Killer Tech Tips

Software, Websites, Hacks You can Use

Four Google Search Tips You May Not Know About

with 45 comments

There’s not a day that passes by without searching for information on Google. We’re pretty sure that you’re aware of some advanced Google search operators like AND, NOT, etc. but here are some lesser known tricks that you can implement when you’re searching on Google. We bet you wouldn’t know at least one of these!

1. Forget the site: operator, just use ‘at’

Some of you would have known the site: search operator. You can use it to restrict search results to pages from a particular site (e.g.: [ android apps]). This is cumbersome if the site you want to search has a pretty long name. You also have to type the TLD – .com, .org, .edu, whatever.

Google Site Search Operator: At

Forget the site operator and use the at keyword instead. The next time you want to look up something about android on Lifehacker, try [android apps at lifehacker]. It’s easier on your fingers.

2. Forget the define keyword

The nerds among us would frequently use the define: keyword to look up for definitions. Some of you would use ‘what is’ and Google would instantly show you the meaning for the word you’re searching.

You needn’t necessarily use the define keyword anymore to get definitions in search results. Just type any word whose definition you’d like to know and Google will instantly give you the meaning of the term, with pronunciation and links to reputed online dictionaries. Try this.

3. Use AROUND(n) for proximity search

AROUND(n) is an undocumented search operator and it will be of immense use when you’re looking for pages with two terms separated by n number of words. It’s a bit more complicated than just using the AND operator.

Whereas using [India AND Manmohan] will show you pages containing both these words, [India AROUND(5) Manmohan] will show you only those pages that contain these two words with five words in the middle.

4. Also search for synonymous words with ~ operator

You can use the tilde (~) operator to search for pages that not only contain the word that follows it, but also its synonyms. Here’s a use-case:

The next time you’re looking for cheap mp3 players, try searching for [~cheap mp3 players]. Pages with words ranging from ‘inexpensive’, ‘budget’ to ‘low cost’ mp3 players will show up, as Google Guide points out.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page – you’ll know when these operators might come into good use. If you know of any lesser known Google search tricks, tell us in the comments section below.

Written by Killer Tech Tips

May 10th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Posted in how to

  • Abhishek Biswal

    Hey, Nice Post. I Liked the Around one. I use the First Trick very often. Thanks for the tricks!

  • Abhijeet Mukherjee

    Really cool tips….I didn’t know the first one and I know it will come in very handy for me from now on. Thanks!

  • Shankar Ganesh

    You’re welcome, @abhim12:disqus Thanks for tweeting the post! :)

  • Shankar Ganesh

    You’re welcome, Abhishek. I’d appreciate a Twitter/Facebook mention of this post :)

  • Shayon Pal

    Really cool stuff. Liked your site too, on the whole. Subscribing :)

  • Shankar Ganesh

    Thanks @google-0ec484de3b05b323a388323abcbd7e44:disqus I appreciate it. Are you on Twitter? Share your Twitter ID so that I can follow you :)

  • Shayon Pal

    My Twitter id is @shayonpal :)

  • Shankar Ganesh

    @0ec484de3b05b323a388323abcbd7e44:disqus Following now! @shankargan on Twitter.

  • Thomas Frank

    I have to admit – I’m pretty clueless when it comes to search operators. This post is really useful.

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  • Anonymous

    Never knew about  these shortcuts for “site:” and “define:”. That’ll save lot of keystrokes. :)

  • Shankar Ganesh

    Indeed @ArunShivaram:disqus :)

  • Rajesh Kumar

     I was not aware of 3rd, thanks

  • Arun

    I wasn’t aware of any of these!!! :) 

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  • sVen

    I help teach a Google-use course at a senior center, and I hadn’t heard of three of these four. Thanks.

  • Shankar Ganesh

    @d3c72b39139274323c4bb869a70fee22:disqus Thanks for dropping by to register your comment. It’s comments like these that make my day :)

  • HackToHell

    LOve that at seriously usefull …

  • Vibin

    Regarding the 2nd tip: Google doesn’t show definitions for each and every word, for example try The first result is from Wikipedia not the definition! I’ve also read your How-to geek Post, It’s nice that Indians too are getting featured on top tech blogs.

  • Shankar Ganesh

    @Vibin_r:disqus Thanks. Yes, of course Google doesn’t show definitions for every word you throw into the search box but for a considerable number of words that are often looked up (like the GRE-types, for instance), Google does show up meanings. :)

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  • Brennan Rauert

    The define keyword still seems necessary. Searched for beautiful, no definition showed up.  Maybe that definition is a given but I tried coalesce as well, also no definition shown. “define:” will have to live on for now.

  • Sourabh

    Your blog post is really informative. However there is an error . “2. Forget the define keyword” will not work in the case when the searched word is associated strongly with some other element. For example, when you search Hangover without define prefixed, it gives the search result for Hangover IMDB film list. Hence you need to search for Hangover in define format.

  • Sourabh

     please view SourceDigit for more news and tech related stuffs.

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  • Justin Cooney

    Very informative, I had not heard of these. I think the around(n) operator could prove to be very useful, and actually the ‘at’ keyword as well. Thanks for posting this!

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  • Dr. Vito

    #2 ‘Definition’ has been a favorite of mine for a while now. I stumbled on typing a keyword quite by accident. Before my discovery I would type in expressions like: “look for keyword”, “definition keyword”, “what is keyword” or “find keyword”.

    Just typing the word by itself is fast & I’d have to say 95% of the time Google gets me what I am looking for. I only wish that I had read this article many many moons ago!

    The other 3 (now that I know them) are going to be a real Boon to me!! :) With your permission I would like to share your posts on Facebook. Soon as I remember my Twitter account I will hook you up there also.

    Thank You Shankar Ganesh!!

  • sami joy

    Thanks for sharing this useful tips. For me this the first time i hear about ~ operator. This is very useful tool.

  • sridhar93


  • Jake

    Wow nice tips, I’m a web developer/designer and I had no idea about some of the tips you mentioned here. Good job.

  • Dbakeca Italia

    good tips

  • Leet Reviews

    Wow, very interesting! Googleing like a pro now! you should check out my blog: and maybe leave a comment. Tell me how it looks and such.

  • Irman Firmansyah

    nice a post

  • Yousuf

    very much userfull

  • Andrew Clifford

    Very Interesting! Just another way to stump those pesky SEO experts!

  • Glenn

    Really useful information…I’m also not aware of this before, thanks Shankar…

  • GenFIT

    Useful tips!

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  • m

    Good stuff. Found this site on stumbleupon, have a look at my site too visit the review page, from where you can read and post reviews

  • ??? ???

    nice one :) google is realy focusing on this things …

    i share your post with the link and name of your website here :

    ??? ???

  • james J