– Sonu Oommen

Any developer working on a project or fixing bugs on a project, spends an awful lot of time trying to find a similarly solved problem over Internet or best ways to tackle a particular problem. Most of the search results we obtain are polluted with unwanted pages. As a result we end up filtering the results manually trying to find the results best suited for us. Isn’t this the reason we have search engines in the first place – to filter data and provide us with the most suitable result. So what’s stopping us from generating the result we are actually looking out for ?

  Lets look at a very simple example, say we need to find the list of movies that are played across various theaters in Trivandrum, a normal Google query of a layman would be something like: “movies running at trivandrum“ or say, to find the list of Presidents of India from 1970 to 2012, the query would look something like “list of presidents of india from 1950 to 2012”.

  These two queries are better queried in the following manner :

  1970..2012 presidents india , providing range to obtain accurate results.

   Movie:695001 , 695001 being the PIN no. of Trivandrum

 The above search query appears much more elegant and is by fact more efficient in generating better search results.

   A very important trick to obtain accurate search results is to eliminate undesired results, rather than filtering manually we can make Google do the job. For example say we need to query result regarding ruby language and don’t wish any page result with ruby on rails.

  ruby -rails

will generate just the results with ruby and no result of ruby on rails. Some other time you maybe looking for results containing some exact term or phrase, how do we make sure that those terms are not ignored ?. Simply wrap it in quotes. So if I want to find the document containing the phrase webrick script software. My query should be something like

  ruby on rails “webrick script software”

 as a matter of fact the above query generated only a single search result, that is pretty accurate.

 Now sometimes we want to search certain terms or phrase from a particular site, for example about CSRF from http://rubyonrails.org/

  csrf site:rubyonrails.org/

 Sometimes we may know a phrase but our recollection of that might not be vivid, say we know its something related to ‘active record’ and ends with ‘interface’:

  active record:*interface

 will search for anything results with anything in between active record and interface and voila! our result will be Active Record Query Interface.

 Some of the most important and most ignored facts about googling are:

  1. Advanced search feature of Google, which can be accessed by clicking on Settings > Advanced Search.

  2. Some common words, called “stop words” (such as the, on, where, how, de, la, as well as certain single digits and single letters) generally don’t add meaning to a search.

    Stop words appear on so many pages that searching for them usually doesn’t help you find relevant results.

  3. We can use Search tools option to specify the timecountry etc.

  4. Don’t worry about punctuation, as they are mostly ignored. This includes @#%^()+{}\ and other special characters.

  5. Ignore spelling, Google spell checker automatically defaults to the most common spelling of a given word.

  6. Don’t worry about case, search isn’t case sensitive.

  7. And most importantly lesser the number of keywords, broader the result you yield.

So lets Google towards better results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       – Sonu Oommen