Logan Hochstetler

Logan Hochstetler

Source: This article was published phys.org - Contributed by Member: Logan Hochstetler

As scientific datasets increase in both size and complexity, the ability to label, filter and search this deluge of information has become a laborious, time-consuming and sometimes impossible task, without the help of automated tools.

With this in mind, a team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley is developing innovative machine learning tools to pull contextual information from scientific datasets and automatically generate metadata tags for each file. Scientists can then search these files via a web-based search engine for scientific , called Science Search, that the Berkeley team is building.

As a proof-of-concept, the team is working with staff at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Molecular Foundry, located at Berkeley Lab, to demonstrate the concepts of Science Search on the images captured by the facility's instruments. A beta version of the platform has been made available to Foundry researchers.

"A tool like Science Search has the potential to revolutionize our research," says Colin Ophus, a Molecular Foundry research scientist within the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) and Science Search Collaborator. "We are a taxpayer-funded National User Facility, and we would like to make all of the data widely available, rather than the small number of images chosen for publication. However, today, most of the data that is collected here only really gets looked at by a handful of people—the data producers, including the PI (principal investigator), their postdocs or graduate students—because there is currently no easy way to sift through and share the data. By making this raw data easily searchable and shareable, via the Internet, Science Search could open this reservoir of 'dark data' to all scientists and maximize our facility's scientific impact."

The Challenges of Searching Science Data

Today, search engines are ubiquitously used to find information on the Internet but searching  data presents a different set of challenges. For example, Google's algorithm relies on more than 200 clues to achieve an effective search. These clues can come in the form of keywords on a webpage, metadata in images or audience feedback from billions of people when they click on the information they are looking for. In contrast, scientific data comes in many forms that are radically different than an average web page, requires context that is specific to the science and often also lacks the metadata to provide context that is required for effective searches.

At National User Facilities like the Molecular Foundry, researchers from all over the world apply for time and then travel to Berkeley to use extremely specialized instruments free of charge. Ophus notes that the current cameras on microscopes at the Foundry can collect up to a terabyte of data in under 10 minutes. Users then need to manually sift through this data to find quality images with "good resolution" and save that information on a secure shared file system, like Dropbox, or on an external hard drive that they eventually take home with them to analyze.

Oftentimes, the researchers that come to the Molecular Foundry only have a couple of days to collect their data. Because it is very tedious and time-consuming to manually add notes to terabytes of scientific data and there is no standard for doing it, most researchers just type shorthand descriptions in the filename. This might make sense to the person saving the file but often doesn't make much sense to anyone else.

"The lack of real metadata labels eventually causes problems when the scientist tries to find the data later or attempts to share it with others," says Lavanya Ramakrishnan, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD) and co-principal investigator of the Science Search project. "But with machine-learning techniques, we can have computers help with what is laborious for the users, including adding tags to the data. Then we can use those tags to effectively search the data."

To address the metadata issue, the Berkeley Lab team uses machine-learning techniques to mine the "science ecosystem"—including instrument timestamps, facility user logs, scientific proposals, publications and file system structures—for contextual information. The collective information from these sources including the timestamp of the experiment, notes about the resolution and filter used and the user's request for time, all provide critical contextual information. The Berkeley lab team has put together an innovative software stack that uses machine-learning techniques including natural language processing pull contextual keywords about the scientific experiment and automatically create metadata tags for the data.

For the proof-of-concept, Ophus shared data from the Molecular Foundry's TEAM 1 electron microscope at NCEM that was recently collected by the facility staff, with the Science Search Team. He also volunteered to label a few thousand images to give the machine-learning tools some labels from which to start learning. While this is a good start, Science Search co-principal investigator Gunther Weber notes that most successful machine-learning applications typically require significantly more data and feedback to deliver better results. For example, in the case of search engines like Google, Weber notes that training datasets are created and machine-learning techniques are validated when billions of people around the world verify their identity by clicking on all the images with street signs or storefronts after typing in their passwords, or on Facebook when they're tagging their friends in an image.

Berkeley Lab researchers use machine learning to search science data
This screen capture of the Science Search interface shows how users can easily validate metadata tags that have been generated via machine learning or add information that hasn't already been captured. Credit: Gonzalo Rodrigo, Berkeley Lab

"In the case of science data only a handful of domain experts can create training sets and validate machine-learning techniques, so one of the big ongoing problems we face is an extremely small number of training sets," says Weber, who is also a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's CRD.

To overcome this challenge, the Berkeley Lab researchers used to transfer learning to limit the degrees of freedom, or parameter counts, on their convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Transfer learning is a machine learning method in which a model developed for a task is reused as the starting point for a model on a second task, which allows the user to get more accurate results from a smaller training set. In the case of the TEAM I microscope, the data produced contains information about which operation mode the instrument was in at the time of collection. With that information, Weber was able to train the neural network on that classification so it could generate that mode of operation label automatically. He then froze that convolutional layer of the network, which meant he'd only have to retrain the densely connected layers. This approach effectively reduces the number of parameters on the CNN, allowing the team to get some meaningful results from their limited training data.

Machine Learning to Mine the Scientific Ecosystem

In addition to generating metadata tags through training datasets, the Berkeley Lab team also developed tools that use machine-learning techniques for mining the science ecosystem for data context. For example, the data ingest module can look at a multitude of information sources from the scientific ecosystem—including instrument timestamps, user logs, proposals, and publications—and identify commonalities. Tools developed at Berkeley Lab that uses natural language-processing methods can then identify and rank words that give context to the data and facilitate meaningful results for users later on. The user will see something similar to the results page of an Internet search, where content with the most text matching the user's search words will appear higher on the page. The system also learns from user queries and the search results they click on.

Because scientific instruments are generating an ever-growing body of data, all aspects of the Berkeley team's science search engine needed to be scalable to keep pace with the rate and scale of the data volumes being produced. The team achieved this by setting up their system in a Spin instance on the Cori supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Spin is a Docker-based edge-services technology developed at NERSC that can access the facility's high-performance computing systems and storage on the back end.

"One of the reasons it is possible for us to build a tool like Science Search is our access to resources at NERSC," says Gonzalo Rodrigo, a Berkeley Lab postdoctoral researcher who is working on the natural language processing and infrastructure challenges in Science Search. "We have to store, analyze and retrieve really large datasets, and it is useful to have access to a supercomputing facility to do the heavy lifting for these tasks. NERSC's Spin is a great platform to run our search engine that is a user-facing application that requires access to large datasets and analytical data that can only be stored on large supercomputing storage systems."

An Interface for Validating and Searching Data

When the Berkeley Lab team developed the interface for users to interact with their system, they knew that it would have to accomplish a couple of objectives, including effective search and allowing human input to the machine learning models. Because the system relies on domain experts to help generate the training data and validate the machine-learning model output, the interface needed to facilitate that.

"The tagging interface that we developed displays the original data and metadata available, as well as any machine-generated tags we have so far. Expert users then can browse the data and create new tags and review any machine-generated tags for accuracy," says Matt Henderson, who is a Computer Systems Engineer in CRD and leads the user interface development effort.

To facilitate an effective search for users based on available information, the team's search interface provides a query mechanism for available files, proposals and papers that the Berkeley-developed machine-learning tools have parsed and extracted tags from. Each listed search result item represents a summary of that data, with a more detailed secondary view available, including information on tags that matched this item. The team is currently exploring how to best incorporate user feedback to improve the models and tags.

"Having the ability to explore datasets is important for scientific breakthroughs, and this is the first time that anything like Science Search has been attempted," says Ramakrishnan. "Our ultimate vision is to build the foundation that will eventually support a 'Google' for scientific data, where researchers can even  distributed datasets. Our current work provides the foundation needed to get to that ambitious vision."

"Berkeley Lab is really an ideal place to build a tool like Science Search because we have a number of user facilities, like the Molecular Foundry, that has decades worth of data that would provide even more value to the scientific community if the data could be searched and shared," adds Katie Antypas, who is the principal investigator of Science Search and head of NERSC's Data Department. "Plus we have great access to machine-learning expertise in the Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Area as well as HPC resources at NERSC in order to build these capabilities."

This is the age of influence and networking. The success of a brand or an individual highly depends on the amount of influence earned as well as the level of networks created in the meantime. Today, the best place to power up influence and build a network is social media, and just like web search engines, there is a number of cool social media search engines that can help you or your brand to find real people, build networks, and share or gain useful information required to raise influence within your niche market.

Yes, you heard it right. There are many specific social media search engines out there designed to help you find real people and user profiles across major social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and many others.

The more people you can manage to add to your network from the same industry, your influence resultantly improves in the industry. And, there’s no better way to find people on the web other than looking for them via social media search engines.

Today, we bring you a cool list of top social media search engines that can help you find people within your industry nearby to grow your influence, reach, as well as network within the industry.

Best Social Search Engines to Find Real People across Top Social Networks

There is no doubt that Google is the most popular search engine on the web to find almost anything on the internet. However, even Google fails or is not up to the mark when finding people or profiles on popular social media channels.

