Let’s say I want to read about the Iran nuclear deal, but I prefer coverage from The New York Times. Instead of just Googling US iran deal for the latest news, I can search site:nytimes.com iran deal to see coverage only from The Times. This also allows me to see everything The Times has done on the topic going back weeks or months, rather than my results getting cluttered with versions of today’s news from other publications.
Add search shortcuts to your browser’s address bar
Ready for a more advanced lesson? Tricks like the site: operator are great, but they take a while to type out — especially if you search for Times content regularly. You can save yourself precious seconds on every search by creating a short keyword for bits of text you search regularly, if your browser supports it, and most do. That way, instead of typing site:nytimes.com every time, you can just type nyt in your browser’s address bar, add your search terms, and get right to the good stuff.
To do this, perform an example search on Google, then copy the URL from the address bar. Using the above example, my URL is:
This is what we’ll use to create our shortcut. In Chrome, right-click the address bar, choose “Edit Search Engines,” and click “Add” to create a new one with nyt as the keyword. In Firefox, right-click the Bookmarks Bar and create a new bookmark instead with nyt as the keyword.
Paste the search URL you copied earlier into the “Search Engine” or “Location” box, and replace your search terms with %s (making sure to leave in any terms you want to keep as part of the keyword). So, since I want my nyt shortcut to search site:nytimes.com and whatever search terms I add, my URL would look like this:
See how I replaced iran+deal with %s in the URL? Now, whenever I type nyt into the address bar, I can search The New York Times for any terms I want.
I use this for all kinds of common searches: sites I like (nyt searches site:nytimes %s), authors I trust (jk searches Jolie Kerr %s), or — if you want to get really advanced — other URL tricks, like getting driving directions from Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=from+123+main+street+to+%s).
Find the source of a photo with reverse image search
Finally, not all searches are made up of words. Sometimes, it can be handy to know where a certain photo came from, or to find a larger version of it. You probably know you can type a few words to find a photo with Google’s Image Search, but you might not have realized it works in the other direction too: Drag an image into Image Search and Google will find other versions of that photo for you.
A few years ago, I was searching for an apartment, and found one that looked great — it had the number of bedrooms I needed, in the part of town I wanted to be in, and the photos looked nice. But I found it on one of those “members only” apartment listing sites, so I had to pay a monthly subscription in order to get the name, address and contact info of the complex. Not to be outdone, I dragged the building’s photo to my desktop, then dragged it into Google Images. Google immediately found another site that had used that photo: the building’s official website, where I could call or email and ask directly about open units for rent.
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