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Techno Corner

Arun Marballi

Although security these days appears to have taken center-stage with the widening complexity of our online environment and the increasing incidence of intrusions, data-identity thefts and data loss, our information portal to the world, the Internet enabled computers continue to remain one of the most fascinating and irreplaceable pieces of equipment that most of us interact with. Gone are the days when there was one computer at home and one at work.

We now measure a family’s connectedness by the number of computers they have at home – families are now known by the number of computers they own - “two-computer”, “three-computer” and so on. However, regardless of the number of computers that one has access to, being able to effectively use the Internet requires the ability to safely find the Web page that we are looking for.

Search engines such as Yahoo and Google offer us this ability. Hence, their popularity as well as market value. There is obviously more to the search effort than merely typing a word or phrase as a search item and it is possible to fine-tune our search with the proper use of search terms – a largely unpublished collection of tips and tricks that I would like to explore in this column.

The first tip is to use quotation marks. For example in Google if we searched for Tiger Woods without using quotes all web pages with one or both words will be listed, including pages with reference to wild animals and forests – a very large list indeed! If instead we used quotation marks, only those pages that listed both words in the proper context will be listed – mostly golf related.

This is useful when we want to search for a phrase. Another method of narrowing your search is to use the plus or the minus sign. The plus sign is used to include an additional search term while a minus sign results in excluding pages with references to the specified additional search term. For example, “Indiana Jones” +Crusade will limit the list of “Indiana Jones” pages returned to those also, including the word “Crusade.”

Lets say you have found the site you are looking for; you can search for a list of other sites that are similar to the one you have found by searching for Searching for will yield a list of all Web pages that contain a link pointing to the webpage in the search terms.

Another site specific search trick is to use the search term allinurl:search-term (stands for all-in-URL), which will result in a list of web addresses (URLs) with search-term as part of the Web address. Finally, it is possible to use Google to search for a specific term within a known Web Site. You can do this by entering searchterm

Have you often wished you had access to a gallery of pictures or clipart for including in your document? Google provides access to a rich collection of graphics by clicking its Images tab and entering the search term for the image. A word of warning on the use of the Google Images Tab is in order here –make sure that the search safety setting is Safe to prevent display of objectionable images and use caution when clicking on a displayed image as it will open the associated Web page.

If you are searching for smart shopping options, try the Froogle tab on Google’s home page. It will provide you with listings of online as well as brick-and-mortar merchants in most cities.

Hope the above bag of tips will help you to search for information on the Internet more effectively. Happy searching!

Arun Marballi has worked in the Information Technology arena for more than 20 years with extensive experience in software development, process design and network/workstation management. For comments, questions, tips or suggestions, e-mail


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