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Solutions to Selected Exercises

Below is a list of links to the exercises together with the name of the file where they can be found in The Many Faces of Google. Click on the links to see the entire problem set. See an answer below the section in which the corresponding problem appears.

Selecting Search Terms - select_terms.html

  1. Find a page with "Google doodle."

    Search for [ Google doodle ] and you'll find a page with the special Google home page logos used to commemorate holidays and special events.

  2. What's Google's history?

    Search for [ Google history ] and you will find a page entitled "Google Corporate Information: Google History."

  3. How long did it take the first person to cross the United States by car and in what year was it first done?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ first cross United States road trip ]
    [ first cross country road trip America ]

  4. Learn about the recommended tours of the Hearst Castle.

    Search for [ Hearst Castle recommended tour ].

Interpreting Your Query - interpreting_queries.html

  1. Indicate which queries would match a page containing "ConsumerWatch."

    Just those that contain the name in its entirety.

    [ Watch ]    [ merwat ]    [ consumerwatch ]    [ ConsumerWatch ]    [ Consumer ]

  2. Indicate which words the following queries will find:

    [ non-profit ] non-profit <— non profit <— nonprofit <—
    [ non profit ] non-profit <— non profit <— nonprofit
    [ nonprofit ] non-profit non profit nonprofit <—

  3. Which queries would you predict to be most likely to find sites with discounted designer linens?

    Since Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms, all the following queries are likely to find sites with discounted designer linens. But the last query is least likely to rank sites with discounted designer linens because it includes the term "design" rather than "designer."

  4. Why doesn't the query [ Be Manual ] include any results about the Be operating system?

    The word "be" is a stop word, which Google ignores, unless you precede it with the + operator or enclose the entire query in quotes (" ").

Crafting Your Query - crafting_queries.html

  1. How long before you go outside is it recommended that you apply sunscreen?

    For best results, apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before going into the sun so that it can be absorbed by your skin and so that it's less likely to wash off when you perspire.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ +when apply sunscreen ]
    [ tips apply sunscreen ]

  2. Find advice on writing a will.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ advice drafting +will ]
    [ legal help "drafting will" ]
    [ tips +will estate planning ]

  3. Find pages on daily life in Afghanistan that do not mention war or the Taliban.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ Afghanistan daily life -war -Taliban ]

  4. Find the terms that Google considers approximately equivalent to the term "cheap."

    Looking at the results of the query [ ~cheap ], you can see that Google considers the following terms approximately equivalent to the term "cheap": buy, discount, cheapest, last minute, inexpensive, low cost, and bargain.

  5. Find today's weather forecast/condition.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ weather forecast OR condition ]

  6. Find studio apartments for rent in Minneapolis or St. Paul, Minnesota.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ studio available OR rent Minneapolis OR "St Paul" ]
    [ "studio apartment" available OR rent Minneapolis OR "St Paul" ]

  7. Which of the following phrases match the query [ "Google * my life" ].

    Just those that substitute a single word for "*."

    "Google has enriched my life"
    "Google changed my life"  <—
    "Google runs my life"  <—
    "Google has revolutionized my life"
    "Google: I love my life"
    "Google is my life"  <—

  8. How do the results of the following two queries differ?
    [ "how might I" ]
    [ "how might I *" ]

    The first query matches pages that contain exactly the phrase "how might I" and in the results those words appear in a bold typeface. The second query matches the phrase "how might I" followed by a single word. So matches pages that include phrases such as "how might I write," "how might I quote," "how might I build," "how might I enroll," and "how might I learn." In the results, the words in the phrase and the following word appear in a bold typeface.

Sharpening Your Query - sharpening_queries.html

  1. What are some home remedies for getting rid of ants?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ get rid ants home remedy ]
    [ ants "pest control" "home remedies" ]

  2. What is Google's privacy policy? How can you delete a query from your browser's history/urls/cache?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ google privacy policy ]
    [ remove browser history ]
    [ remove browser urls ]
    [ remove browser cache ]

More on Sharpening Queries - sharpening_queries2.html

  1. What country has the domain code .at?

    Austria's domain code is .at. Google ignores "at" in a query unless you enclose it in quotes or precede it by a + sign.

