We tend to focus a lot on Google on Slaw, and for good reason – it’s still the main search engine that people use to find information, including information relating to law and lawyers.
The Advanced Search function is indispensable in refining searches, especially if you’re looking for things like results from a specific date range, a different language, results on a particular website, and a certain file type. In late 2011 Google removed Advanced Search from the main search page, though it was still available through the gears tab or by direct link.
Jim Calloway lamented the move on his site,
….if this is all news to you, then I might respectfully suggest you are not finding the information you are looking for as fast or accurately as you might be. In a discussion about this topic in the Google Web search forum, one poster said, “[l]imiting [searches] by file type, domain name, etc is absolutely essential for students to know.” Lawyers, too! As I noted in that 2008 blog post, using the “site:” search filter is great to search a single domain.
The advanced search feature I use most often is the date filter. If I am searching for information about a product, I generally start by limiting the search to pages posted or updated within the last year.
If you are searching on a fairly obscure topic and find one good resource, then using the advanced search to find other pages that are similar to that page or link to that page can lead to other great resources.
This year it seems that Google has responded to the push-back by maintaining Advanced Search and releasing a Really Advanced Search, with over a dozen different option fields that include searching for slang, grammatical faux pas, and even font. Other features include: