Google burst onto the Internet search scene in 1998. It revolutionized the way we find things online by taking into account each page’s link popularity. Its algorithms are constantly evolving to provide better results, and the company has added on specialized search functions for blogs, video, images and more.

Google’s homepage is deceptively simple. It consists of little more than a logo and a search box. But Google offers more search options than most people realize. Here are some tricks and ways to use Google that you might not have been aware of.

* If you want to exclude a certain term from your search results, type it into the search box after the keywords you are looking for with a minus sign preceding it. For example, if you’re looking for information about the band Bush but a search brings up mostly information about George Bush, you could search for “bush -george.”

* By default, Google looks for each keyword entered in the search box separately. If you want to find an entire phrase, simply put it in quotation marks.

* While Google doesn’t allow the use of wildcards (asterisks) in the place of letters, you can use them in place of words in a phrase.

* Google allows the use of several syntax operators. These are commands that tell Google to only search for the keywords you enter in a specific place. If you’re searching for information on a specific website, add the “site:” operator followed by the website’s URL, no spaces, before or after the keywords (for example, “site:http://en.wikipedia.org widget”). Other operators include “link:” (find pages that link to a certain page), “inurl:” (find pages with the keywords in their URLs), “intitle:” (find pages with titles that include your keywords) and “inanchor:” (find pages with links containing your keywords).

* Google can perform calculations. Just type an expression such as “1+1” into the search bar and press enter. You can also do conversions by using phrases such as “7 quarts in liters”.

* If you’re doing research for writing or just want an official source, Google Scholar is designed for such purposes. It includes results from theses, scientific papers, and other sources that are based on scholarly research.

* Google can act as a dictionary. Simply add the word “define” before the word you want to know the meaning of.

Google can do lots of things that most Internet users would never think of. These are some of the most commonly used tricks, but there are many more. Google can translate text or entire web pages, provide maps and directions, and much more. If there’s anything you need to know, chances are Google can help.

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