Today, we will share some of the best social media search engines that would help you find real people as follows:

Social Mention

The first on our list is Social Mention. This web tool is systematically designed for people looking for social media content that includes blogs, microblogs, comments, bookmarks, videos, and more. With Social Mention, you can also set alerts and receive emails based on your searches for specific brands, celebrities, or company-related updates. The tool is quite helpful for bloggers, who can install its real-time buzz widget on their blogs for maximum benefits.


WhosTalkin is another social media search engine that lets you explore conversations relevant to the topics that interest you. You can find updates about your favorite sport, favorite food, celebrity, or company. With WhosTalkin, you can engage in conversations that are most relevant to the topics you like. This internet-based social media search engine tool is able to search through a number of social media networks and blogs for your favorite trending topics and conversations related to your favorite celebrity, sports, food, places, videos, etc.


As the name of the search engine suggests, YoName lets you find people across different social media platforms by name. With YoName, you can search people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger blogs, and several others using the search form. Simply enter people’s names, email addresses, or phone numbers and then hit “Yo” to get the results. Besides social media search, YoName also supports web search, business search as well as public records search.


Well, Anoox is not exactly a social media search engine but it allows you to get information via multiple social media websites as well as find answers to your queries from real people. At Anoox, you can share & discuss with real people for the best answer, truth, and in turn more traffic to your website or profile.


Unlike other social media search engines, BoardReader is a search tool for community forums and boards. With BoredReader, you can easily explore popular content spread across the internet including news, articles, videos, press releases, etc.

Bing Social

After Google, Bing is the 2nd most popular search engine on the web, and its social arm known as Bing Social is designed to find the latest news and trending topics shared across popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks.


Addictomatic is yet another social search tool to explore the latest news, trending topics, attractive blog posts, viral videos, and interesting pictures. This tool searches the best live sites on the internet to find the latest news, blog posts, videos, and images for you. With this tool, you can easily keep up with the latest updates on the hot trending topics, and keep up to date with the latest social media sensation on the web.


Twitter is a strong social media platform with lots of viral and trending news surfacing on this microblogging tool every single second as you are reading this article. Twazzup lets you search these trending news and topics across Twitter and lets you keep up with the social media buzz around the globe.

Snitch Name

Snitch Name is a white pages service for social networks. This amazing search tool is designed to search people’s profiles over popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other networks.


Videos are now an integral part of the social media world and Blinkx is a social media search engine dedicated to videos medium. One of the best social media search engines on the web, Blinkx is a search engine for videos with over a million hours of regularly indexed online videos. This video search engine enables you to watch videos ranging from a wide variety of different categories including but not limited to news & politics, celebrity, technology, business, gaming, food, sports, and more assorted from all the major news portals and video sharing platforms.

Flickr Advanced Search

Flickr, as everyone knows, is one of the largest photo and video sharing platforms on the internet. While it lets you upload and view photos and videos on it, Flickr also lets you search for images or videos based on your topic using its advanced search tool embedded with smart filters and a variety of options designed to deliver accurate and effective results.

Source: This article was published geekdashboard.com By Rajeesh Nair

This article will give you some insights on how to make your research process more effective using online research tools.

10 Awesome Online Research Tools 

Online learning has opened up the opportunity for many people to educate themselves, learn new skills, and earn college degrees even if they are not able to attend classes in a traditional sense of the word. Some just don’t have the time/money to move or commute to another city, or they work full time and have families, which means eLearning is their only option. As great as online learning is, it has several drawbacks. Obviously, it requires you to be online most of the time, which is fine, if you are doing research, writing, taking online tests, or attending your virtual classes.

But being online also makes you more prone to procrastination and distractions. There is also the issue of keeping all those gigabytes of research data organized and having hardware that’s powerful enough to enable real-time communication. These are just some of the issues eLearners face. Fortunately, there is something you can do to make your eLearning experience a lot more efficient and stimulating, especially the research part. We have prepared a list of 10 online research tools every online learner should master.

  1. Todoist.
    Research is a time-intensive activity, which means you will need a tool to organize both your professional and personal life. We advise you to give Todoist a shot. Todoist enables you to manage all of your projects and access them from any platform you own, including your desktop computer, laptop, or portable devices. You can share your tasks and collaborate with other people. Another clever feature is “karma” points, which are given to users if they are successful in assigning tasks to projects.
  2. EndNote.
    EndNote is a multi-functional research tool which helps you search for information in online databases and full texts based on abstracts, as well as manage and auto-complete all of your references. Like Todoist, EndNote also enables you to share your research data with your collaborators. If you prefer to work alone, you can do that too by saving, managing and tagging your research results for better access. Other features include bibliography maker that is capable of creating citations in over 6,000 styles, as well as automatic journal suggestion.
  3. EduGeeksClub.
    Every once in a while, you are going to come across an insurmountable obstacle while doing your research. Instead of giving up, you can turn to EduGeeksClub for professional research help. Get in touch with professional writers and researchers and learn all the ins and outs of thorough research. Also, you can commission a paper from them which you can then use as a resource for your essay, paper, or dissertation. They also provide editing and proofreading services.
  4. Zotero.
    Another essential tool all online learners should make use of is Zotero. Zotero integrates itself seamlessly into your browser and uses its clever ability to automatically recognize content for you. After that, all it takes for you to save it to your personal, fully searchable library, which is another feature in Zotero, in a single click. It supports audio and video files, PDF documents, as well as most image formats.
  5. RefWorks.
    RefWorks is a browser-based tool which has the ability to help learners find the right research data, organize it, store it, and easily share it with their colleagues and collaborators. All of that research information and written work needs to be supported by proper citations, and RefWorks generates those for you automatically, as well as bibliographies in every style. If you are not sure how to make use of its full potential, there are plenty of tutorials on how to do it, right there on the website.
  6. DataElixir.
    One of the best ways to keep up to date with all the latest news, developments and data in science is to find a website which curates all of those on a weekly basis. We recommend Data Elixir. Whether you’re an eLearner, a scientist, or a researcher, you benefit a lot for its weekly collection of all the best data resources and news, and you don’t even have to put in any effort whatsoever. You just have to subscribe to their free weekly newsletter and that’s it.
  7. Paperpile.
    Paperfile is a reference management software which, similar to Zotero, works as an extension for Google Chrome browser, making it accessible for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux users. We recommend that you use it to find and import data from platforms like Google Scholar, PubMed, or arXiv. You can easily export all the PDF documents and data to Google Drive, which means you’ll have the opportunity for collaborative editing of your papers. The collaboration doesn’t end there, because you can send data back and forth between Paperpile and Zotero, for example, as well as Mendeley.
  8. DeepDyve.
    High-quality research papers and scholarly journals can often set you back a pretty penny, so it’s important for you to know exactly what you’re getting for the money you’ve paid. The only trouble is, you are often allowed to look at an abstract for free, and decide if you want to buy the full-text paper, and then realize it’s of no use to you. DeepDyve enables you to access the full-text articles for a limited period of time, enough for you to figure out if the paper is exactly what you are looking for.
  9. ContentMine.
    ContentMine is an online resource which aims to bring over 100,000,000 scientific facts close to the people, by converting the collective knowledge of the world that is present in scientific literature into content which can be read on your computes. All of its tools, features, and services are free and open access. They often cite Wikipedia and similar open projects as a source of their inspiration.
  10. Plagiarism Checker.
    In order to rid your work of duplicate content, run it through Plagiarism Checker, which will scan and determine if there is any duplicate content present. If there is, you either need to provide better citations, or rewrite your work so that it’s more unique.

These 10 awesome online research tools will change the way you do research for good, and for the better, and your eLearning process will be made much more streamlined and efficient. In the end, that’s the thing that matters the most.

Source: This article was published elearningindustry.com By Antonio Tooley

As Google Scholar approaches its 10th anniversary, Nature spoke to its co-creator Anurag Acharya

Google Scholar, the free search engine for scholarly literature, turns ten years old on November 18. By 'crawling' over the text of millions of academic papers, including those behind publishers' paywalls, it has transformed the way that researchers consult the literature online. In a Nature survey this year, some 60% of scientists said that they use the service regularly. Nature spoke with Anurag Acharya, who co-created the service and still runs it, about Google Scholar's history and what he sees for its future.

How do you know what literature to index?

'Scholarly' is what everybody else in the scholarly field considers scholarly. It sounds like a recursive definition but it does settle down. We crawl the whole web, and for a new blog, for example, you see what the connections are to the rest of scholarship that you already know about. If many people cite it, or if it cites many people, it is probably scholarly. There is no one magic formula: you bring evidence to bear from many features.

Where did the idea for Google Scholar come from?

I came to Google in 2000, as a year off from my academic job at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was pretty clear that I was unlikely to have a larger impact [in academia] than at Google — making it possible for people everywhere to be able to find information. So I gave up on academia and ran Google’s web-indexing team for four years. It was a very hectic time, and basically, I burnt out.

