How many times in a day do you search for something on Google? Since something called an internet search engine came on the scene in the 1990s none of us is ever left wondering anything. We can type in any query and receive answers instantly; a lot of answers.

According to Internet Live Stats, every single day, Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches. And if you can believe it, 16% to 20% of questions asked have never been asked before. But because of the never-ending answer possibilities, it can be frustrating when a Google search doesn’t turn up the exact answer your heart desires. 

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Google recommends refining your search by using symbols or words (called operators) in your search to get specific.

Use quotations to search for an exact phrase. So instead of seeing results including anything that includes the words young or Bill or Gates, you can see results that have “young Bill Gates” in that order. 

Use site: for information on something only from certain types of websites. For example, type in standardized testing to only see results from educational webpages ending in .edu.

Also instead of using a website’s search function, you can use Google to search for words or phrases on a single site, if you know the URL. So if you’d like to see all Deseret News articles concerning TikTok, use Google and type in TikTok

Use the asterisk as a wild card. Maybe you’re searching for song lyrics, but can only remember some of the words. Type in I’ve * at * from both * now and Google will figure out immediately that you’re looking for lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now” by plugging in the missing lyrics from the phrase “I’ve looked at clouds fro both sides now.”

Use numbers and ellipses to search for results within a range of numbers. If you want details on Saturday Night Live but only during certain years, search Saturday Night Live 1995…1997.

One of the search filters I use often is to ensure I’m getting the most recent information. After an initial search, click on Tools under the search bar. From there, you can narrow results down to those posted in the past hour, 24 hours, week, month, year or any custom range you choose.

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Everybody seems to have a story of searching for something and getting an inappropriate result. I’ve heard about innocuous searches that have ended in complete shock (think breast cancer) by children and adults alike. If you don’t otherwise have filters on your device, make sure SafeSearch is enabled on Google. The company admits it isn’t 100% accurate, but it can filter out explicit content. Turn it on for your own Google account by going to SafeSearch. If children are signed in under their own account, accurately reported their age when they signed up and are managed with Family Link, then rest assured SafeSearch is automatically turned on for kids under age 13.

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Google Search is also handy for quick information shortcuts instead of going to a bunch of different sites for details. Type in a tracking number for a package and Google will figure out which company is delivering it and give the latest on its arrival. Type in a show you want to want to watch and Google will show a list of which streaming services offer it and whether you can purchase it or need a subscription. Type in timer and a five minute timer pops up (with a stopwatch option too) for you to simply click start or to change to your desired time. Type in sunset or sunrise and it will tell you when that will happen wherever you are. Type in weather and you’ll get the weather near you, or add a zip code for conditions somewhere else.

Remember capitalization doesn’t matter when you search and neither does punctuation.

Yes, Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second, but you don’t need 40,000 non-specific answers when looking for something quick. Use these tips and tricks when you head to Google 50 gazillion times every day for a more efficient search and more satisfying results.

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