The following is from Bates Information Services:
I recently spoke at the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, CA and one of the presentations I enjoyed doing the most was on the hidden features of some of the major search engines. I have covered some of them in early Info-Tips, but the following are a few of my new Google favorites.
* Google lets you search for a range of numbers, in any format. To include a number range in your search query, type in the lower and upper numbers, separated by two periods – e.g., 15..50 I had a chance to try out this feature in a real-life search; I wanted to find a set of wireless headphones on Amazon.com costing between $50 and $100. I typed in the query
(wireless OR cordless) headphones $50..$99 site:amazon.com
and, sure enough, I retrieved a wide selection of wireless headphones within my price range.
Note that Google is smart enough to recognize decimal points – some of the items I retrieved weren’t an even dollar amount but were, for example, $57.83. This feature could also come in handy if you are looking for a mention of a range of years.
* Speaking of date-searching on Google, you can limit your search to only those pages added or changed within the past [whatever] days. This can be a useful feature if you re-run a search regularly; just limit your search to the pages added or modified since you last ran your search. You can do this not by adding text in the search box but by modifying the search results page URL by adding the following text to the end of the URL and clicking [Search]:
&as_qdr=dn (where n is the number of days you want searched)
So, for example, to limit my search to the last 18 days, I would add &as_qdr=d18 to the end of the search results page URL.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a perfect date-limiting search. Some web content management systems automatically refresh a web page frequently, without necessarily making any changes to the page. Those pages will have a recent date but the content within them may have been unchanged for months.
* If you are based in the US, you can search for local companies through your cell phone, regardless of whether or not your phone has web capability. If you call 1-800-GOOG411 (1-800-466-4411), you will be asked to say the city and state you want information on – Boulder, Colorado, for example – then you say the type of business or specific business name you want – for example, “book store” or “Barnes and Noble”. A text-to-speech program will read you the top eight results from its local search (http://local.google.com). If you want, Google can automatically dial any of the first eight businesses’ phone number, or you can ask to have the address and phone number read to you.
You can also get quick answers to simple queries by texting Google from a US cell phone. Send a text message to 466 453 (GOOGLE) and then type your query in the text box and send it. Within seconds, you will receive a text message with one of Google’s Quick Answers. The default is for Google to take your query and attempt to find a Quick Answer. If you want a search of the web, put the word web at the beginning of your search, such as web avian flu. This will return you a text message with a snippet of the first search result, along with a link to mobile-formatted page of the search results. See http://sms.google.com for more information on this service.
“Can I publish or reproduce this InfoTip?” Be my guest. Just make sure you credit the source, Bates Information Services, and include the URL, http://www.BatesInfo.com/tip.html.