Editor's note: I believe Bing.com has caught up with Google on all of these features, if you prefer Microsoft over Google…
There are two pages every one of you might consider bookmarking:
- Google Advanced Search: https://google.com/advanced_search;
- Google Image Search: https://images.google.com
First, an important note: I'm 100% aware that there are other, safer search sites that don't store personal information. But the fact remains that Google Advanced Search and Google Image Search are among the most useful research tools out there.
If you want to use these anonymously, then use Tor as your browser. It looks and works just like Firefox, but hides (and deliberately misrepresents) your IP address. That's the 'internet fingerprint' that can sometimes lead straight to your computer, and very often reveals your general location. It also is used routinely to match and correlate searches and web activity of every kind.
To download the Tor browser, go here: torbrowser
Okay, to Google Advanced Search.
The Advanced Search page allows you to refine your search in many detailed ways:
After a little familiarity, you can see there are simple shortcuts:
To search for Project Avalon, then enter your search phrase in inverted commas [Note: “In British English, quotation marks are called inverted commas, and the single ones are used more frequently than the double for direct speech.” as per lexico.com]– like this: “Project Avalon”
You can enter a multi-word phrase, as well, like this: “Bill Ryan, founder of Project Avalon”
To search within a specified site, use this format: site:example.com (leaving out the 'https://' and the 'www'). So to search for Bill Ryan within Coast to Coast AM, use: site:coasttocoastam.com “Bill Ryan”
To search for a term within a URL (web link), like Stanley Kubrick, then use: allinurl: “Stanley Kubrick”
That also works for the TITLE of a web page, like: allintitle: “Stanley Kubrick”
I often use searching for blocks of text (like this: “Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo Moon landings”) to find (e.g.) real sources of articles that have been copied and pasted multiple times.
Note also that on many browsers, your search function will also allow you to look for results published in particular periods of time (like today, last week, last month, last year, or any specified period you like).
That's many times enabled me to find the very first month/year a particular piece of text was published — very useful (e.g.) for locating the source of hoaxes which then get believed and reposted frequently thereafter.
Searching for images is also EXTREMELY useful. That enables you to:
To do this, you can simply paste the known URL (web link) of an image into your Google search bar. As best I know, any browser supports that. I use a Mac, and find Firefox is more useful that Safari for this, but both will get the job done.
On Firefox, my preference (please note: I don't use Chrome, and know nothing about it), if you paste an image URL — something that ends with .jpg, .gif, .png, .tiff, or .bmp — into the search bar, Firefox will tell you that it can't find the URL, and asks if you want to search by image. So you click on that link which is offered… and you then get all the web pages containing that image.
If you have an unknown or unsourced image on your desktop, and want to find out where THAT came from, then use Google Image Search and simply upload the image. You do that by dragging and dropping your image to a particular part of the page. (Just start doing that, and the 'drag-image-here' area will show itself.)
You then get all the pages where that image is featured on the web. I've found that fairly few people seem to know about this, and it's fantastically useful for identifying things.