Using Search Operators (Advanced Operators) - advanced_operators.html

  1. Use the site: operator to search for armchairs on Ikea's site,

    Possible search strategy:
    [ armchairs ]

  2. Find all pages on but not on nor on whose titles include the words "FAQ" or "help."

    Possible search strategy:
    [ intitle:FAQ OR intitle:help ]

  3. Find pages whose titles include surfing that are not about surfing the World Wide Web.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ intitle:surfing -WWW -"World Wide Web" ]

Spelling Corrections - spelling_corrections.html

  1. On the Rush Limbaugh program you heard him mention a researcher at Princeton University whose name sounded like Sugrew and you want to send him email. What is his email address?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ Sugrew Princeton ]

    The spelling corrector suggests the correct spelling of Michael's last name, Sugrue. Click on the corrected spelling and scan down the snippets of the listed entries.

Definitions - dictionary.html

  1. According to the dictionary, what is an "urban legend"?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ define: urban legend ]

  2. Does Google provide a link to dictionary for definitions of terms in languages other than English?

    Instead of checking Google's documentation, find out through experimentation. Search for some non-English words and then see any of the words are underlined in the statistics bar section of the results page and linked to their dictionary definitions.

    Based on the experiments I ran today, the US version of Google provides links to dictionary definitions of some non-English words.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ vino queso ]

Similar Pages - similar_pages.html

  1. Find a site that will get your name off mailing lists so that you receive less commercial advertising mail, also known as junk mail. Click on the Similar pages link to find other such sites.

    The more search strategies you try, the more information you are likely to find.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ "reduce junk mail" ]
    [ "reducing junk mail" ]
    [ "end junk mail" ]
    [ "less junk mail" ]
    [ "stop junk mail" ]
    [ "unwanted mail" ]
    [ "opt out" "junk mail" ]
    [ "mail preference service" ]
    [ remove name from mailing list ]
    [ get off mailing list ]
    [ reduce unwanted junk Mail -]

    Note: Most of the results from these searches assume you are in the United States.

News Headlines - news_headlines.html

  1. Find the latest news about Google.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ google ]

    Click on any of the following:

File Type Conversion - file_type.html

  1. Find a document with tips on job interviewing and salary negotiation that is in PDF/Adobe Acrobat format. What differences in the appearance of the document result from viewing it in its native format, Adobe Acrobat versus HTML?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ interviewing salary negotiation filetype:pdf ]

    In the pdf version, the spacing between words in section headings is more uniform. Items that are vertically aligned in the pdf version are not vertically aligned in the html version.

  2. Find pdf or Postscript documents and course notes on symplectic geometry that are on university and other educational sites.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ "symplectic geometry" site:edu filetype:pdf OR filetype:ps ]

Translation - translation.html

  1. Find out about public swimming pools that you can use when visiting Naples, Italy. Hint: Find the Italian words for "public swimming pool" and then search for them on pages in Italy.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ piscine pubbliche Napoli Italia ]

  2. Translate "I wish to mail a package. Where is the nearest post office? Thank you." into Spanish.

    Use Google's Language Tools Translate text feature.

    Select "English to Spanish" and click on the Translate button.

    Google provides the following Spanish translation:

    Deseo enviar un paquete. ¿Dónde está el correos más cercano? Gracias.

  3. Restrict your search to France and search for pages English on the war in Iraq.

    Use Google Language Tools to restrict the query [ war Iraq ] to pages located in France that are written in English.

Google's Approach to Ads - ads.html

  1. How many sponsored links (ads) appear on the first search-results page with the answer to the following questions?

    1. Where can you stay in central London at a moderate price?

      Possible search strategy:
      [ hotel central London moderate price ]

    2. What's going on with NASA's Mars Exploration Program?

      Possible search strategy:
      [ NASA's Mars Exploration Program ]

Evaluating What You Find - evaluating_results.html

Find documents on the web that provide the answers to the following questions. What's your level of comfort with the referring site(s) and why?

