11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search

TIME.com stock photos Computer Keyboard Typing
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

From Googlers themselves

Google Search’s learning curve is an odd one. You use it every day, but still all you know is how to search. But the search engine has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

Here’s an overview of some of the most useful Google search tricks, from basic tips to new features just recently released.

1. Use quotes to search for an exact phrase.

This one’s a well-known, simple trick: searching a phrase in quotes will yield only pages with the same words in the same order as what’s in the quotes. It’s one of the most vital search tips, especially useful if you’re trying to find results containing a specific a phrase.

2. Use an asterisk within quotes to specify unknown or variable words.

Here’s a lesser known trick: searching a phrase in quotes with an asterisk replacing a word will search all variations of that phrase. It’s helpful if you’re trying to determine a song from its lyrics, but you couldn’t make out the entire phrase (e.g. “imagine all the * living for today”), or if you’re trying to find all forms of an expression (e.g. “* is thicker than water”).

3. Use the minus sign to eliminate results containing certain words.

You’ll want to eliminate results with certain words if you’re trying to search for a term that’s generating a lot of results that aren’t of interest to you. Figure out what terms you’re not interested in (e.g. jaguar -car) and re-run the search.

4. Search websites for keywords.

Think of the “site:” function as a Google search that searches only a particular website. If you want to see every time TIME.com mentioned Google, use the search “Google site:TIME.com”.

MORE Google Is Putting Song Lyrics Right in Search Results Now

5. Search news archives going back to the mid-1880s.

Google News has an option to search over 100 years’ worth of archived news from newspapers around the world.

6. Compare foods using “vs.”

Can’t decide between a burger or pizza for dinner? Type in “rice vs. quinoa,” for example, and you’ll receive side-by-side comparisons of the nutritional facts.

Google Search Tips Tricks
Courtesy of Google


7. Filter search results for recipes.

If you search your favorite food, and then click “Search Tools” right under the search bar, you’ll be able to filter recipes based on ingredients, cook time and calories. It’s the perfect tool if you have certain dietary restrictions.

8. Use “DEFINE:” to learn the meaning of words—slang included.

Streamline the dictionary process by using, for example, “DEFINE: mortgage.” For words that appear in the dictionary, you’ll be able to see etymology and a graph of its use over time alongside the definition. Google will even sift the web to define slang words or acronyms. Try out “DEFINE: bae” or “DEFINE: SMH”.

9. Tilt your screen by searching “tilt.”

This is one of the fun additions built in by Google engineers. Try it out yourself (search without quotes).

10. Play Atari Breakout by searching it on Google Images.

The legendary brick breaker game is available for easy access on Google. Just search “Atari Breakout” (without quotes) on Google Images and enjoy.

11. Search images using images.

Ever come across a photo that looks strangely familiar? Or if you want to know where it came from? If you save the image, and then search it on Google Images (with the camera button), you’ll be able to see similar images on the web.

MORE 10 Tech Resolutions to Consider in the New Year

12. Press the mic icon on Google’s search bar, and say “flip a coin” or “heads or tails.”

The feature released last month lets Google flip a coin for you when you don’t have one on hand.

Courtesy of Google


13. Press the mic icon on Google’s search bar, and say “give me a love quote” or “I love you.”

The love quote generator is also a feature released last month for those in need of a little romance.

Courtesy of Google

Read next: 5 Tips for Getting More Out of Gmail

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TIME Video Games

Here’s What the Most Jaw-Dropping Game of 2015 Looks Like Up Close

The procedurally generated space exploration game No Man's Sky looks amazing

UK-based Hello Games released another trailer for its highly-anticipated upcoming PC and PS4 title, No Man’s Sky. The game, slated for a 2015 release, is a procedurally generated space exploration game with stunning visuals. In other words, players will be able to explore planets and solar systems that are randomly generated. The results continue to look promising; here’s a closer look.

No Man's Sky Hello Games No Man's Sky Hello Games No Man's Sky Hello Games No Man's Sky Hello Games No Man's Sky Hello Games

TIME Video Games

The Father of Video Gaming Dies at 92

Ralph Baer Dead Video Games
CM/AP Ralph Baer an engineer for Sanders Associates, Inc., of Nashua, N.H. watches his TV hockey game on Feb. 3, 1977.

