Google That $**: Narrowing down your searches (Part 3) Advanced Boolean

Welcome back for another edition of upping your Google game! This week we’re going to look at a few more of those oh so handy Boolean operators. However this time they are a bit more advanced. If you haven’t read the previous blog on the subject you may want to check it out here. So without further delay lets dive in!

  1. And/Not: Now you may be thinking we already covered and but this is a more advanced version of it. This version will allow you to search for phrases but it will actively ignore another phrase. You could search for star wars movies prequels and be show results containing those films which shall not be mentioned. You could instead search Star Wars Movies and not “prequels”  and you would then ignore any results which mention the phrase prequels.
  2. Near: The near operator can be a bit tricky to predict. Typically it allows you to search for two phrases and only get results if those two phrases are within 16 words of each other. So for example you could search “star wars” near “star trek” and get results for pages where the the phrase star wars is 16 words away from star trek.
  3. Parenthesis: Parenthesis are useful for what is called nesting your results. They work very similar to parenthesis in math. The terms in the parenthesis will be the highest priority then it will use the other operators you include to get you results. This is where we put everything together! For example you could search “star wars” near “star trek” and (“original trilogy” or “prequel trilogy”). This search will prioritize original trilogy or prequel trilogy first then it will find results where star wars is 16 words away from star trek and display your results based on all of that.

Now you’ve gone over the basic and advanced Boolean operators. With your new knowledge you should be able to more easily access the resources you want when using a search engine line Google. Remember with practice comes expertise so go try some of these operators in your daily searches to see how it affects the results.


Image of a karate student proclaiming he has mastered Google-Fu

This could be you! (source)

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Charles Potter

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