QUICK INFORMATION OPERATORS

As a bit of a respite from the nitty-gritty searching, I’d like to go through a group of operators I call “quick information shots.” These are fun, useful and usually single subject search operators.

One that stands out for me as an ex-international marketing type, is Flight information. That is available through working only in the search entry box. Just type in the three letter codes for the USA airports and Google returns the flight info.

Example: type jfk to msp and you will receive “About 436,000 results (0.74 seconds) ” back from Google with multitudes of pages of information on flights from New York City Kennedy Airport (jfk) to (msp) Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport including up to the minute flight status reports.

You can use your search skills to find the list of USA Airport codes. They are available at several sites such as http://www.usaircode.com/ or http://www.leonardsguide.com/us-airport-codes.shtml or http://www.expedia.com/daily/airports/AirportCodes.asp Many more are available that include the international airports. So far the Google search box only works for USA airport codes.

The following group of operators are very useful for the quick everyday information needs.

weather:city

Brings a weather forecast for the city entered after the : in this very useful operator. I typed in St. Paul, MN as my query and got the current forecast along with the huge return of “About 7,810,000 results (0.62 seconds).” Here in Minnesota it’s the best instant conversation starter too.

music:mozart

Let’s use one of my favorite composers and see what happens. Google returned “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Compositions” across the top of the page in a slider and a pile of pages. OK, we now have more information, listening, youtube videos, paintings, biographies and probably enough stuff for a good start on a Masters’ thesis. A cool entre’ for me on using the music: operator. Definitely a fun one to try again.

movie:star wars

Well, that brought back more info than I thought possible about my favorite movie series. Yes, I have seen them all and I have most of the DVDs. That’s something I share with Sheldon and Leonard. Moving down the page, there are sites with schedules as well as the commentary on the movies. Another example of the wide net that Google throws in a search.

define:blog

This is the Google substitute for Webster’s and all the other dictionaries. I typed in Blog as the query term and clicked enter.

The results were quick and complete. Along with millions of pages with “blog” in them. Definitely more information than is usually needed for a quick answer.

About 7,170,000,000 results (0.75 seconds) 

Search Results

blog

bläɡ/

noun

noun: blog; plural noun: blogs

  1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

verb: blog; 3rd person present: blogs; past tense: blogged; past participle: blogged; gerund or present participle: blogging

  1. add new material to or regularly update a blog. “it’s about a week since I last blogged”

OK, that one really works as advertised.

info:example.com

When I used the URL of my previous failed attempt at a blog with the info: operator I got back quite a return. I almost wish that it would go away and become part of the lost web, but ….. Anyway, the example shows what is available for most sites, even the inactive ones. Amazing.

1 result (0.10 seconds)

Search Results

Lowertown St. Paul, MN

lowertownstpaulmn.com/

May 29, 2014 – A Walk in the park, Mears Park, that is. A warm summers evening in Mears Park in Lowertown, St. Paul is always a study in urban diversity.


Google can show you the following information for this URL:

Obviously I am still using the same URL, but the direction of the blog has changed a great deal.

The last of the quickies is:

Stocks:query

The query consists of entering the stock exchange symbol after the :. I entered one of our local companies and got back the following.

stocks:mmm

About 438,000 results (0.46 seconds)

Search Results

3M Co

NYSE: MMM – Jul 12, 5:45 PM EDT

179.16USD1.20 (0.67%)

After-hours: 179.160.00 (0.00%)

Open 178.75
High 179.63
Low 178.03
Mkt cap 109.21B
P/E ratio 23.01
Div yield 2.48%

Disclaimer
Google FinanceYahoo FinanceMSN Money

Obviously the graphics did not survive the “Copy and Paste”, but you get a flavor of a very small part of the info available from the stocks: operator. Try it yourself.

Conclusions:

Well, that was a little break from the serious business of web searching. All work and no play as the saying goes, we really require a bit of recreation now and then.

Next:

We still have not tapped anything but the surface web or also called the visible web. There are millions of sites with multi-millions of pages that reside in the invisible or Deep Web.

It’s called that because the common search engines cannot crawl nor index the site information. Its not because of its reputed illegal activities, but because the search engines have no way to get beyond the “log-ins” or “password required” or the dynamic pages of the databases or the No Way in the robot.txt file. There are ways to get at a lot of the other 99% of the web to retrieve the information and we will look at several of the ways in subsequent blog posts.

You are right, there is a section of the web (The Dark Web) that has a lot of activity that is either illegal or just plain bad. I will not go there. There are a lot of other resources for searching the Dark Web and its “Tor” browser / Onion network. And also some very good reasons for using it. Please heed the warnings.

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