Over the course of his career, Ralph Baer accumulated over 150 patents and won many awards and honors

Ralph Baer, the man known for creating the first-ever video-game console, which continues to serve as a blueprint for the Xboxes and PlayStations of today, has reportedly passed away.

The news of the 92-year-old inventor’s death was confirmed to gaming website Gamasutra by sources close to him.

Baer, a German immigrant, built a device he called the Brown Box in the late 1960s, which hit the market in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey. It consisted of a main electronic unit that connected to a television screen, two player control units that enabled user interaction, and insertable electronic cards that held different games. Sound familiar?

Over the course of his career, Baer accumulated over 150 patents and won several awards and honors — including the 2006 National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush, and an induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

“I can never thank Ralph enough for what he gave to me and everyone else,” reads a quote from Apple Computers co-founder Steve Wozniak prominently displayed on Baer’s website.

Right until his final days, Baer retained a passion for creating new products. “I still get a big charge out of making something work,” the Verge quoted him as saying in a 2012 interview.

TIME apps

The Best Apps For People Who Don’t Like Spending Money

iPhone Money
Tim Robberts—Getty Images Smartphone dispensing 100 dollar bill.

With these five apps, you’re not cheap, you’re thrifty.

Whatever you use — debit card, ApplePay, Bitcoin — one way or another, you’re really just giving up cold, hard cash. And with an average personal savings rate of just 5% (down from the long term average of 8.41%) it’s more important than ever to squirrel every nuts away that you can.

Sure, Millennials are flocking to 401(k) plans in record numbers, but what about older generations who need to play catch up? With times still as tight as they are for most Americans, consumers need to think thrifty. These five apps can help you spend less and, hopefully, save more.


Using coupons at the grocery can knock a good chunk off your final tab, but the time it takes to to clip, collate, and collect them can make the ordeal not worth it. Ibotta partners with retailers and product brands to offer users rebates that are generated by taking a snapshot of your receipt or the item’s barcode after you buy associated items in participating stores.

For example, say you do your weekly food shopping at Safeway. Just select the milk icon to receive 25 cents back from any one gallon jug, tap on the Minute Maid No Pulp Orange Juice to get $1 back from that specific item, and pick the Glad OdorShield garbage bags for a buck off there.

After you submit your receipt or scan your barcode, the cash gets deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. And by transferring it into your Venmo or PayPal account, you can spend it just like you would real money (because it is). Or, if you’d rather turn your food savings into your fun money, you can buy gift cards from Starbucks, Regal, iTunes, and others from the Ibotta app.

Ibotta is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.


Woody Allen famously once said that 80% of life is showing up. If that’s so, Shopkick may just be the Annie Hall of apps. Rewarding shoppers for checking in at stores — not even for making purchases — this Android and iOS app displays popular products and linked rewards at major retailers including American Eagle, Best Buy, and JCPenney.

Of course they’d be delighted if you bought any of the items these stores have on special within the app, but some stores give you reward points (or “kicks,” as the app calls them) just for window shopping. You can also link your Visa or MasterCard with Shopkick to earn more kicks when you make purchases. Once you’ve compiled enough kicks, you can redeem them for gift cards.

Shopkick is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.


If you were offered 7.5% off your next purchase from Home Depot, JCPenney, Kohl’s or Starbucks, you wouldn’t say no. With Raise, that offer is a reality — it just takes an extra step or two to collect your savings.

An online clearinghouse where people can sell their unwanted gift cards to other people willing to buy them at a discount, this free iOS-only app is a quick way to get discounts on some of the biggest name stores around. With gift cards available for use in retail stores and online, the service delivers cards instantly to a mobile wallet within the app that displays all the necessary information you need to use the certificates on your next purchase.

All gift cards purchased are insured and covered by a full money back guarantee. And if that’s not enough, Raise also offers a rewards program, giving users points on purchases made and friends referred. All this, and you haven’t even attacked the clearance racks, yet.

Raise is available for free on the App Store.

Target Cartwheel

Call it the Amazonization of retail, but it’s no secret that big box stores not only want to sell you clothing and electronics, but now also groceries, too. The Target Cartwheel app is a great hook to lure shoppers to the red dot.