I posted the following questions to Google Answers, service that provides assistance from expert online researchers for a fee. If no results match your query, Google offers search tips. The following solutions include information Google Researchers provided as well as a link to their complete answers.

  1. Is it true that if you touch a cold halogen bulb with clean fingers, you will shorten its lifespan?

    Here's part of the answer that sublime1-ga posted to Google Answers, which can be found at

    Yes, healthy skin, even recently cleaned, will produce natural oils, and, these oils on halogen bulb will shorten its lifespan.

    Possible search strategies:
    [ touch ruin "halogen bulb" ]
    [ touch oil "halogen bulb" ]
    [ +why not touch "halogen bulb" ]

  2. Are you less likely to get dental cavities if you drink fluoridated water?

    Here's part of the answer that jon-ga posted to Google Answers, which can be found at

    The short answer to your question is yes - fluoride is good for the teeth and so water containing fluoride is a good thing for cavity-prevention.

    Possible search strategies:
    [ "fluoridated water" ]
    [ "fluoridated water" "dental cavities" ]

  3. Is clumping kitty litter a major health hazard to cats?

    Here's part of the answer that missy-ga posted to Google Answers, which can be found at

    Whether or not clumping kitty litter is a health hazard for cats is a matter of some debate. Since there haven't been any clinical studies, it really comes down to whom you ask and which brand you're asking about. Most of the current controversy swirls around brands that use Sodium Bentonite, a highly absorbent clay. Brands that do not contain Sodium Bentonite seem to be considered safer.

    Possible search strategies:
    [ "clumping litter" hazardous ]
    [ "clumping litter" safe ]
    [ scoopable litter hazardous ]
    [ scoopable litter safe ]

  4. What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot?

    Here's part of the answer that crabcakes-ga posted to Google Answers, which can be found at

    There are far more documented reasons to get the vaccine (injectable or nasal spray versions) than to refuse it, but plenty of flu vaccine controversy exists.

    Possible search strategies:
    [ flu vaccine ]
    [ pros cons flu vaccine ]

  5. Does microwaving food in plastic containers or plastic cling wrap release harmful chemicals into the food? Check whether this is an urban legend.

    Here's part of the answer that crabcakes-ga posted to Google Answers, which can be found at

    The short answer is: Yes, chemicals can migrate into the food. The issue is whether they are harmful.

    Possible search strategies:
    [ toxic chemicals plastic wrap ]
    [ plastic wrap microwave cooking ]

Making Search Easier with Google Tools - tools.html

  1. If you use Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and Internet Explorer 5.5 or a more recent version, install the Google Deskbar on your system.

    Visit and click on the "Download Google Deskbar."

  2. If you use Internet Explorer, install the Google Toolbar on your system. If you use another browser, install Google Browser Buttons on your system.

    Visit and click on the "Download Google Toolbar."

  3. Make Google your home page.

    To have the Google home page appear whenever you start your browser, click on the "Make Google Your Homepage" link on Google's home page. If the link is missing, follow the instructions listed on

  4. Make Google your default search engine.

    Follow the directions listed on

Calculator - calculator.html

  1. Convert 1 mile to meters.

    One mile is equal to 1609.344 meters.

    Possible calculation strategy:
    [ 1 mile in meters ]

  2. Convert 0 kelvin to Fahrenheit or Celsius.

    0 kelvin is approximately equal to -273.15 degrees Celsius.

    Possible calculation strategy:
    [ 0 degrees kelvin in Celsius ]

  3. Which is larger pi^e or e^pi? The same relationship holds between x^e and e^x for all non-negative values of x except e. The exponential constant, e, is approximately 2.72 and the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, pi, is approximately 3.14.

    e^pi > pi^e

    Possible calculation strategy:
    [ e^pi-pi^e ]

  4. Compute the probability of your winning the lottery if you buy 1,000 tickets each bearing five distinct independently randomly chosen integers between 1 and 99.

    The following answer was contributed by Nelson Blachman (my father).

