I don’t know about you, but I still have a vivid memory of the time before internet actually became useful. In those days, learning how to solve your problem included a lot of trial and error attempts and eventually a trip to local library. If finding a book on correct topic wasn’t enough of a challenge, finding a solution usually meant reading most of 800 page bible.

Thankfully, times changed. Most of the content found in books was moved online and Google published their search engine. Suddenly, solutions to most of your problems were just a query away. The problem now (much like in Hitchiker’s guide) is not to find an answer to your question, but to find a question to the answer, or in our case a query that would produce expected results. This, believe it or not, still causes problems to many people today. Software developers included.

The reality is, if you do not know how to use Google search engine, you are in big disadvantage. You can find plenty of tips online. These are my 3 tips for better use of Google search engine:

  1. Learn English.
  2. Don’t ask questions or use full sentences.
  3. Limit results with first keyword.


Learn English

Searching in native language, despite vast improvements Google made in this field,  still produces only a subset of results available. The subset size is proportionate to language popularity. Thus searching in Spanish will likely produce more results than in Swahili for instance. To avoid this limitation, you will have to learn English. Sorry.

Don’t ask questions or use full sentences

When searching, never use full sentences or ask questions. This might produce good results, but it might hide better answers just because they contain less keywords than your question. Instead set query to what you are searching for. For instance, query “C# consume web service” is better than “how to consume web service in C#”.

Limit results with first keyword

This, is not as important as it was in the past. However old habits die hard, so I usually, search by limiting answers to whatever I am searching for with first keyword. If I am searching for answers in php, “php” is my first keyword. If I am searching for a book by John Scalzi, “John Scalzi” is my first keyword. Keyword order is important and keywords stated earlier will contribute more to the result set.

What are your tricks?