Just use the app to browse offers before your trip, select the ones you’re interested in, and flash your smartphone screen when checking out. The phone will display a personalized barcode that serves as one giant coupon for all your purchases, giving you discounts like 20% off swimwear, 5% off Target’s house brand Market Pantry food products, and more. You can even use offers more than once, and your receipt shows how much you saved in all.

According to Target, users have saved more than $144 million to date using the app. Download it to get your cut of that thrifty action.

Target Clickwheel is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Walmart Savings Catcher

Think you can beat Walmart’s rock-bottom prices? Many a competitor has tried and failed. And with the Walmart Savings Catcher app, if they actually do undercut the world’s largest retailer, you, the consumer, win.

Using the app, shoppers can scan their Walmart receipt, prompting the company to run a price comparison across local print ads, looking for the products you bought, but at a lower price. If any pop up, they reward you with the difference in the form of a Walmart gift card.

Sure, it’s a little self-serving because you have to shop at the store again to actually get your money’s worth. But it also gives you another chance to catch Walmart asleep at the check stand again. Save and save again.

Walmart Savings Catcher is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

TIME Video Games

Get the First Look at the New Zelda’s Massive World

Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and current Zelda director Eiji Aonuma showed off several minutes of live footage of the game

Nintendo has been dropping hints all year that the next Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U would have a huge overworld. New footage of the upcoming title shows just how massive that world is.

Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and current Zelda director Eiji Aonuma showed off several minutes of live footage of the game. In the clip, the developers guide Link to the top of a high overlook, where he can look across a vast landscape. He sees a tower far off in the distance and proceeds to travel to it. They also show off Epona, Link’s famous horse, which he can use to ride across the game world. Aonuma says the journey to the tower would take five minutes, and it only covers a small portion of the world map. All signs point to this being the largest Zelda yet.

Check out all the footage in the video above.

TIME Security

Sony Pictures Employees Get Threatening Email from Alleged Hacker

Emails to the movie studio’s employees threatening them and their families is the latest bad news for Sony Pictures since a cyber attack last week exposed sensitive documents

Last week’s cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment turned scarier on Friday when the hackers responsible reportedly threatened company employees and their families.

Someone claiming to represent the hacker group Guardians of Peace sent emails to Sony Pictures employees in which they promised to bring about the “collapse” of the company. The message, sent by the self-described “head of GOP,” asked that employees join the hackers in denouncing Sony Pictures or suffer severe consequences.

“If you don’t,” the message said, “not only you but your family will be in danger.”

Variety, which obtained the email, also reported that Sony Pictures, after becoming aware of the message, told employees to turn off their mobile devices. There is no word on the number of employees who received the message.

“We understand that some of our employees have received an email claiming to be from GOP,” a Sony spokesman told Fortune in a statement. “We are aware of the situation and are working with law enforcement,”

In total, the e-mail is four paragraphs long, contains bad grammar, and goes on to attack Sony Pictures while promising further unspecified action. It’s unclear how many Sony employees received the message.

“[W]hat we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan,” the email said. “It’s your false [sic] if you if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse,” the e-mail reads.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the matter. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, the FBI said it was aware of the threatening e-mails and that it will continue to investigate the cyber attack.

Little is known about Guardians of Peace, which the email’s author described as “a worldwide organization.” The group took responsibility for last week’s cyber attack, involved leaking numerous sensitive company documents and causing Sony Pictures to shut down its computer system. Among the documents released was salary information for thousands of Sony Pictures employees as well as documents containing thousands of passwords to company computers, social media accounts and even financial accounts.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Sony Pictures was set to blame the government of North Korea for backing the cyber attack, but the country has denied any involvement. Kim Jong Un previously called Sony Pictures’ upcoming release of the film The Interview — a comedy that depicts an assassination attempt on the North Korean leader — “an act of war.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Apple Maps Could Finally Be Getting This Much-Needed Feature

Apple Maps Public Transit Patent
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Apple was awarded a patent outlining public transit navigation tools

Apple might finally be adding a long-awaited public transit navigation tool in Apple Maps, the company’s mapping service heavily criticized for its direction problems when it launched in 2012.

Apple filed a patent called “Location Based-Features for Commute Assistant,” a function providing directions on buses, subways and trains, according to a patent it was awarded Thursday. The patent describes basic features closely resembling those offered by Google Maps, along with the ability for users to pinpoint specific spots for the route to include.

