Google Boolean and Advanced Searching

   Posted November 29, 2003 by David Kirk in Google

Tutorial in the use of boolean searching with Google.


Dictionary.com gives the definition of Boolean:
Of or relating to a logical combinatorial system treating variables, such as propositions and computer logic elements, through the operators AND, OR, NOT, and XOR: a browser that supports Boolean searches.

AND

With AND google tries to find all the words listed.
Google searching defaults to AND. Therefore…
Google: tech-recipes hacks hints
is the same as…
Google: tech-recipes AND hacks AND hints

OR

With OR google will search for either of the terms. For example…
– Google: “North Carolina” OR university OR college
The “|” symbol is treated the same as OR by Google. Thus, this search would yield the same.
– Google: “North Carolina” | university | college

If you are sure you want to include one term but also want to include a choice of other terms, you can group your search. For example, the search below is much more powerful search that the similar OR search above. This will look for North Carolina universities or North Carolina colleges:
– Google: “North Carolina” (university OR college)

– (Minus Sign)
The minus will exclude terms from your search. If you want North Carolina colleges but you don’t want to read about Duke:
– Google: “North Carolina” university -Duke

“” (Quotation Marks)
As noted above, if you want to search for an exact phrase such as “North Carolina,” you enclose the phrase in quotation marks.
Google: “North Carolina” yields much more directed searches than Google: North Carolina

Further information can be found at the Google Advanced Search Page.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

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  • Ray Woodcock

    Thanks. I wish they had nested Boolean, or whatever you call it, e.g.:

    ((“darth vader” OR “vader, darth”) AND (“skywalker, luke” OR “luke skywalker”)) OR “star wars genealogies”

    • Oh, yeah! That would totally rock. It would make it more much useful to those doing research on the power of utilizing google searches for prediction models, for example.