More Ways to Search
For many of us, searching on Google is automatic. You click on your browser's search bar or omnibar, type what you want, and go. But a plain old Google search isn't the only way to tap into the world's biggest search engine. Here are 10 alternative ways to search Google.
What do you love?
Sometimes, searching one Google service at a time isn't enough. Fortunately, there's "What do you love?," which aggregates results across many Google services, including YouTube, Translate, Images, and News. The only missing service is Google Search, but chances are you know how to use that one already.
For the times when Google's desktop search engine feels too overwhelming--images and sidebars and advertisements, oh my!--a visit to Google's mobile Website should provide some much-needed clarity. Just type google.com/m into your desktop browser to access an uncomplicated (albeit small) version of the site.
If you want to bring back an older style of Google, consider the Google Classic script for GreaseMonkey, or the Remove Google Sidebar extension in Chrome. Both scripts remove the redundant sidebar from Google searches, though the Classic script works better as it preserves the ability to show more search options.
Bing vs. Google
Thinking of defecting from Google to Bing (or vice-versa)? Bing vs. Google should help ease the transition, placing results for both search engines side-by-side. The ability to scroll both pages simultaneously with your mouse wheel is a nice touch.
Google's Custom Search is mainly intended to let websites host search bars their own content, but it's also a useful tool for looking up results from multiple sites at the same time, using an option that lets you enter domains line-by-line. When a custom search is created, users can add it as a gadget to iGoogle.
Arguably the geekiest way to search Google, Goosh is an alternative interface that behaves like a Unix shell. Users can add commands to their searches, such as "video" or "translate," to quickly retrieve results from those services. After searching, type the search result number to visit that site, or type "more" to see more results. Your fingers never need to leave the keyboard, you hacker, you.
Who says mobile phone users are the only ones who can search by voice? When using Google's Search page in the latest version of Chrome, you should see a microphone next to the search field. Click it and say whatever it is you're looking for. (Note: You must have Instant Search enabled in search settings to use this feature.)
Google Labs is loaded with alternative approaches to Google, but one of the neatest is Google Squared. Using one or more search parameters, Squared creates handy little charts with customizable columns. It doesn't always work, but when it does it's a fun way to visualize information from around the Web.
Yuin Chien's deep take on the search engine asks a simple question: What if Google got lazy? The result is an engine that lets out a helpless sigh before mangling your query and delivering awful results. It's functionally worthless, but I suppose that's the point. Good thing Google's algorithms can't feel emotion--yet.