Tips on Web searching have been around as long as the Web itself. But all you really need to know is this: Start typing whatever is on your mind. The more specific you get, the better. For instance, we Googled “British pronunciation of pasta.” If we’d Googled “British pronunciations,” it would have taken a long time to find what we want. (Incidentally, the British pronounce “pasta” to rhyme with “fast-a.”)
Don’t bother with the complicated search tips you read from time to time. They involve colons, minus signs and other unnecessary symbols. Just type in your query. This works especially well when someone sends you an extremely outrageous political quote. Take the first sentence, copy and paste into a search engine. More often than not it turns out to be false.
Direct is best when it comes to searching. Here are a few examples:
- Google the phrase “Tip Calculator” and you’ll get an online calculator. Suppose your restaurant bill is $40 and there are four of you. Type in $40, put the tip at 15%, and put in “4.” Google says each person should pay $11.50 for the bill and $1.50 for the tip.
- Want to know what day of the week Christmas falls on, in 2016 or any other year? Type “Christmas 2016” and you’ll find out it’s a Sunday. Or use any other holiday or date.
- Want to search within a site? Use Google. It’s better than the site’s own search engine. For efficiency sake, type your search term next to the website name. For example, type “inferiority PsychologyToday.com” to get an article on that topic. (Seems pointless, though; we don’t know anybody who’s inferior.)