Alex Verstak [Acharya’s colleague on the web-indexing team] and I decided to take a six-month sabbatical to try to make finding scholarly articles easier and faster. The idea wasn’t to produce Google Scholar, it was to improve our ranking of scholarly documents in web search. But the problem with trying to do that is figuring out the intent of the searcher. Do they want scholarly results or are they a layperson? We said, “Suppose you didn’t have to solve that hard a problem; suppose you knew the searcher had a scholarly intent.” We built an internal prototype, and people said: “Hey, this is good by itself. You don’t have to solve another problem — let’s go!” Then Scholar clearly seemed to be very useful and very important, so I ended up staying with it.

Was it an instant success?

It was very popular. Once we launched it, usage grew exponentially. One big difference was that we were relevance-ranking [sorting results by relevance to the user’s request], which scholarly search services had not done previously. They were reverse-chronological [providing the newest results first]. And we crawled the full text of research articles, though we did not include the full text from all the publishers when we started.

It took years in some cases to convince publishers to let you crawl their full text. Was that hard?

It depends. You have to think back to a decade ago, when web search was considered lightweight — what people would use to find pictures of Britney Spears, not scholarly articles. But we knew people were sending us purely academic queries. We just had to persuade publishers that our service would be used and would bring them more traffic. We were working with many of them already before Google Scholar launched, of course.

In 2012 Google Scholar was removed from the drop-down menu of search options on Google’s home page. Do you worry that Google Scholar might be downgraded or killed?

No. Our team is continually growing, from two people at the start to nine now. People may have treated that menu removal as a demotion, but it wasn’t really. Those menu links are to help users get from the home page to another service, so they emphasize the most-used transitions. If users already know to start with Google Scholar, they don’t need that transition. That’s all it was.

How does Google Scholar make money?

Google Scholar does not currently make money. There are many Google services that do not make a significant amount of money. The primary role of Scholar is to give back to the research community, and we are able to do so because it is not very expensive, from Google’s point of view. In terms of volume of queries, Google Scholar is small compared to many Google services, so opportunities for advertisement monetization are relatively small. There’s not been pressure to monetize. The benefits that Scholar provides, given the number of people who are working on it, are very significant. People like it internally — we are all, in part, ex-academics.

How many queries does Google Scholar get every day, and how much literature does the service track? (Estimates place it anywhere from 100 million to 160 million scholarly items).
I’m unable to tell you, beyond a very, very large number. The same answer for the literature, except that the number of items indexed has grown about an order of magnitude since we launched. A lot of people wonder about the size. But this kind of discussion is not useful — it’s just 'bike-shedding'. Our challenge is to see how often people are able to find the articles they need. The index size might be a concern here if it was too small. But we are clearly large enough.

Google Scholar has introduced extra services: author profile pages and a recommendations engine, for instance. Is this changing it from a search engine to something closer to a bibliometrics tool?

Yes and no. A significant purpose of profiles is to help you to find the articles you need. Often you don’t remember exactly how to find an article, but you might pivot from a paper you do remember to an author and to their other papers. And you can follow other people’s work — another crucial way of finding articles. Profiles have other uses, of course. Once we know your papers, we can track how your discipline has evolved over time, the other people in the scholarly world that you are linked to, and can even recommend other topics that people in your field are interested in. This helps the recommendations engine, which is a step beyond [a search engine].

Are you worried about the practice known as gaming — people creating fake papers, getting them indexed by Google, and gaining fake citations?

Not really. Yes, you can add any papers you want. But everything is completely visible — articles in your profiles, articles citing yours, where they are hosted, and so on. Anyone in the world can call you on it, basically killing your career. We don’t see spam for that very reason. I have a lot of experience dealing with spam because I used to work on web search. Spam is easier when people are anonymous. If I am trying to build a publication history for my public reputation, I will be relatively cautious. 

What features would you like to see in the future?

We are very good at helping people to find the articles they are looking for and can describe. But the next big thing we would like to do is to get you the articles that you need, but that you don’t know to search for. Can we make serendipity easier? How can we help everyone to operate at the research frontier without them having to scan over hundreds of papers — a very inefficient way of finding things — and do nothing else all day long?

I don’t know how we will make this happen. We have some initial efforts on this (such as the recommendations engine), but it is far from what it needs to be. There is an inherent problem to giving you information that you weren’t actively searching for. It has to be relevant — so that we are not wasting your time — but not too relevant, because you already know about those articles. And it has to avoid short-term interests that come and go: you look up something but you don’t want to get spammed about it for the rest of your life. I don’t think getting our users to ‘train’ a recommendations model will work — that is too much effort.

(For more on recommendation services, see 'How to tame the flood of literature', in Nature's Toolbox section.)

What about helping people search directly for scientific data, not papers?

That is an interesting idea. It is feasible to crawl over data buried inside paywalled papers, as we do with full text. But then if we link the user to the paywalled article, they don’t see this data — just the paper’s abstract. For indexing full-text articles, we depend on that abstract to let users estimate the probable utility of the article. For data we don't have anything similar. So as a field of scholarly communication, we haven’t yet developed a model that would allow for a useful data-search service.

Many people would like to have an API (Application Programming Interface) in Google Scholar, so that they could write programs that automatically make searches or retrieve profile information, and build services on top of the tool. Is that possible?

I can’t do that. Our indexing arrangements with publishers preclude it. We are allowed to scan all the articles, but not to distribute this information to others in bulk. It is important to be able to work with publishers so we can continue to build a comprehensive search service that is free to everybody. That is our primary function, and everything else is in addition to this.

Do you see yourself working at Google Scholar for the next decade?

I didn’t expect to work on Google Scholar for ten years in the first place! My wife reminds me it was supposed to be five, then seven years — and now I’m still not leaving. But this is the most important thing I know I can do. We are basically making the smartest people on the planet more effective. That’s a very attractive proposition, and I don’t foresee moving away from Google Scholar any time soon, or any time easily.

Does your desire for a free, effective search engine go back to your time as a student at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur?
It influenced the problems that appealed to me. For example, there is no other service that indexes the full texts of papers even when the user can see only the abstract. The reason I thought this was an important direction to go in was that I realised users needed to know the information was there. If you know the information is in a paywalled paper, and it is important to you, you will find a way in: you can write to the author, for instance. I did that in Kharagpur — it was really ineffective and slow! So my experiences informed the approach I took. But at this point, Google Scholar has a life of its own. 

Should people who use Google Scholar have concerns about data privacy?

We use the standard Google data-collection policies — there is nothing different for Scholar. My role at Google is focused on Google Scholar. So I am not going to be able to say more about broader issues.

Source: This article was published scientificamerican.com By Richard Van Noorden

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 02:04

Finding Public Records Online

Locating public records is one of the most popular search activities on the internet, and millions of people look for vital, historical, and other publicly registered documents every day online. Find a birth certificate, locate census records, track down land use documents, and much more with this list of the best websites for finding public information on the Web.

Note: These resources only cover publicly available records that are made accessible online. Some kinds of public records, such as birth certificates, are not made freely available online and must be accessed via your local records office. We do not suggest that readers pay for information found online unless it is from an approved, secure state or federal resource. 

Use Google to find public records

Google for public records

Yes, Google definitely belongs on this list of free public records search sites. Not only is it free, it's also one of the world's largest databases of information and it's a great way to track mentions of your topic on the Web. 

In addition, Google is one of the most useful places to start looking for records, simply because its index is so incredibly large and can pull in details and resources you might not have thought to include otherwise. 



VitalRec is one of the most comprehensive sites for locating vital records on the Web. This site offers links to every state, county, and town records office, with useful information on what you'll need to either request records online or show up at the office itself.

VitalRec explains how to obtain vital records (such as birth certificates, death records, marriage licenses and divorce decrees) from each state, territory and county of the United States, as well as an impressive international section. The site is organized by state; locate your state, then browse the available vital records links. No registration is required to use this site. One particularly useful feature of VitalRec.com: all fees that might be included in your public records searches are clearly listed and frequently updated.

How can I find what I'm looking for?

VitalRec does not link directly to vital records. However, VitalRec links directly to each state's information on EXACTLY how to obtain vital records: birth certificates, death notices, marriage records, and more. With that in mind, using VitalRec.com as a starting point in your records searches can obviously save you a tremendous amount of time and effort. To find information on how to obtain vital records, you can browse the States & Territories, or the International Records section. Each state and country's page has plenty of information on how to obtain vital records for that particular region; plus, VitalRec has a detailed set of guidelines for ordering these records with all the information you need to include in your request.

Why should I use this site?

VitalRec.com puts all the information you need to find vital records in one convenient place. Instead of trying to find individual state, county, or town records offices in the phone book, this comprehensive directory gives you direct access to exactly what you're looking for, with practical instructions on what you'll need in person, on the phone, or via email when requesting the records you need. If you're doing any sort of genealogical research, VitalRec.com can make your hunt much more enjoyable simply by cutting down on the amount of administrative work you'll have to do in order to find and receive birth, death, marriage, or divorce records.

