Using Google: Tips for Seniors

Learn how to search the internet and find information online, just like the grandkids. Older adults need to be able to find information online, too. A person who knows a few Google tips and tricks will find almost anything more easily.
Here are the most common Google techniques:
Using the Minus Sign
Example: An online senior wants to find the best place to surf in California. To find the answer, he or she would go to and type:
best place California surfing
If, however, the senior surfer didn’t want to go to Huntington Beach, he or she would type a shorthand form of “minus Huntington” beach. Then, the Google answers would be about surfing in San Diego and Santa Cruz, etc. The way to type this into a Google search is: best place California surfing -Huntington
This means “minus Huntington” to the computer. The minus sign must have a space before it. There must be NO space between the minus sign and the word Huntington. Now the results would include only articles without the word “Huntington”.
Using Quotation Marks
Example: An online senior is looking for a friend named Adam W. Smith from somewhere in Pennsylvania. A first try might be to type this into Adam W. Smith Pennsylvania
However, the results from this search are no good. Many of the websites that show up are about people with the wrong names. The senior could add quotes to the search words, so that the words in the box on would be changed to: “Adam W. Smith” Pennsylvania
The phrase in quotes is now treated like one word. Using quotation marks weeds out a lot of wrong answers, because the webpages which appear in the search will be webpages in which Adam W. Smith is written exactly like it is in the parentheses. Quotes can be used for any group of words, like “movies in San Jose” or “Melbourne sightseeing”.
How to Search Webpages to find Current Information
Example: To find recent information about the fires in Melbourne, one could type this into Fires in Melbourne
Then, click the “Google Search” button. Stay on the page that comes up next and find the “Search” button at the top of the page. Just to the right of the “Search” button, there are some tiny blue words. Click on the top tiny blue words which say “Advanced Search”.
A summary:
Click “Advanced Search” On the next page, look for the blue words “+ Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more”. This phrase is at the bottom of the page on the left. Ignore everything else. Click on the words “+Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more”. A new box will say “anytime”. Click “anytime” to change it to the “past 24 hours” (or whatever time period sounds right). Finish up by clicking the “advanced search” button on the bottom of the page.
A Summary:
Change the date by changing “anytime” to the “past 24 hours” Click “advanced search”
Searching within a Particular Website
Example: A senior woman wants to buy the book; Travel Therapy, and she knows that is a good place to buy books. The woman could go to Amazon’s website and search in Amazon herself, or she could let Google do the search for her (from the main Google website). This is the formula to use, “” and then type what one is looking for. So, this is what the woman would type into the main page of Travel Therapy
Notice that there is a colon after “site” and no space
Google tips and tricks will help anyone find things in half the time. To find information online, just remember these tips for how to search: The minus sign, the quotation marks, and the site format, and that will be a big help for seniors.