Web search overview



  • Return up to 1000 results for a query
  • Limits a search query to 10 words
  • Indexes pages in HTML, PDF, DOC, PPT (any others?)
  • Defaults to and

Query modifiers

  • + — must include (example: [michigan +ross])
  • - — must not include (example: [michigan -ross])
  • | — or (example: [michigan | ross])
  • ~ — synonym (example: [~car], includes "car", "cars", "automobile", etc.)
  • * — full word wildcard (example: [step * step]; finds documents with phrases such as "step by step", "step over step")

Special syntaxes

  • site: — Restricts a search to a specific domain (or even a top-level domain). Example: "bba site:umich.edu". This means that "umich.edu" is where the documents are hosted and has "bba" in the content. It would not matter if the URL has "umich.edu" in the document URL — this looks for documents that are hosted at this particular site.
  • intitle: — Restricts the search to Web page titles. Example: "intitle:tigers"; this looks for documents that have "tigers" in the document title.
  • inurl: — Restricts the search to the Web page URL itself. Example: "Stanton MacDonald-Wright" inurl:library site:edu; this looks for documents that have the exact string "Stanton MacDonald-Wright" in the document and also has the word "library" in the URL and also is hosted at an educational institution (i.e., at an "edu" top-level domain, TLD).
  • intext: — Returns pages if the query words are in the text of a Web page and not in the page's HTML. Only useful when searching for words that are HTML markup terms (e.g., body or html). Example: "intext:body"; this looks for documents that has the word "body" in the text of the document (and not in the title or in the HTML markup).
  • link: — Returns a page if it links to the page you specify. This cannot be mixed with other special syntaxes or special searches. Example: ; explain.
  • related: — In theory, this returns pages that are related (apparently, in some mysterious way) to the URL you specify. Example: related:http://www.amazon.com; this returns pages that are related to www.amazon.com. I defy you to define how Google has defined the term "related".
  • info: — Returns the information Google has about a URL. It also sets up queries for "cache:", "related:", "link:", and "site:". Example: info:http://www.amazon.com; the best way to understand what this query does is to look at the Google page for this example.

Commands for Special Searching

These cannot be mixed with each other or with special syntaxes.

  • stocks: — To obtain financial/stock informaiton from a myriad of sources use this function. Example: stocks:c
  • phonebook: — Used in two different ways..
    • phone number — perform a "reverse lookup" by using syntax "phonebook:" followed by a the number. Example (phonebook:734-225-2525)
    • directory listing — search for a directory listing by using the syntax "phonebook:" followed by the listing and city. Example (phonebook:pancheros Ann Arbor MI)
    • note: restrict your search to businesses or residents by using "bphonebook:" or "rphonebook:" respectively

Google's Non-Web Search Properties

This lists only a few of their sites.

  • Google News — Allows you to search through 4,500 news sources from around the world.
  • Google Groups — Searches among tens of millions of messages from over twenty years ago; useful when searching for technical support or a game hint.
  • Google Blogsearch — Allows you to search among many blogsites on the web.
  • Google Images — Search within Google's database of over 800 million images.
  • Google Special Searches — Use this when searching for very specific topics within Microsoft, Linux, Apple, BSD, or the Government; there are special searches for many universities as well.
  • Google Catalogs — For shoppers who want to search through paper catalogues.



  • Charges business or profit-oriented sites for listings
  • Defaults to and

Query modifiers

  • + — must include (example: "detroit +tigers")
  • - — must not include (example: "detroit -tigers")
  • "" — gathers words into a phrase (example: "Just say no")
  • OR — to search for either of two items (example: "michigan OR detroit")

Special syntaxes

Subject Index Syntaxes

  • t: — Limits the search to the titles of items. Example: t:michigan; this will produce results with michigan in the title of the page
  • u: — Limits the search to the URL: Example: u:michigan; this will collect results containing michigan anywhere in the url of a site
    • note the difference of results that comes up between t:michigan and u:michigan

Full-Text Search Engine Syntaxes

  • site: — Finds results within a specified site and all its subdomains. Example: "football site:umich.edu" All pages related to umich.edu (including bus.umich.edu for example) containing football will come up
  • hostname: — Finds results for a particular site only. Example: "football hostname:umich.edu" Only pages within umich.edu containing football will come up (sites like bus.umich.edu are excluded in this search)
  • link: — Finds all pages that link to a specified URL. (must use the beginning of a URL — http: — )// Example: "muscle link:http://www.med.umich.edu" will filter for all sites that link to the url http://www.med.umich.edu containing "muscle."
  • linkdomain: — This finds all pages that link to a particular domain (must not use the beginning of a URL — http: — )// Example: "muscle linkdomain:med.umich.edu" will bring up results that are linked to the domain med.umich.edu containing "muscle"
  • url: — Searches for a particular URL in the Yahoo search database. Example: url:http://www.facebook.com
  • inurl: — Searches page URLs fro a specified word. Example: "inurl:umich.edu" and all sites associated with umich.edu are displayed (for instance www.umich.edu/~archive, wwwllib.umich.edu/govdocs, etc…)
  • intitle: — Searches page titles for a specified word. Example: intitle:universityofmichigan only pages with "universityofmichigan" are displayed.

Yahoo's Shortcuts

  • Encyclopedia Lookup: retrieve Columbia Encyclopedia information about topics by adding "facts" in the query (example: "George Washington" facts)
  • Exchange Rate: lookup exchange rates between two currencies by using the word "convert" (example: convert yen euro)
  • Stocks: retrieve charts and quotes for stocks by using the word "quote" (example: quote txu)
  • Time Zone: to get local time as well as a location's time zone use the word "time" (example: time Paris)

Yahoo's Non-Web Search Properties

  • Yahoo Daily News — Worldwide news in a huge number of categories, both searchable and browsable. Multimedia as well as text stories are included here.
  • Yahoo Get Local — Browse by state or zip code to acquire maps, weather, places to dine and shop at U.S. cities.
  • Yahooligans — Yahoo for kids. Culture , sites, and new, but no adult-oriented sites.
  • Yahoo Reference — Ties together several reference materials (dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, and fact book) into one site. Plus, information on schools, degrees, and study guides are included.
  • Yahoo Maps — Search for maps for places or driving directions.
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