Finding Obituaries

how to find obituaries

Obituaries, both present-day and historical, can be found online with a little bit of sleuthing. Most obituaries are placed online, eventually, via the newspaper that originally published them. It can take some considerable patience and preparation in order to find many obits, but they can be found on the Web.

In addition, DeathIndexes.com is a (mostly) free genealogy search site; excellent for those researching genealogies in particular. The website is a comprehensive directory of death indexes on the Web listed by state and county, with easily navigable links to everything you might be looking for. Death records are included here, as well as death certificate indexes, death notices and registers, obituaries, probate indexes, and cemetery and burial records.

One of the more common public data searches pertains to finding grave information: cemetery records, interment information, even images of the gravesite. The website Find a Grave is extremely helpful in this regard. Celebrity interments can also be found here, with accompanying information and photos.

Family Search is primarily a genealogy tracker, which makes it an invaluable people search tool as well. Type in as much information as you know, and FamilySearch will bring back birth and death records, parental information, and more.



Zabasearch is somewhat controversial because it brings back so much information. However, all of this information is publicly accessible; Zabasearch just puts it all in one convenient place. Zabasearch is considered a good "jumping off point"; it gives you a lot of publicly accessible information that you can use to track down even more public data using other Web search tools (such as the ones included in this top ten list). 



USA.gov is is a search portal that gives users instant access to all sorts of information from the United States government, state governments, and local governments. Every agency that handles public information in the United States can be found somewhere in this huge database. The site can be somewhat overwhelming at first simply because of the volume of information available.

Searchable Public Databases

Searchable public databases are one place to find public domain information.

Family Tree Now is a site that has gained quite a bit of popularity simply because it retrieves so much information from a wide variety of public databases and puts it all in one convenient place. 

For the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Census Finder is a free public records search site that can help you track down all sorts of interesting demographic information. For genealogy researchers or anyone looking to track down vital records, census information can become some of the best and most often utilized sources for content, especially since most censuses in the last century are recorded or transcribed online.

DirectGov is a searchable public data search database of a wide range of government information and services in the United Kingdom, and is considered an excellent source of free online information. All public services in the UK are located here: job search resources, student finance information, taxes, housing, all sorts of governmental resources can be found all in one convenient place. Personal public records are not necessarily available here, but if you're looking for more general bureaucratic resources for the UK, this is the first place to look. 

American Fact Finder offers population, housing, economic, and geographic data for any community in the United States. You can use this database to dig up information on your person's community, schools, and other demographics, which can aid in your genealogy searches.

If you're thinking about moving into a new neighborhood, one of the first things you'll want to do is check if there are any registered sex offenders in the area. Unfortunately, many people neglect this simple step. However, you can accomplish this very simply and easily with Family Watchdog's registered offender search utility.

Here's how it works:

  1. Navigate to Family Watchdog Search. You'll see three fields: last name, first name, and state.
  2. You must have at least a last name in order to use this search. However, you can get around this pretty easily simply by entering the first two letters of a name, such as "sm" or "ar". Obviously this is less than ideal, but let's keep going.
  3. Choose the state you want to search in, or, you can just let the utility search all states at once.

Results will come back with clickable links to pictures and profiles of the registered offenders, along with their residential addresses and maps.

Family Watchdog Search is a good way to search for this kind of information; you can also use the The National/State Sex Offender Public Website for the most recent information available from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the identity and location of known sex offenders

 Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Jerri Collins

18s0etp8o6exlpng Logan Hochstetler - AOFIRS

Click to viewIt's no surprise that the killer feature in Google's email offering, Gmail, is its search capability. Google's king of the web because it makes information on its billions of pages findable; likewise, Gmail makes the megabytes of messages that get pumped into your inbox every day manageable through laser-specific search. If you know how to construct the right query in Gmail, you can slice and dice your messages any way you see fit. Plug those queries into filters and Gmail will automatically process your mail for you as it arrives. Gmail's advanced search, filters and labels make it a god amongst insects in the world of web-based email, but it takes a little know-how to get it working for you.

Let's talk search


From its inception, the Gmail philosophy has been "Search, don't sort." While that works for finding a specific message, it's not the best way to get organized with your email. There's a point at which sorting is essential, especially for those of us who deal with a lot of email. Luckily, searching and sorting are not mutually exclusive. Gmail came with filters and labels baked in, and a little extra-Gmail ingenuity gave us persistent search. Below I'll go into both in detail. 18s0etp8o9qm4png.png

Gmail has an extensive list of simple search operators, and a serious Gmailer should get to know and love most of them. However, there are two Gmail search tricks that aren't well-known (one isn't even documented) that, combined with the search operators, turn Gmail searches into something fierce: parentheses and curly brackets.

And/Or searches

When you construct a complicated query in Gmail, the search terms are all by default grouped with AND, meaning that every match to a search like to:adam subject:iPhone is both to me and has iPhone somewhere in the subject. The a Gmail documentation recommends using the OR operator when only one term needs to match. Our search might then become to:adam OR subject:iPhone meaning that every match is either addressed to me, has iPhone in the subject, or both. The problem with using OR is that complex queries tend to turn into endless strings of ORs, and they're just not all that manageable.

Instead, surround the disjunctive search terms with curly brackets {}. Searching Gmail with {to:adam subject:iPhone}will yield the same results as the OR search above while allowing you more room for tweaking the terms and saving you from typing an endless string of ORs. Everything inside the curly brackets is assumed to be linked with OR.

Similarly, search terms surrounded by parentheses () group every item with an AND. Granted, AND is the default for search terms, but parentheses can still come in very handy when things get complicated. For example:

{to:(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) subject:Quicksilver}

This query will match all emails that are addressed to both This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or that contain Quicksilver in the subject. Before I got into brackets I'd have probably written this query as(to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) OR subject:Quicksilver which isn't terrible, but becomes more and more complicated as search terms grow.

Now that you understand how to construct complex queries for Gmail using brackets and parentheses, how can you put them to good use?

Persistent search 


Since it's not worth your time to create complicated search queries every time you want to find a group of emails, especially if it's a search you're going to make often, you'll want to create persistent searches.

Using either the a Better Gmail Firefox extension with persistent searches enabled, you can create and save persistent searches in Gmail that work like Gmail labels, except that they're dynamic. That makes persistent searches more like Smart Folders; labels, on the other hand, are more like traditional folders. For example, when persistent search is first enabled (whether with Greasemonkey or Better Gmail), it comes with several saved searches already built in, like the TODO search, which submits the following search query:

to:me {in:inbox is:unread}

Clicking on the saved TODO search will give you a dynamic list of emails addressed to you that are

18s0etp8o6exlpng Logan Hochstetler - AOFIRS

Click to viewIt's no surprise that the killer feature in Google's email offering, Gmail, is its search capability. Google's king of the web because it makes information on its billions of pages findable; likewise, Gmail makes the megabytes of messages that get pumped into your inbox every day manageable through laser-specific search. If you know how to construct the right query in Gmail, you can slice and dice your messages any way you see fit. Plug those queries into filters and Gmail will automatically process your mail for you as it arrives. Gmail's advanced search, filters and labels make it a god amongst insects in the world of web-based email, but it takes a little know-how to get it working for you.

Filters and building large queries


Filters come in handy when you want to perform certain actions on email when it arrives—actions like archiving, forwarding, and labeling.* If you're planning to set up complex filters, the first thing you should do is expand Gmail's filter input,** turning it from a one-line input box to a textarea. That way you can add line breaks to your queries to help keep them much better organized.

 Since Gmail search operators work in filters, you can forego the other filter inputs and push your query into the Has the words field (or not, depending on which you prefer). To give you an example of why this sort of multi-line input is useful, I'll show you a filter I use to label and archive all of my Lifehacker tips email so that my inbox only shows email from my fellow editors and bosses across the Gawker media network.

-from:{ *@lifehacker.com *@gawker.com *@gizmodo.com *@defamer.com *@wonkette.com *@idolator.com *@fleshbot.com *@kotaku.com *@deadspin.com *@gridskipper.com *@consumerist.com *@valleywag.com *@jezebel.com }

As you can see, this query uses the hyphen -, which negates the content of the following curly bracketed section. In my example, any email that does notmatch one of these handles (i.e., any email not sent from A or B or C...) gets archived and labeled "Lifehacker Tips." If I decide a contact has earned inbox status, I can just add their email to the end of the list (luckily Gmail doesn't remove the line breaks so the query retains its friendly format when I need to edit it).

This particular filtering technique may not be practical if you don't receive hundreds of email a day like we do at Lifehacker, but it's a great way to keep your inbox streamlined to only the most important messages, and it illustrates how much easier it is to understand and organize the search in expanded form with brackets than in one long line connected with OR. Handy, right?

So how do I use this?

How you put these tips to use is completely dependent on your needs. If you have never had any trouble building a filter or persistent search that does exactly what you need, then you probably won't need the parentheses and curly brackets. On the other hand, if you've had problems getting just the right query, those two tools combined with the rest of Gmail's search operators can get you nearly any result you need.

