Advanced Google Searching

Have you ever wanted to find a particular file on the Internet? You might be looking for a specific music file, pdf, or photo. Normal Google searches show you web pages. This tip will allow you to search for directories with specific files.

The type of search we are going to perform is one using the "intitle:" query. And for our example, we are going to search for the song "Happy Birthday."

Our search query will look like this:

intitle:"index.of" (mp3|aac|mp4)happy.birthday -html -htm -php

Of course, each space or lack of space is VERY important, so let's take it apart.
Have you ever wanted to find a particular file on the Internet? You might be looking for a specific music file, pdf, or photo. Normal Google searches show you web pages. This tip will allow you to search for directories with specific files.

The type of search we are going to perform is one using the "intitle:" query. And for our example, we are going to search for the song "Happy Birthday."

Our search query will look like this:

intitle:"index.of" (mp3|aac|mp4)happy.birthday -html -htm -php

Of course, each space or lack of space is VERY important, so let's take it apart.

The term intitle:"index.of restricts the search to documents containing "index of" in only the title of the page. Since we are looking for directories or lists of files, we cannot know exactly how they might be listed. Index of could also be written as Index_of or Index-of. The use of the period causes Google to allow a space or punctuation mark between the words. It is particularly important to note that there cannot be a space between the "intitle:" and the following word. The quotation marks are used to tell Google to search for the phrase "index of."

The next part of our seach query, (mp3|aac|mp4) tells Google what kind of files we are looking for. The use of the pipe (|) is a key you may not be use regularly. It is located above the Return key on your keyboard:




To look for specific file types, they need to be placed in parentheses. If you are looking for more than one file type, then the need to be separated by pipes. Another example would be a search for images or photos. Using (jpg|jpeg|png) would return files that end in .jpg, .jpeg, or .png, Note that while there is a space before the opening parentheses, there should NOT be a space following the closing parentheses.

Now, on to the next part of the query:

happy.birthday

We are looking for the song Happy Birthday. We want both of those words to be present, but since we are searching a file directory, they could be separated by a space, a dash, and underscore, or perhaps even a dot. Linking them as happy.birthday once again tells Google to allow for many variations of the phrase happy birthday. It is also important to note that Google ignores case, so Happy Birthday, happy birthday, and even HaPpY BiRtHdAy are searched. Note that there is a space after the last word to be searched upon.

The last part of the query is:

-html -htm -php

The web is made up of many document types. We are not looking for web pages containing the phrase happy birthday, so we can use the minus sign to exclude these files. The most common page endings on the web are .htm, .html, and .php.
So once again, our search query is:


intitle:"index.of" (mp3|aac|mp4)happy.birthday -html -htm -php

Copy and paste it into a Google search box or into the search area of Safari and check out your results!

To learn more about advanced queries or searches of Google, check out this link. To learn more about basic search queries, check out this link. Google also has a great Search Cheat Sheet that can be printed out to help you make better queries.

This blog entry was inspired by a segment in the DL.TV video podcast episode 182.

Do you need help with searching or just about any other Macintosh topic? In addition to troubleshooting, we do one-on-one training use our special software. Give us a call or send us an email at Bob LeVitus Consulting and we'll get right back to you!

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