The Many Faces of Google

Contents | Query Input | Understanding Results | Special Tools | Links
Entering Queries - Selecting Search Terms - Interpreting Queries - Crafting Queries - Google's  Advanced Search Form - More on Sharpening Queries - Using Search Operators (Advanced)

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Google's Advanced Search Form

When you don't find what you're seeking, consider specifying more precisely what you want by using Google's Advanced Search feature. Don't be frightened by the name "Advanced Search"; it's easy to use, and it allows you to select or exclude pages with more precision than Google's standard search box. Click on the Advanced Search link, which is located to the right of Google's search box

or visit and fill in the form. The Advanced Search form is automatically filled in with appropriate information from your previous query — if you entered a query just before you clicked on the Advanced Search link. If you searched for a phrase, the phrase appears in the phrase search box. If you restricted your search to a specific site or domain, the domain appears in the domain box.

Screen shot showing the Advanced Search fill-in form.

Section I of the Advanced Search Form - Basic Query Specification

Filling in the top portion of the Advanced Search form is an easy way to write restricted queries without having to use the " ," +, -, OR notation discussed in the previous section Crafting Your Query.

Advanced Search
Find results
Basic Search
Basic Search
Find results
 with all of the words [ tap dance ] with all search terms
 with the exact phrase [ "tap dance" ] with terms in quotes in the specified order only
 with at least one of the words  [ tap OR ballet ] with at least one of the terms adjacent to OR
 without the words [ tap -dance ]
-tap dance ]
excluding the terms preceded by a -

Also in this section of the Advanced Search page, you can specify the number of results to be returned on each Google results page. The default is 10, but you can specify 20, 30, 50 or 100.

Section II of the Advanced Search Form - Limiting Your Results

The next part of the Advanced Search page lets you put restrictions on the types of pages listed in your search results.

Specify more precisely what you want by using the Advanced Search fill-in form.

" Language: limit results to pages written in a specific language. Click on the Drop-down List arrow to see the languages Google supports. Choosing a language here makes the selection only for the current search. If you want your results in a certain language or set of languages always, then change your search language in your Google preferences. See the section Customizing Your Results by Using Preferences to learn how to change your Google preferences to modify the way your search results appear.

" File Format: restrict your results to a particular file format, or exclude a format from your results. The choices are:

File Format Suffix Description
Adobe Acrobat PDF .pdf A publishing format commonly used for product manuals and documents of all sorts.
Adobe PostScript .ps A printing format often used for academic papers.
Microsoft Word .doc A common word processing format.
Microsoft Powerpoint .ppt A format for presentations and slides.
Rich Text Format .rtf A format used to exchange documents between Microsoft Word and other formats.

You can restrict your search to other file formats by using the filetype: search operator, which will be discussed in the Using Search Operators (Advanced Operators) section.

" Date: restrict your results to pages updated in the past three, six, or twelve months. Note: Any change in the page counts as an update, even a spelling correction. This option is useful when searching for timely information such as annual events, specifications for a new model of car or appliance, or what people have been doing lately.

If you want to access pages that have been updated or added today, yesterday, within the last seven days, or within the last 30 days, try a third-party application.

If you want pages that have been updated or added between two specific dates, use Fagan Finder's Search Tool, another third-party application, which is available at

" Numeric Range: enables you to search for pages containing numbers in a specified range. Examples of such searches are:

" Occurrences: specify where your search terms must occur on the page. Choices are:

" Domain: search only a specific website (e.g. or domain (e.g. org) or exclude that site or domain completely from your search. The section Anatomy of a Web Address in the next lesson explains how to figure out the website or domain for a web page if you know its address.

" SafeSearch: specify whether to filter out sites that contain pornography or explicit sexual content and eliminate them from search results. Be aware that Google's automated filtering doesn't guarantee that you won't be shown offensive content.

When you turn off SafeSearch filtering and search for non-pornographic content, Google will order your results in a way that adult sites won't be listed prominently. For example, searching for [ breast cancer treatment ] with SafeSearch turned off, you're unlikely to run across sites with provocative images of breasts.

In order to return as many useful results as possible, SafeSearch doesn't currently filter out hate speech, anarchy, criminal activity, crude and tasteless material, illegal weapons, bomb making, etc., content that other filtering systems attempt to exclude.

Section III of the Advanced Search Form - Specialized Searches

Screen shot of the specialized searches on the Advanced Search page.

" Froogle Product Search: In an effort to make many features and services available from one form, the Advanced Search form includes a search box for Froogle, Google's product search service. Later in the course we'll explore Froogle more thoroughly.

" Page-Specific Searches: The Advanced Search form also offers page-specific searches for finding pages similar to a page for which you have a web address (URL) and for finding out what pages link to a particular page.

Finding pages similar to one you know can be a very useful search tool. Suppose you are familiar with the Consumer Reports web page and you would like to explore other pages which report of tests of products and provide purchase recommendations. You could simply enter the URL for Consumer Reports ( in the Similar Pages text box and click on Search. A list of pages from the sort of web sites you are seeking will be displayed.

Web pages link from one to another. Links are unidirectional; you can follow links from one page to another. You cannot traverse the link the other way around, i.e., go from a page to the pages that link to it. However, Google keeps track of this information and makes it available. When you want to know who links to your website or to someone else's, just type in a web address (URL) in the links page-specific search section.

Unlike the other fields in the Advanced Search form, the page-specific searches can't be combined with other query terms. Consequently each has its own Search button.

Section IV of the Advanced Search Form - Topic Specific Searches

Screen shot of the Topic Specific searches on the Advanced Search page.

Google provides the following specialized search engines:

Why these topics? Early on in Google history, some engineers created these specialized search engines to serve their own interests. They've remained part of the site though Google has turned its attention to other types of search services and features.

NOTE: All of the search features found on the Advanced Search Page can also be accessed in other ways (go to a dedicated web page, type in a specialized command, etc.) The Advanced Search Page, however, makes them easily and readily available. You have already seen how using +, -, " and | produce the same results as those obtained from the Basic Query Section at the top of the Advanced Search Page. In future lessons we'll see how other search tools can perform the same functions as those available on this page.


This problem set is designed to give you practice with specifying more precisely what you're seeking by using the Advanced Search form. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

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

  2. Find facts about declawing cats.

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

  4. Some movie stars attend Botox parties. What goes on at such parties and why do they attend? Which stars have used Botox?

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