The examples above are intended to provide a framework for understanding how to construct complex filters and persistent searches in Gmail, but if you've already put together your own killer filters and searches, please share them with the class in the comments.

*Remember, the label, in, and is search operators will not work in filters because filters are only applied to emails when they arrive. These operators should be reserved for your [persistent] searches.

** While I don't know of a useful way to expand the regular search input boxes to textareas, enabling multi-line input box pasting should let you construct your more complex queries in a text editor and then copy-and-paste them to the Gmail search box.
Source: This article was published lifehacker.com

Google has been the top search engine for years given its powerful reach across the world. This is mostly due to the massive database of indexed websites, relevancy of search result and the convenience it offers in terms of using the platform. 

Moreover, it is undeniable that the Google search engine provides relevant results before you can blink your eyes. 
Apart from the fact that you can find out almost anything about everyone through the Google search engine, it also offers advanced users variety of tools and options to further fine tune search result. Most powerful option among these is advanced search operators, that you can apply on the search query to narrow down result set. 

By using advanced search operators, you will be able to obtain more refined results. If you are new to using this advanced Google feature, you definitely need a user-friendly cheat sheet, unlike SEO specialists who consider the search operators their bread and butter. Basically, the search operators can be found in symbols, characters, or a unique combination of both. 

Here is a comprehensive list of advanced search operators to master Google search and get best from Google search results. 
Search for the exact phrase with "example"
This is the simplest search operator. You can use this search operator if you want to search for exact phrase. For instance, if you type in "backlink building tools,"your search result will only include links to pages that have exact text phrase backlink building tools in title, meta description, and body content. 

The search operator is also useful if you want to search for people by name, book titles, products, quotes. 
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Search within the particular website using site:example.com
This is another basic operator to query pages from the specific domain. For example, to find everything related to keyword research on serpstart.com, you can use query site:serpstat.com keyword research. 

You can also search within a folder of a website using query site:example.com/folder 

For example to search for growth hacking articles blog on Serpstat blog, use query site:serpstat.com/blog growth hacking.
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Find the desired keyword in title tag with intitle:
A simple and useful Google search operator that will provide you with a list of web pages with the keyword you specified in their tag. This operator is used for single term or phrase. 

For example, search query seo audit intitle:tools will return pages that contain term tools in page title and contain seo and audit terms anywhere in the web page content. 
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Search for the desired keywords only within title tag with allintitle: operator
As the name suggests, you can add this search operator to your search query to restrict the results having all the query terms in page title. For instance, if you search Google using "allintitle: competitor analysis tool" query, results will show web pages that contain all the terms "competitor", "analysis" and "tool" in page title. These terms can be anywhere in the title. To search for exact phrase, use intitle operator. 

Alternatively you can use intitle operator multiple times. For example, allintitle:seo tool is same as intitle:seo intitle:tool
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Find the pages that have the desired keyword in the page's URL with inurl:
This search operator displays web pages with search keyword (single word) found within their URL. For example, to find out all the pages on serpstat.com website that have term ppc in URL, you can use query site:serpstat.com inurl:ppc. 

This is suffix operator meaning if you should place it at the end of your search query. 
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Search for several keywords within pages' URLs with help of allinurl: operator
This search operator is good for searching multiple terms in URL. This is equivalent to using multiple inurl operator. 

For instance, if you search using the term allinurl:content analysis tool, Google search result will show web pages that have the terms content, analysis and toolin their URL. Terms in URL can appear anywhere. 

Note, that this is also suffix operator. 
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Use intext: to find the pages that include the desired keyword in the body tag
Use this operator to find all the pages that contain term or exact phrase in the body content of web page. 

For example, intext:marketing search query will return all the pages that have keyword marketing in their body content. This operator is different from " "operator. While " " operator searches for exact phrase in the whole page content, this operator searches only body content. 

Search query intext:keyword analysis tips is different from intext:"keyword analysis tips". Former query will show results from pages that have term keyword in body content and terms analysis and tips anywhere web page content. Later query will return list of web pages that have exact phrase keyword analysis tips in body content. 
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Find the pages with multiple keywords in the body tag with the help of allintext:
You can use this search operator in order to limit the results based on the keywords following the term. For example, search query allintext:keyword analysis tips will provide you with a list of pages that have terms keyword, analysis and tips in the document content section. 
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Use OR operator to see the results that meet one of the specified queries
This is logical OR search operator. The search result will meet one of the search query criteria defined using OR operator. 

For instance, intitle:"keyword analysis" OR allinurl:keyword tool query will return all the web pages that either have keyword analysis phrase in page title or keyword and tool term in page URL. You can also use pipe (|) symbol for OR operator. 
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Expand the search results with AND operator
This operator functions the way a logical and operator works. When used in search, Google search result will show pages that satisfy all the search queries. 

For instance, search query site:serpstat.com AND intitle:seo AND intext:link building, will show all the pages from website serpstat.com that have term seo in page title and terms link and building in page body content. 

Always remember to use capital letters for OR and AND operator. 
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Find just the desired file formats with filetype:
This operator is used for searching content of files (pdf file, word file, excel file, ppt file etc) available on the internet. 

For instance, if you perform search with query link building tips filetype:docx, Google search result will include links to all the docx files that are related to link building tips. 

If you do not specify file format in search query, search result will show links to all the documents related to query term. 
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Check when your page was last cached using cache: operator
A popular Google search operator to see latest cached version of a web page. Google will directly display cached version of web page. 

For instance, if your search query is cache:https://serpstat.com/blog/why-and-how-to-advertise-on-facebook/, Google will show the cached version of this page as stored by Google. It is quite useful in checking articles that websites delete immediately after publishing due to various reasons. In a rare case, it is also helpful in recovering your website content if you do not have proper backup data or you lose control of website backup data.
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Find similar websites with related:operator
This operator is used for finding websites and web pages that Google think are similar to a target domain. This operator works best with large domains. 

The related operator will not work if you combine it with other operators. 
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Narrow the search results with the help of minus(-) operator
This operator is used for removing pages from search result set that are related to term or keyword specified with operator. Quite useful in narrowing down search result. 

Let's say you are searching for java and you definitely do not want any pages that are related to beans or coffee. You can query using java -beans -coffee. 

You can use this operator with other operators, for example: 
  • To remove pages from example.com domain, use -site:example.com;
  • If you do not want any specific term in page title, use -intitle:keyword;
  • If you do not want any specific term in URL, use -inurl:keyword.
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Let Google fill in the missing word(s) in your search query using * (wildcard operator)
This is a placeholder operator. It is used in order to fill in a missing word or words in keyword or phrase. 

This is helpful if you want to search for a generic phrase with slight variation. 

Let's say you are searching for search engine marketing tool and search engine optimization tool. You can make a generic query for both these terms using (*) operator like "search engine * tool". 
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Define the number of keywords with AROUND (X)
The wildcard operator we discussed above is placeholder for one for more words. What if you want to use placeholder but you also want to restrict number of words for placeholder. That is where AROUND(X) is useful. AROUND operator finds terms and phrases in proximity and X defines the maximum words between two search query terms or phrases. 

You can reconstruct search engine tool query we used above, using AROUND(X) operator to search engine AROUND(3) tool. 

This operator is quite helpful when you have vague idea of something and you do not remember exact phrase to search for. 
Search for synonyms to the requested keyword with ~ (tilde or synonym operator)
This operator tells Google to search query term mentioned after operator and also search for query term synonyms. 

For example, if you search using query seo ~guide, Google will show result for SEO guide, SEO tutorial, and SEO tips. It is up to Google to decide what is good synonym for a term. If you are not happy with Google suggestion, you can always use OR operator. 
Use .. (range operator) to search for the numbers in a range
An operator to specify that search result contains numbers in a range. Can be used for price range or date range. 

For example, to search for Lenovo laptop with price between $900 to $1100, use query lenovo laptop $900..$1100. 

You can also use this query to find listicle articles. To find out article like Top (5,6.....50) Content Marketing Tips, use query Top 5..50 Content Marketing Tips. Or you can use this operator to define date range like 2011..2012. 
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Use several complex search operators together with the help of ()
Use this operator to club together operators and control order of operations. 

For example to search for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus in refurbished or second-hand condition, you can use query ("iPhone 7" OR "iPhone 7 plus") AND (intext: refurbished OR intext:second-hand).
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Search for the results within the specific location with location: operator
Use this operator find content that is from a given place. 

