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by JB Burke

Q. I frequently do Google searches, and I am not always pleased with the results. I know the answers are out there. How can I get more appropriate results?

A. I sometimes find that my initial Google results are several years old. That's fine if I'm searching for something to do with history or archeology or such. But if it's a technology search, I might want the latest results only. There is a way to fix that.

First enter your search query into the Google search box and hit enter. On the results screen you should see a gear-like icon in the upper right. Click on that and you will be presented with a drop down list that includes: Search Settings; Languages; Turn on SafeSearch; Advanced search; Web History; and Search help. Click on Advanced Search and you will be presented with a new screen of search options.

On this screen you can further limit your search in many ways. First, you can click the drop down arrow next to "last update" and choose something more appropriate than "anytime", such as "past 24 hours", "past month", etc. This will give you a better chance of getting recent results. Also, under "Find pages with …", you can specify that you want to only find documents with an exact word or phrase or even with none of certain words included. This can assure that you get more appropriate results. When you are satisfied with your choices, go to the bottom of the screen and click on "Advanced Search", and view your new, more precise results.

Another interesting item on the drop down list from the gear icon is "Web history". Click that and sign in with your Google ID, and you'll see a detailed history of your Google searches. This could be handy if you wanted to revisit a past search, and you forgot exactly how you got there originally. I used that recently after I searched for a list I wanted to print, and then got interrupted before I printed it. It was easy to go back and relocate the site.

Published: Courier 1/19/14 - Page 3C