Getting more out of Google
Google has an inbuilt encyclopedia (searches only English info, and only
from websites considered reliable). Sometimes useful when you can't remember what an acronym stands for, etc.
Finding a missing word
Is the Dutch prime minister Jan Pieter or Jan Peter Balkenende? Use an asterisk
to replace one or more words, and you can find out.
Jan * Balkenende
Use a tilde ~ to get Google to search for synonyms of the word as well. ~tsunami
searches for tsunami and tidal wave.
Finding particular types of document
You can ask Google to look for filetypes, by using
filetype:pdf for PDFs, filetype.doc for Word docs and filetype.xls for Excel
Finding more sources
Websites' own search engines don't always dig up everything if they're poorly archived.
Use the command site: in Google, and compare the difference, it will often find more pages.
(and compare to searching for "adopt" in the site's own search engine)
Quickly finding numbers/statistics
Give the search term(s) and then an estimate of the upper and lower numbers
divided by three periods.
Average price house 200000...300000
Washing machine price 300...400
Two or four periods won't work, it has to be three; and the numbers mustn't be
punctuated. It's not perfect (it'll also pick up things with names
that include those numbers), but can be useful.
Finding the phone number of a press spokesperson
Using the city code where the office is located, the name of the company, and
press (or equivalent in the local language) will often produce a result.
020 siemens press