Still, Apple’s filing doesn’t mean such a feature is definitely coming to Apple Maps — companies routinely file for patents without incorporating the included ideas in any of their products.

Apple’s new patent arrives after the company acquired Embark and Hotspot last year, two popular services offering mass transportation directions. Apple bought both companies shortly before filing for the public transit direction patent in November 2013.

While Apple Maps initially suffered from faulty driving directions — paths allegedly included airport taxiways, for example — the service managed a strong rebound from its initial flop. In June, there were 42 million American adults using Apple Maps, compared to 64.5 million using Google Maps, according to comScore, numbers likely helped by Apple Maps’ status as the default map app in iOS.



TIME apps

Don’t Miss These Great iPhone Apps on Sale This Weekend

Woman using iPhone.
Guido Mieth—Flickr RF/Getty Images

Looking to download a few great iPhone apps while saving some money this weekend? Check out these five, all on sale or free for the new few days.

The Hobbit: Official Visual Companion

As we await the release of the third installment of The Hobbit (how time flies), we may also find ourselves, for good reason, significantly less invested in the plot of this series than the original Lord of The Rings.

That said, a fascinating app that tells us about the goings on of Middle-earth might be precisely what we need to stay caught up before the release. Packed with interactive maps and character bios, this app might finally tell you the difference between all of the dwarves.

The Hobbit is temporarily free in the App Store.

Sonic Jump

There are a certain class of games that have gone surprisingly undeveloped for iOS — Sonic and friends is one of them. Sonic Jump, although not the classic vertical running game that made the franchise famous, is all about jumping heights. Play as Sonic, or your other favorite characters from the series, like Tails and Knuckles. Collect rings the way you did when you were 8.

Sonic Jump is on sale for $0.99 in the App Store.


If you’re anything like most people, cooking recipes never turn out the way you expect. It’s no fault of your own, but your meals might turn out less like a pile of mush if you were taught how to do it properly. Appetites offers countless step-by-step instructional cooking videos to make sure you don’t mess things up miserably.

Appetites is temporarily free in the App Store.

Fuel My Run

If you, like all your friends and relatives ,are training for a marathon, there’s the likely risk of hitting the 20-mile-wall. An app like Fuel My Run can use your phone’s GPS to track your pace and help you monitor progress. It will also watch your mid-race caloric intake in order to make sure you physically have enough energy to actually finish your run at your desired pace.

Fuel My Run is temporarily free in the App Store.


At this point, everybody’s been forced to play a game of Settlers of Catan at a party as it dies down. Of course, there’s that embarrassing moment when you have nothing left to spend and have been forced to make dark and shady deals simply to stay in the game. This iPhone version may offer just enough practice hours so you don’t end up losing all the time.

Catan is on sale for $2.99 in the App Store.

TIME Security

Report: Sony’s Security Team Was Unprepared for Hack

The Sony Corp. logo is displayed outside the company's showroom in Tokyo on Oct. 30, 2013.
Bloomberg/Getty Images The Sony Corp. logo is displayed outside the company's showroom in Tokyo on Oct. 30, 2013.

After hackers leak salaries, social security numbers and films

Sony Picture’s security team had few resources and a poor reputation among its employees, according to new reports about the company-wide hack that led to leaked movie budgets, salary information, social security numbers and unreleased films.

Unnamed sources with ties to the company told Fusion that Sony had a lax attitude towards security. “Sony’s ‘information security’ team is a complete joke,” one former employee said. “We’d report security violations to them and our repeated reports were ignored.”

Just 11 people are assigned to the information security team out of a company of 7,000 employees, according to leaked files discovered by Fusion. Only three people on the team are not managers or directors.

The executive director of information security at Sony Pictures, Jason Spaltro, told CIO Magazine in a 2007 interview that it may be “a valid business decision to accept the risk” of a security breach, depending on the cost of investing in security and the cost of a successful attack.

Sony is offering one year of free credit monitoring and fraud protection to current and former employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Many experts speculate the recent breach, which is now being investigated by the security firm FireEye as well as the FBI, was perpetrated by North Korea, though a Pyongyang diplomat recently denied his country was responsible.

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