker readers? Feel free to drop them off in the comments. Find Files Within a Date Range with Windows Vista Search
New BitTorrent search engine PizzaTorrent is a meta-search engine that scours the most popular public torrent trackers and sorts the results by the health of the torrent. Very similar to previously mentioned YouTorrent, PizzaTorrent adds a nice categories feature that sorts results one step further by the result type, which makes finding that special download that much easier. PizzaTorrent
You may have noticed that standard Google searches put the search terms right in the URL—as in google.com/search?q=tech+jobs+portland. That's fine in most cases, but what if you have the sneaking suspicion your boss or IT guy is looking through your Google searches, or you don't want your searching history sold by your ISP to marketers? Tech blog Digital Inspiration ferrets out 10 Google-mirroring URLs hosted by Google on its own servers, seemingly created for the purpose of offering a little shielding from prying eyes. See the full list after the jump.