    You might try [ 1 - (1 - 1/(99 choose 5))^1000 ], but this is well approximated by [ 1000/(99 choose 5) ], which is roughly 0.00001 . If each ticket costs $1, the prize had better be at least $100 million to be fair to you--and higher if you might have to share the prize with other winners.

Phone Numbers and Addresses - phonebook.html

  1. What is the address of the Empire State Building in New York City in the state of New York (the two-letter state code is NY)?

    The address of the Empire State Building is 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ Empire State Building New York NY ]

Street Maps - maps.html

  1. Get a map showing the most crookedest section of Lombard Street in San Francisco, which is between 1000 and 1100 Lombard Street.

    Possible research strategy:
    [ 1100 Lombard Street San Francisco CA ]

Stock Quotes - stock_quotes.html

  1. Obtain a chart of Ebay's stock price for the past 5 years by entering Ebay's stock symbol, ebay, clicking on the link "Show stock quotes" and then selecting a 5-year chart.

    Possible research strategy:
    [ ebay ]

  2. Using the similar pages feature, find competitors to that are run by public companies. Check whether their stock prices have been climbing or dropping in the past three months.

    Possible research strategy:
    [ ]
    [ yhoo askj ] (stock symbols for Yahoo and Ask Jeeves respectively)

Definitions (Google Gossary) - glossary.html

  1. What does aka mean?

    Aka is short for "also known as."

    Possible search strategy:
    [ what is aka ]

  2. Google is named after the word "googol." What is a googol?

    The result of this query includes a link to the dictionary definition in the statistics bar, the value of 1 googol provided by Google's built-in calculator function, and a definition provided by Google Glossary.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ what is googol ]

  3. What does the abbreviation IRL commonly stand for?

    IRL commonly stands for "In Real Life."

    Possible search strategy:
    [ define:irl ]

Google Local (Search by Location) - local.html

  1. Like you really need help with this one!!
Travel Conditions - travel_conditions.html

  1. Find the travel conditions for Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

    First, I find the code for the Los Angeles International Airport.

    [ Dallas Fort Worth Airport code ]

    Then I look up the travel conditions.

    [ dfw airport ]

Images - images.html

  1. I used a color chart to select colors for this tutorial. Find some color charts that show the HTML input to render at least 100 colors.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ html color chart ]

  2. Find a photograph of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain to see whether you want to take a vacation and visit the Alhambra.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ Alhambra ]
    [ Alhambra Granada ]
    [ Alhambra Spain OR España ]

Groups (Discussion Forums) - groups.html

  1. Find recommendations for sites for booking flights online.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ recommendations booking flights online ]
    [ recommendations book flights online ]
    [ recommendations flights online ]

  2. Find reviews of online banking services.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ online banking reviews ]

  3. How can you remove varnish from a maple coffee table?

    Possible search strategy:
    [ remove varnish maple ]

  4. Find the list of especially memorable articles and threads from Usenet that Google has compiled.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ memorable articles Usenet ]

News - news.html

  1. Find today's current top stories listed on Google News.

    Just visit

Froogle - froogle.html

  1. Find 100% cotton comforter covers on Froogle.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ 100% cotton comforter covers ]
    [ 100% cotton duvet cover ]

  2. Tired of putting on sun screen? Find sun-protective clothing with Froogle.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ sun protective clothing ]
    [ uv protective clothing OR hats ]

Catalogs - catalogs.html

  1. Find 100% cotton comforter covers.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ 100% cotton comforter covers ]
    [ 100% cotton duvet covers ]

  2. Tired of putting on sun screen? Find sun-protective clothing.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ sun-protective clothing ]

  3. Check out the prices of flying saucers, superballs, night lights, or whatever interests you in the wholesale Rhode Island Novelty catalog.

    Possible search strategy:
    [ Rhode Island Novelty ]

Google Local - local.html

  1. Find Italian restaurants in Trenton, NJ

    Possible search strategy:
    On the Google Local screen, type "Italian restaurant" in the What box and "Trenton, NJ" in the Where box.

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