Note that this tool works best for common
words, and some of the synonyms may be broader than you wish. I
needed to search for web sites of elementary school bands, music
departments and choirs. I tried a search for ~music, but saw
that I was also getting web sites with the words rock, MP3,
radio, audio, song, sound, and
records -- not really what I had in mind.
Personalized Google is still in beta, but
it's an interesting tool. Once you go to the Google Labs page and
select Personalized, you will be sent to a new search page, that
includes a link to [Create Profile]. You can specify the type of
searching you typically do, ranging from biotech and pharmaceuticals
to dentistry to classical music. Click [Save Preferences], and then
type your search terms in the Google Personalized search box.
At the search results screen, you will now see something new -- a
slider bar that lets you specify how much you want the search
results sorted by those interests you specified. The default is
minimal personalization; move the slider bar toward maximum, and you
will see the search results change on the fly, as Google re-ranks
the results based on your personal interests.
Keep in mind that this personalization is only available through the
Personalized Google page. If you go to the
main Google search
page, the personalization option is not available.
As with other search engines, Google has
some built-in "answer" features that can sometimes come in handy.
If you type the word "define:" and a word (define:card for example),
instead of the usual search results, you will get definitions of
that word from a wide range of glossaries, dictionaries and
Type a US company's name or stock
symbol in the search box, and the first item in the search results
page will be a link to current stock quotes for that company,
provided by Yahoo Finance.
Type a US area
code in the search box, and the first search result will link to a
map showing the general coverage area of that area code. I find this
particularly useful now that there are over 200 area codes.
www.google.com/help/features.html for a list of Google's
In addition to the well-known Google search
tabs for searching the web, news and images, there are several
specialized search tools for commonly-search subjects, including
for searching federal government information;
University Search for searching within the sites of major
colleges or universities; and even
Google Microsoft, for searching Microsoft-related sites.
© 2005 Mary Ellen Bates all rights reserved.