For example, to find SEO agency in San Francisco, use query seo agency location:san francisco.
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Learn the meaning of the desired word with the help of define: operator
Google can help you find out definition of a term or phrase using this operator. Search for define:content marketing, and Google will tell you what content marketing means. 
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Search within the specific website usingsource:
It is a Google news search operator to find out content from a specific news source. If you are looking for news related to hurricane Irma from CNN, just use query Irma source:cnn. 
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Find more info about any website with info:
This operator provides information about a website. This includes the cached version of website, sites that are similar to website, web pages from website and web pages that have matching term for domain name. Earlier Google used to reveal links to queried website but it does not provide that information now. 
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Specify the date with daterange:
This operator provides result that are within date and time range. It is bit cumbersome to use as you need to enter dates in Julian format. You can use online conversion tool to get dates in Julian format. 
Search for prices using $ sign
Search for content with price. For example, a search for logitech keyboard $99will try to find out Logitech keyboards that are priced at $99. You can also use (.) for detailed price like $49.95. It is advisable to use range operator to get better result. 
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Find out the stock price with stock:
To quickly find out price of a stock and other details. For example to check Amazon's stock price use stock:amazon.
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Summing up
These are the most common search operators currently available. As Google gets better at understanding natural language and improving its search capability, it keeps on removing support for operators.

These operators are boon for any person working in SEO field. You can analyse your competitor, find backlink opportunities, find out about guest posting blogs etc.

It takes practice to get more from these operators, and a little bit of creativity will provide you great advantage over your competitor ;)
I'll be glad to answer your question, leave them in comments!


DuckDuckGo launched Tuesday what CEO Gabriel Weinberg called in his blog SpreadPrivacy.com “fully revamped versions of our browser extension and mobile app” designed to block third-party trackers and to make the service easier to use on smartphones.

The updates offer “built-in tracker network blocking, smarter encryption, and, of course, private search” in Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, and Safari “with just one download,” Weinberg writes. DuckDuckGo promises not to store or sell user data, unlike Google and other marketing-advertising-data collection search engines and social media sites. Ads for companies like Expedia that pop up on its search and affiliate pages aren’t targeted to individual readers, the company says.

Search volume rose for the 10-year-old, Paoli-based internet search site last year before the mobile upgrades were announced. Still, DuckDuckGo, which employs 45, many of whom work remotely and through the GitHub software development platform, remains a very small fraction of the global search market, which is attractive to advertisers and other behavioral trackers who pay big bucks to know where our eyes go.

DuckDuckGo says it logged more than 16 million queries a day as of the past month, up from 12 million a year earlier. The engine’s share of the U.S. laptop/desktop search market rose to 0.25 percent in December, up from 0.16 percent a year earlier, according to NetMarketShare.com. (Google as of December held more than 70 percent of the laptop/desktop search market, China-based Baidu 15 percent, Microsoft’s Bing 8 percent, Verizon’s Yahoo 5 percent, Russia-based Yandex 1 percent, and Ask.com had slightly more than DuckDuck Go. Dogpile, AOL, and all others were smaller.)

But, despite European Commission for Competition chairman Margarethe Vesteger’s admission to Wired Magazine that she uses DuckDuckGo instead of Google on her own mobile phone to avoid snooping, its share of the mobile market has lagged, rising only to 0.09 percent from 0.06 percent last year. Weinberg hopes to capture more with the new tools.

DuckDuckGo is also rating websites, with school-style “Privacy Grades” from A to F. (Philly.com got a C grade on my DuckDuckGo phone extension; according to its tools, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were all “trying to track me” around the site; they were absent from several other news sites I checked using the app.)

Weinberg writes that DuckDuckGo is more private than Google’s “Incognito” option and simpler than other search services. “Google trackers [are] now lurking behind 76% of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24% of pages, and countless others soaking up your personal information to follow you with ads around the web, or worse,” Weinberg added. “Our privacy protection will block all the hidden trackers we can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking you over time, so that you can track who’s trying to track you.”

Source: This article was published philly.com By Joseph N. DiStefano,

Friday, 08 September 2017 03:52

60 Google Search Tips and Tricks

Summary: Google offers a plain and simple interface, but hides many powerful tricks and tools under the hood. These tips and tricks will allow you to make better searches, do better research and search for useful content easily and conveniently than ever before.

In the today’s Internet world, Google is the new interface to the web and its websites. Gone are the days when scholars and researchers put in some words, and it searches the volumes of indexed data to help them in scholarly or research works. Now is the time when everyone starts the web with Google.

Google Search or Google has become a teacher, assistant, knowledge archiver, and God knows what more than a simple search engine. It collects data from all over the Internet, looks for meaningful information and stores the knowledge in its data centers to provide it later in most simple yet useful forms to the people. It also provides various tips and tricks, search options and special features to make better and effective searches; and that’s what we’re going to share in this article.

These tips and tricks for Google Search will help you search smarter and find what you’re looking for easily and conveniently than ever before. These will increase your productivity at making online researches, and you will feel the web’s information on your fingertips. The tips and tricks are grouped in sections or categories to improve accessibility and readability. Let’s dive in.

Basic Google Search Tips and Tricks for Better Search Experience

Search by Voice

Google allows you to make voice searches. If you’re browsing Google on its Chrome browser or using Google application on Android or iOS, then you can click on the Microphone button and directly speak to Google what you’re looking for, and it shows the results after receiving the input from you.

Search by Voice

Search by Image

Google can’t only search for words but also for images. You can now use a photo of your friend to search more of his/her photos. The simple trick is to click the Camera button in the search bar of Google Images, and paste an image URL or upload a picture from your system to make an image search. You can also find some more alternative reverse image search engines here.

Search by Image

Open Google.com

www.google.com/ncr can be used to open Google.com to make better global searches or try the various new or experimental features that are available only on google.com. You can also click “Use Google.com” on Google’s bottom-right corner to achieve the same result. However, it’s only present there if you tried opening google.com but got redirected to your country’s local Google page.

Make Private Searches

Google in spite of its vast features don’t seem fit for privacy enthusiasts because of the tracking concerns. An alternative – Startpage (also known as lxquick) – allows you to make Google searches without worrying about its tracking or other privacy problems. It shows searches from the Google but don’t track your IP address or your locationinfo or such.

Make Private Searches

Search Applications

You can ask Google to help find smartphone applications for you. Click More > Appsto check out the applications based on your search query. You can also install apps right to your Android device after signing in to your Google account for Play Store.

Search Applications

Customize your Search Settings

Search Settings can be opened by clicking on Settings at bottom right of Google’s homepage. You can customize your search settings as per your requirements to get more out of Google results. SafeSearch can be used to block explicit results, and you can even ask Google to speak answers to your voice searches. Moreover, you can set instant predictions, the number of results shown per page, and your language and location to get more personalized results and recommendations.

Customize your Search Settings

Beginner Google Tricks to Make Better Searches

Search by Keywords

Searching is all about keywords – the better keywords you give to the search engine, the better results you receive back. Brainstorm what you’re really looking for and type in the keywords as such. For example: “Google tips tricks” is better than “what are the tips and tricks for Google?” because it allows Google to search for the right words without including the other avoidable words.

Search by Keywords

Search a Specific Phrase

“” (double quotes) can be used to search for a specific phrase. Google lists only the results having the given phrase (between the double quotes) with same order of words as listed in the phrase. For example: ““I’m good”” (note the inner double quotes is part of the search query) will ask Google to search only for the phrase ‘I’m good’ exactly as is, and not even list results having the phrase ‘I am good’.

Search a Specific Phrase

Search by Location

City name or Postal code at the end of your search query allows you to make searches for a specific location. This overrules the default behavior of Google to provide results for the location calculated using your Internet connection’s IP address. For example: “food joints in New Delhi” or “food joints 110033” shows you food joints in New Delhi.

Search by Location

Use Search Operators to Make Powerful Queries

OR is used to give either-or words in the search query. Google lists results having any of those words. For example: “buy cheap Android OR iPhone” is short for searching two queries “buy cheap Android” OR “buy cheap iPhone” and gives results for both queries.

AND is used to list must-have words in the search query. Google lists results having all of those words. For example: “rent cheap AND decorated house” will output results that contain both ‘cheap’ and ‘decorated’ words.

* (asterisk) is used to tell to search for unknown words. Google lists results having any word or group of words at the place of asterisk in the search query. For example: “Winston * Churchill” returns results for Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, a former British Prime Minister.

– (minus) is used to prohibit words in the search query. Google lists results that don’t have those words. For example: “buy windows laptop -dell” will output results that don’t contain ‘dell’ laptops.

AROUND is used to do a proximity search and tell that the given words should be near to each other in the content. Google lists only the results which have both the words, and that both the words are near with the maximum given proximity. For example: “India AROUND(10) Modi” shows results that have the terms ‘India’ and ‘Modi’ at the distance of maximum 10 words.

Use Search Operators to Make Powerful Queries

Search between 2 Numbers

.. (two periods) lets you search between two numbers in Google. It’s helpful if you’re looking for things in a range, like product prices in your budget range, prime numbers in a range, etc. For example: “buy Sony camera 10000..50000 INR” will show the pages that sell Sony cameras in between the price range of 10000 to 50000 INR.

Search between 2 Numbers

Advance Google Tips & Tricks for Making Superior Searches

Search within a Specific Website

site: lets you search within a given website and not the whole Internet. It’s quite handy if you know the place (website) for your search and saves you from going through undesirable results. For example: “site:beebom.com android m” will list results for the search term ‘android m’, but the search will list results only from the mentioned website (beebom.com) and not from the other sites.

