What Is Google Search & How Do You Use It?

Google 101: How to search and get results you want

Google Search open on a Samsung tablet
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Google Search, the search engine from Google, has held its ranking as the top search engine on the web for quite some time. It's consistently the number one most viewed website in the world and is often chosen as the default search engine in web browsers. It hardly needs an introduction.

People all over the globe use Google Search every day to run billions and billions of web searches to find answers to questions, research information, and find websites. It has a great reputation for relevant and thorough search results. 

Let's take a look at the world's most popular website, including how to use Google Search, everything you can do with it, and all the different ways you can get better search results.

How Does Google Search Work?

Search web page illustration

At its most basic form, from the perspective of its users, Google Search is just a text box that spits out results. It scours the web for whatever you enter into the search bar and then displays the results on the page moments later.

Google is a crawler-based engine, meaning that it has software programs designed to "crawl" the web to locate publicly accessible content. It pulls all of this information together to form an index that you can quickly search through.

For example, when you enter lifewire into Google, you're requesting from the index all the pages that include that word.

An important note to make here is that Google isn't actually storing this information. The pages you find on Google aren't actually on Google.com; they're on their own servers, and Google was just used to locate them.

Google doesn't index the entirety of the web. Lots of content is available only behind a password or paywall, and some websites explicitly block Google from crawling their pages. These non-indexed pages are considered to be part of the invisible/deep web and the dark web.

How to Use Google Search

Using Google for basic searches is pretty straightforward: open Google.com and enter something into the search box.

Google Search suggestions on home page

If you pause briefly before entering the search, you'll see suggestions that you can select to auto-type that query.

Google search is available on desktops but is also a mobile-optimized search engine for browsers on phones and tablets. It works from a dedicated mobile app, too, called Google (you can get it for iOS and it's available on Android).

There are also lots of advanced search options you can perform on Google to get better search results. You can access some of these options from the Tools menu above the results, such as color and size options when searching for images on Google.

Google Images search for breakfast

More advanced options are available, too, to really take your Google searching to the next level. We keep a list of the advanced Google Search commands here, but let's look at a few examples:

Other Things Google Can Do

Google Search isn't just for finding web pages. You can also search for images and find news reports, products to buy, videos, flights, financial information, books, and more.

Google video search for music that's for studying

After running a search from Google's home page, you can select any of those other areas to run the same search there.

Some features built-in to Google are interactive, but they're not immediately noticeable as something you can do. Translations are one example, where you have to type translate x to y to see the results. There's also package tracking, unit conversions, weather forecasts, and more, including fun Easter eggs.

Things to Remember When Using Google

It's well known that Google tracks what you do online, but it shouldn't be as concerning if your personal information isn't tied to your Google searches. One quick way to prevent Google from logging what you look up online is to use Google Search from your browser's private/incognito mode.

Google doesn't care about capitalized words and will even suggest correct spellings of your search terms. It also excludes common words such as where and how, and since the search engine takes into account the words you searched for, there's no need to include and or in in your searches.