LifeHack: How to Leverage Google and Modify Your Search

LifeHack: How to Leverage Google and Modify Your Search

For most tasks, a simple Google search will produce an effective result. However, sometimes it will not, especially when conducting more specialized searches for protective intelligence, etc.

What many people don’t know is that Google has very specific search tools and term modifiers for just about everything you may want to search for or eliminate from your search. So if you’re not getting the results you want from Google, read the tips below to help you get relevant results.

Search for an Exact Phrase

One of the simplest and most effective tricks is to search for an exact phrase by putting it in quotes. This will yield results with the same words in the same order as what’s in the quotes.

Eliminate Words

Eliminate irrelevant words that may come up in a search, such as the notable college baseball player that comes up when I search for my name. But if I add a minus sign in front of the word I do not want at the end of my search term, those results are eliminated.
I.E. (Joe LaSorsa -baseball)

Specify Must-Have Words

The inverse of the above, if you want to make sure a word appears in your results, put a plus sign in front of it.
I.E. (Joe LaSorsa +baseball)


Search for a File

If you are searching for a specific kind of file, restrict your results to only that by adding (filetype:) in front of the desired option at the end of your search term.
I.E. (filetype: ppt)

Find Keywords in Certain Sites

This function tells Google to search only a particular website. Put “site:” in front of the option at the end of your search term.
I.E. (executive protection training site:lasorsa.com)

Find Similar Terms 

Not sure of exactly the phrase you need to search? Then use this modifier by adding a tilde (~) to a search term will return related terms.
I.E. (~assassination)

Search a Phrase, but not an Exact Phrase

Want to make sure both words are near each other but not necessarily next to each other or in a specific order? Use the AROUND(#) modifier and use a number to specify the proximity.
I.E. (assassination AROUND(4) American)

Track flight status

Simply put in your search the airline code and flight number (AA567 shown for American Airlines Flight 567) and there it is…and it is very up to date information, sometimes even faster than what is updated on the Airline’s app.

Convert currency, metrics, bytes, and more

Curious at what the exchange rate of currency is an another country or how many decimeters in a yard? Google it…

Google News & Blogs

If you are looking for news article or within blogs, specifically, simply click the ‘News’ tab and you can also add functions simply by then selecting ‘Tools’ and selecting ‘All News’ or ‘Blogs’ and even sorting by date or relevance.

Google News Archives

A little known resource it the News Archives going back to the mid-1880s from newspapers around the world.  https://news.google.com/newspapers

Google Image Search and Sourcing

Want to know where a picture came from or where else it has been posted? Use the camera button on Google Images (open Google and click ‘Images’) and search a saved image and your results will include similar images on the web.

Find Faces in Google

If you want to find out what someone looks like, add (&imgtype=face) to the end of your image search to only include images of faces in your results. Try it out with your name…

Google Alerts

If you search for something regularly, or plan to, utilize Google Alerts which uses the same modifiers yet makes it a daily, weekly, etc. search automatically, straight to your email, for free with a gmail account.

Google Search Settings and Tools

On a desktop/laptop, you utilize the “Settings” and “Tools” options for very useful filters and search parameters, such as the time the results war published (within the last 24 hours, for example) or the language, etc. If on a mobile, specifically an iPhone, you can request the desktop site from the options to do the same. See image:

google search tools

Joseph M. LaSorsa, CPP® is currently a senior partner managing and conducting: Protective Operations Training Courses, Executive Protection & Bodyguard Services, Risk Management Consultations & Seminars, Security Expert Witness Testimony, Workplace Violence Prevention Seminars & Intervention Services, Security Consultations & Seminars, Private Investigations and Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures with LaSorsa & Associates – an International Protection, Investigations & Consulting Firm.

Protective Security Group


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