Search within a Specific Website

Find Specific Files

filetype: lets you search for specific files on the web rather than content or websites. It comes handy when you’re searching for presentations or PDFs or drawings or other files whose extension is known. For example: “filetype:pptx greenhouse effect” will search for presentations on the given topic of Greenhouse Effect.

Find Specific Files

Search for Terms in page’s Titles

intitle: and allintitle: allows you to search for terms in the page’s titles. Google is not restricted to search only the content but can also search the titles of the pages. Titles usually describe the purpose of the content and a search in titles offers you refined list of results whose contents are more close to what you’re looking for. For example: “intitle:india” shows only the results having ‘India’ in their titles; and “allinurl:india drought crisis” shows only the results having ‘India’, ‘drought’ and ‘crisis’ in their titles.

Search for Terms in page’s Titles

Search for Terms in page’s URLs

inurl: and allinurl: lets you search for terms in the URLs of web pages. Google searches for terms in URLs along with keywords in the content to provide you better results. The same trick you can use to filter out search results and get the most useful results quickly. For example: “inurl:google” shows only the results having ‘Google’ in their URLs; and “allinurl:google android app” shows only the results having ‘Google’, ‘Android’ and ‘App’ in their URLs.

Search for Terms in page’s URLs

Know What Links to What

link: can easily tell who links to your website or any other web page you want to know about. For example: “link:google.com” tells which web pages are linking to Google.com.

Know What Links to What

Find Similar Websites

related: tells which are similar websites to the given websites. It’s better to know similar sites if you’re doing a research on some product or website. For example: “related:beebom.com” lists some of our rival websites and blogs.

Find Similar Websites

Search the Web by specific Country, Time or Location

Search tools (below the search bar) brings you filtering options to filter the search results based on various criteria like country, time or location. This helps you make better researches, and easily search news or local content of your location or country.

Search the Web by specific Country, Time or Location

Make advance Recent Searches

Google’s Search tools allows you to set a custom time range for search results. Using this feature, you can set a minimum duration of one hour. What to do if you want to check out search results from last half an hour? Here’s another Google trick inside a trick.

This trick involves playing with the address in the browser’s location bar to set a custom time that’s not available as an option in the Search tools. After the results page is loaded, edit the address and add “&tbs=qdr:XN” in the location bar and press Enter button; where ‘X’ can be y (years), m (months), d (days), h (hours), n (minutes) or s (seconds) and ‘N’ is the number. For example, adding “&tbs=qdr:n30” to the address shows the results for last 30 minutes.

Make advance Recent Searches

Search Images by specific Size, Color, Type, Time or Copyright

Google offers you choice/filter to select what you’re really looking for if the search terms gets more than one type of information. For example, searching images for “Charles” brings you Charles Manson, the book Charles by Shirley Jackson, etc. and you can select any of the category to refine your search.

Search tools (below the search bar) brings you more refinement options like size, color, type, time and usage rights. You can filter the images for small or large sizes, grayscale or any or full colors, face or photo or clipart types, appeared at what time and is it free to use in your next big project.

Search Images by specific Size, Color, Type, Time or Copyright

Make Advanced Search

Google’s Advanced Search allows you to make the most of this search engine through a single page. It combines many of its search tricks, special features and search tools under one hood. You can search using various operators, terms, file types, usage rights, language and region, switch on safe search, and do much more using its advanced search feature. You can access the advanced search by clicking Settings > Advanced search at bottom-right of Google’s homepage or directly by navigating to “https://www.google.com/advanced_search”.

Make Advanced Search

Google Tips for English Learners and Enthusiasts

Check Spellings

Google can even check spellings for you. If you’re not sure how to spell any word, then simply type it in the Google’s search box and Google will tell its correct spelling along with other information.

Check Spellings

Get Definitions, Synonyms, Antonyms and Pronunciations

define: lets you ask definitions, get synonyms and antonyms and listen to pronunciations of words. You can click on the small Speaker icon present at right of the word to listen to its pronunciation. For example: “define:obligatory” gives you definition, synonyms and pronunciation; and “define:obligatory antonyms” lists its antonyms as well as other information.

Get Definitions, Synonyms, Antonyms and Pronunciations

Find Origins of Words

etymology: lets you find the origins of words using Google. It’s get handy if you’re learning new words or doing some kind of research on words and their origins. For example: “etymology:simple” gets you the origins of the word ‘simple’.

Find Origins of Word

Make Anagrams

anagram trigger word lets you search for anagrams. Anagrams are words that are made using rearranging the given word. Just include this trigger word in your search queries and Google will provide you with anagrams. Example: “define:anagram” tells the definition of anagram and also asks if you mean to search for ‘nag a ram’, which is the anagram for the word ‘anagram’.

Make Anagrams

Google Tips & Tricks for Working with Numbers

Convert Numbers to Words

Google can also convert numbers to words. It’s really useful when you have various large numbers that you require in words form. For example: “1064305 in English” or “1064305 = English” prints ‘one million sixty-four thousand three hundred five’ on the screen.

Convert Numbers to Words

Solve Calculations

calculator opens up a calculator on the Google page where in you can type expressions to get results. You can also type the expressions directly in the search box to get answers right away. For example: “calculator” opens up a calculator; “4*5+2-3/3”gives 21 as the result of the given expression; and “21% of 50% of 30% of 1000” gives 31.5 as the final result of the expression.

Solve Calculations

Convert Units, Time zones and Currencies

convert to lets you convert units, time zones and currencies from one to another. Currency rates are mostly up-to-date but should not be used as an alternative to market rates. For example: “convert 5:30 AM GMT to IST” or “convert 5:30 AM GMT to New Delhi” gives 11:00 AM as the result; “convert 1m to cm” or “1m in cm” gives 100 centimeter as the answer; and “convert 1$ to pound” or “convert 1 USD to GBP” or “1 USD in pound” answers 0.64 British Pound.

Convert Units, Time zones and Currencies

Calculate Tips

tip calculator opens a small tip calculator quite similar in design to Google’s calculator. It lets you calculate tips by entering bill info. “tip for” lets you ask Google directly. For example: “tip calculator” opens the tip calculator for you; and “tip for $500” answers $75 as the tip for the bill of $500.

Calculate Tips

Get Real time Info, Quickly and Conveniently

Get Local Times

time lets you see the latest real-time local time of any place in the world. For example: “time London” lets you know the current local time of London; and “time 10001” tells the time for New York.

Get Local Times

Get live Weather Information

weather lets you get the real time weather information for any place in the world. For example: “weather New York” will fetch you weather updates for the New York City.

Get live Weather Information

Get Movies Show times

Google can charge your entertainment potential by letting you quickly find movie show times for cinemas near to you. movies trigger word along with city name or postal code list the movies playing near to the given location. You can click on any movie from the list to get its show times for possible theatres. For example: “movies New Delhi” lists the now-playing movies in New Delhi; and “movies 10001” lists the movies playing in New York.

Get Movies Show times

Get Sports Info

Google can fuel your hunger for sports information – let it be current and happening or something from years back. It’s also easier to get info using Google than using any other traditional or digital methods. For example, “icc world cup 2015” lists the info about ICC Cricket World Cup 2015; and “fifa world cup 2014 winner” tells the champion of FIFA World Cup 2014.

Get Sports Info

Get Directions and Ask for Navigation

Google can also guide you for making travels. Just search for a query beginning with “direction” or “navigate” along with start and end locations, and it will show a mini-map with the directions. For example: “direction from chandni chowk to anand vihar New Delhi” shows the directions along with commute options in a small embedded map on the results page; and “navigate from anand vihar terminal to New Delhi railway station” gives the navigational steps and directions.

Get Directions and Ask for Navigation

Get Sunrise and Sunset times

sunrise & sunset gets you the sunrise and sunset times for today. You can easily know when the sun is coming up and going down on this day. For example: “sunrise & sunset New Delhi” gets you sunrise and sunset times for New Delhi; “sunrise New Delhi” lets you view only the sunrise time for New Delhi; and “sunset New Delhi” lets you view merely the sunset time for New Delhi.

Get Sunrise and Sunset times

Get Stock Quotes

stock lets you view the latest real-time stock prices. You can also simply write the stock name to get its price, for example, “GOOG” to get Google’s stock price. The stock prices are mostly up-to-date but shouldn’t be used as an alternative to the market rates. For example: “stock GOOG” or “GOOG” provides the current market rate for Google’s stock.

Get Stock Quotes

Track Courier packages

Google can help you track your packages by typing the tracking number directly in the search box. It is currently supported only for UPS, FedEx and USPS packages; and shows you the status of your shipment using a rich-text snippet. For example: search query containing tracking number “1Z9999W9999999999” will fetch you the status of your package.

Get Flight status and Search Flights easily

flight lets you get the latest real time flight status about any flights given by flight code or number. flight to can be used to get list of flights from one place to another along with their prices. For example: “flight BA1491” gives the real time flight status about British Airways Flight 1491; and “flight New York to Paris” lets you view the flights for travel from New York to Paris.

