The development of the Internet has enabled almost anyone access to virtually every piece of information known to human civilization. A few key strokes and mouse clicks can uncover practically any compilation of information you desire – and have it delivered directly to your desktop computer or laptop.

Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN are constantly updating search algorithms to provide relevant search results to billions of Internet users across the globe. But as good as these search engines have become, a vast number of Internet users still find searching the Internet to be a slightly frustrating and daunting task.

Having the extent of human knowledge at your fingertips does not always result in finding what you want. For example, a Google search for the term „telecommunications“ brings up a whopping 109,000,000 results!

No one has the time or patience to sift through that much information. Fortunately, there are simple search tricks that you can use right now to quickly and easily find telecommunications (or any other) information.

How to Search Using Quotes, Parentheses, Positives and Negatives

Google, MSN and Yahoo have allowed for „shortcuts“ within their search engine structure to help users narrow down the search results they provide. Making internet search a more friendly experience requires users to know just a few.

The most basic of these shortcuts are the use of quotations, positives and negatives. Used in conjunction with search phrases, these commands help zero in on relevant search results very quickly.

For example, say you want to search the Internet using the term: voip phone system. Entering those words into Google returns over 45,000,000 results. Placing quotations marks around these same words tells Google to search by „phrase“, not just the individual words themselves. Searching by phrase narrows this search to just over 1 million results.

Adding positives (+) and/or negatives (-) to a search term will help focus search results even more. For example, if you would like to find a VoIP phone system from Cisco and not Packet 8, you would type: „voip phone system“ +cisco -packet 8

The minus (-) sign eliminates any search results that refer to Packet 8, and include all search results that contain Cisco.

If finding VoIP phone systems from EITHER Cisco OR Packet 8 is desired, it is best to use the either/or command (parentheses) in your search. Keep in mind that all of these commands are completely interchangeable and can be used in conjunction with each other depending on how specific you would like search results to be returned. A search for a VoIP phone system by either Cisco or Packet8, but NOT eBay listings would require entering this into Google: „voip phone system“ (cisco,packet 8) -ebay

These simple tricks will save you hours of time and considerable frustration when searching for exactly what you want. The following are more ways to find specific file types and information from only ONE website – without even having to go that website to search.

How to Search for Specific File Types of Information

For the most part, Google returns search results in the form of web pages (html) or „sites“ where the information resides. Although they are getting better at including file types other than html pages into their search results (e.g. PDF, mpg, mp3, .doc, .xls), they are still years away from being intuitive enough to know exactly the type of files you are searching for when you enter a search phrase. The best way to help Google return what you want is to tell it what file type you desire.

For example, there are literally thousands of white papers written on almost every telecom topic imaginable. Vendors shell out big bucks to develop informative and comprehensive white papers on a variety of telecom topics, primarily for marketing purposes. The majority of these documents are not thinly disguised sales pitches however. More often than not they are chalked full of highly informative content. White papers come in very handy when researching and/or learning about a specific telecom topic.

To find these available telecom white papers with ease, simply enter filetype:pdf after your search phrase. If you are searching for a white paper on the topic of „voip phone systems“ your search phrase in Google would require this: „voip phone systems“ filetype:PDF

Google returns 358 results as of this writing.

Not specific enough?

Try entering allintitle: before the search term. This will tell Google to only return PDF files that contain „voip phone systems“ in the TITLE of the document. This search brings up only six results.

Use this trick to find other file types such as Word files (doc), mp3s (mp3) and even Excel files (xls). A search for VoIP phone systems in Word document format would require: „voip phone systems“ filetype: doc An Excel spreadsheet file would require: „voip phone systems“ filetype:xls

How to Search Only One Website

Many websites contain search features that allow visitors to search for topics within that website alone. But what if you want to search for a topic on one specific site and the site contains no search capabilities on it?

Use the site: command directly into Google search fields.

For example, say you want to quickly search mobiletracker.net (a popular and massive cell phone blog) for anything to do with Nextel in the title of the blog post – but you do not want anything to be returned with word „Motorola“ in the title. This Google search would require entering the following search string:

allintitle:Nextel site:mobiletracker.net -Motorola for a total of 93 search results.

Let Google Come To You Using Google „Alerts“

It is now possible to let Google search come to you via email when information is added to the Internet that contains a topic or phrase that interests you. Introducing: Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a free service that allows you to inform Google of a topic or phrase that you desire to be continuously kept up to date. Google will then send you an e-mail when anything is added to the Internet that contains that topic or search phrase.

You will need a Google account (free) to set up these alerts, but once you do, information on your topic will be sent to you at the time intervals you desire – daily, „as it happens“, or weekly. You can also specify where you want this information to come from: the web, news, blogs, video, Google groups or a comprehensive search of any and all of them.

When setting up your Google alerts, be very specific using the methods covered in this newsletter. Use the commands allintitle, quotations, positives and negatives wherever possible. By doing so, you will not only cut down on the amount of emails you receive, but they will be tightly focused and on topic as well.

The Internet contains a vast array of telecommunications information just waiting to be found and used for your benefit. Spend just a few minutes a day honing your Internet search skills and the payoff will be well worth it.