Get Flight status and Search Flights easily

Google Tips & Tricks to get Information, Efficiently

Know your IP Address

ip address typed in the search bar shows your current IP address as acquired by Google. For example: “ip address” lists as my computer’s IP address.

Know your IP Address

Get Movies Info

Google can present the data in various digestible ways, and its best method is its Knowledge Graph that can tell information about many things including movies. For example: “titanic casts” shows the casts info of Titanic; “titanic budget” shows its budget information; “titanic characters” shows its characters and their actual names; and “titanic director” gets you name of its director, etc.

Get Movies Info

Get Tourist Spots

Google can list the tourist attractions for any place in the world if you start your search starting with the trigger word “attractions“, and then provide name of the city or the postal code of the location. For example: “attractions New Delhi” or “attractions in New Delhi” list the places of attraction in New Delhi; and “attractions 10001” lists the tourist places in New York.

Get Tourist Spots

Find Songs by Singer or Movie

Google can help you find songs by your favorite singer or movie very easily and conveniently. It lists all the songs in a list and you can click any song to get its YouTube links and additional information. For example: “songs by Britney” brings you all the songs sung by Britney Spears; and “avatar songs” lists all the songs from the Avatar movie.

Find Songs by Singer or Movie

Get Info about Celebrities and Personalities

Google can list various public information about numerous celebrities and personalities. You’re just a search away from learning something new about your favorite celebrity. For example, “Mahatma Gandhi height” lists the height of our Father of the Nation; “bacon number Amitabh Bachchan” shows the bacon number for Amitabh Bachchan; and “Emma Watson age” tells the age of the pretty actor of Harry Potter movie series.

Get Info about Celebrities and Personalities

Get Nutritional Information

Google is smart enough to show nutritional info for food related searches such as mango, chocolate candy, etc. The given info includes calories, vitamins, fats, etc. For example: search queries “banana” or “chocolate cake” produces its nutritional information.

Get Nutritional Information

Make Food Comparisons

Google can even compare foods for you. If you’re not sure which food will get you better nutrients or which will not increase your body fat, then you can ask Google and it will answer much like any dietician. For example: “mango vs. banana” tells Google to compare and present the nutritional info of the given two fruits – Mango and Banana.

Make Food Comparisons

Get dates of Holidays

Google is more than clever at answering your questions and getting the most in-context answers for you. You can ask Google about holiday’s dates, and it will tell the date when you can plan the next party with your friends. For example: “friendship day date” or “when is friendship day” gets you the dates of Friendship day as per your location or country.

Get dates of Holidays

Get Recent Earthquakes

earthquake shows you information about recent earthquakes that happened in the world. This is the result of Google attempt to not only collect information but also present or avail in most usable ways for the entire humanity. For example: “earthquake” gives you info about recent earthquakes.

Know what Others are Searching for

Google Trends shows you what others are searching for in any country of the world. It’s a superb tool for journalists and bloggers to get new ideas as well as look for the search trends. You can also filter the trends by choosing a category or click a trend to see more information about it such as relevant articles, interest over time, interest by region, trending queries, etc.

Know what Others are Searching for

Search Newspaper Archives of more than 100 years

Google offers you the access to the digitized news content of over last several years. It scanned and digitized the old printed newspapers in an attempt to bring the content from old newspapers easily accessible to the Internet users. For example: “site:google.com/newspapers berlin wall” will search for an article from scanned newspapers on the topic ‘berlin wall’.

Search Newspaper Archives of more than 100 years

Google Special Tips & Tricks to Solve Problems

Set Timer

timer command lets you set a timer using Google. It’s simple enough for anyone and useful enough for various situations, such as when you want to take a mock exam, write an essay in predefined time, or divide your time for various tasks, etc. For example: “timer” or “set timer” brings an online timer, wherein you can set time and start it off.

Set Timer

Browse Offline Websites

cache: can be used to browse websites that aren’t online for a while due to server problems. Google keep cached copies of the web pages browsed by its crawler, and that’s why you can browse them even if their server is down as the cached pages are loaded from Google. For example: “cache:beebom.com” lets you browse Beebom.com even if it’s offline.

Browse Offline Websites

Translate from One Language to Another

translate trigger command can easily translate text for you using Google Translate. Though you can use it yourself, but asking Google to do the translations is swifter and proves handy when you’re in a hurry. For example: “translate welcome English Hindi” or “translate welcome English to Hindi” translates the word ‘Welcome’ to ‘स्वागत’.

Translate from One Language to Another

Browse Blocked Websites

cache: can be used to browse websites that are blocked by your college, corporation or government. The trick being Google’s domains are never blocked, and cache: fetches the cached copies of the web pages from the Google servers rather than the original site’s servers. For example: “cache:aksingh.net” lets you browse AKSingh.net even if it’s blocked for you.

Browse Blocked Websites

Bypass Firewall using Google Proxy

Google services are designed to help you in your everyday life, but they can be exploited to do many more things than they were actually built for. For example, you can unblock websites and bypass firewall restrictions using the never developed Google Proxy. Actually, Google don’t provide any such service but a trick can be used to make Google Translate and Google Mobilizer do this job. For example: “http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://beebom.com/” opens up Beebom.com even if it’s blocked; and “http://www.google.ie/gwt/x?u=http://www.aksingh.net” allows you to view AKSingh.net even if it comes under your firewall’s block rule.

Bypass Firewall using Google Proxy

Read Pay-walled or Paid Articles for Free

cache: allows you to read cached web pages from Google’s cache archive. You can simply read the pay-walled or paid articles from the Google’s cache in place of original website and thus, read it for free. Moreover, you can also try to copy the article’s URL and paste in the search bar, and open that same article from the search results– many times this trick works to bypass pay-walls.

Google Tips & Tricks that Requires Signing in with Google Account

Personalize your Search Settings

Google can get you personalized results tailored to your likes and personality based on your past searches. It offers you more relevant search results and recommendations based on the search activity stored in your Google account. Just login to your account and Google handles everything else to offer you the best personalized search experience. Your search settings are also stored in your account to use on any browser at any computer when you login to your account for making searches.

Search your Contacts

Google can even dive into your contacts and get the info about one of your contact. You can search your contacts’ information such as phone number or email, and even call them right from Google Search. This feature only works on mobile devices and it’s very easy to follow. For example: “what’s dhruv gupta’s number” show the phone number for your contact; “what’s sierra’s email id” tells the email id of your contact and simply typing “call sierra” will trigger a call to your contact.

Search your Contacts

Search your Photos

Google can search your photos collection and provide the right photo you’re looking for. You can easily find the photos from your college party or Christmas holidays using this feature. Just start the search using “show my photos from” or “my photos from” and it list the searched photos. For example: “my photos from 6 July 2014” lists the photos taken on 6 July 2014 from your photos collection.

Search your Photos

Check Calendar Events and Meetings

Google can look into your calendar and find the upcoming events and meetings for you. Just ask a query starting with “what is my plan for” or “my plan for” and it will list the events and meetings for the mentioned date and time. For example: “my plan for today” lists the events and meetings set for today’s date in my calendar.

Check Calendar Events and Meetings

Set Reminders

You can ask Google to set a reminder for you right on your desktop and it will direct Google Now to remind you for the said task at the mentioned date and time. It only works if you’re a Google Now user. For example: “set reminder for meeting in Delhi at 4pm tomorrow” will set a reminder for given settings, and you will get a reminder notification in your Android or iOS device.

Set Reminders

If you come across any new Google search trick, feel free to let us know in comments section.

Source: This article was published beebom.com

Facebook is by far and away the largest social network on the Internet, bringing together friends, family, and colleagues to discuss in text, images, and video form whatever they feel like every day. But Facebook is apparently changing, and within 5 years the entire social network will consist of video content.

That’s not the prediction of this writer or some social network researcher, it’s the view of Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. She also believes that Facebook “will be definitely mobile,” which we can only assume means accessed almost exclusively on mobile devices.


Mendelsohn’s claim that most people will be using mobile devices to access Facebook in the near future is the much more believable prediction of the two. Facebook being 100% videos by 2021? I don’t think so.

Video is still a relatively new addition to Facebook, but most certainly a feature that is growing in popularity. Zuckerberg thinks it is important, meaning it’s going to get a lot of attention and resources put behind it. So it will grow rapidly, but I can’t see it replacing images and text. In fact, I doubt Facebook’s management would want that to happen seeing as it owns image sharing service Instagram (although it can also handle video).


Not everything works as a video, and not everyone is comfortable making videos. Sometimes you just want to write, or have a text chat, or post an image of a cat. Video takes longer to create unless we’re talking Vine-length captures, and is much easier to create poorly ultimately meaning it doesn’t get posted.

Mendelsohn says the amount of text appearing on Facebook is declining every year while video grows and virtual reality is coming. On those points I’m sure she’s correct, but by 2021 I expect plenty of the billion+ people using Facebook to still be tapping out sentences of text and sharing them with their little community of followers.

Source: This article was published geek.com By MATTHEW HUMPHRIES

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