Saturday, July 17, 2004

Undocumented Google Search Primer

I have collected certain special ways to search in google that shall
increase your productivity with the search engine many-folds. I am sure
some of the power users shall know these but I thought the compilation
shall help the normal "verbatim-searchers" a bit. Let me know in the
comments whether you could use these tips to be more productive.

Here are the hidden Google Search Options

Specific file types:
*.doc, *.pdf *.ps *.ppt *.rtf . Google allows you to search for
specific file types, so instead of getting html-files as a result
(websites) you get Microsoft excel files for example. The search string
you would use would be this: Filetype:xls (for excel files) or
filetype:doc for word files.

But maybe more interesting would be
searching for *.db files and *.mdb files. Google by the way doesn’t
tell you you can search for *.db and *mdb files. I wonder what other
file types one can search for. Things that come to mind are *.cfg files
or *.pwd files, *.dat files, stuff like that. Try and think of
something that might get you some interesting results.

useful search option is the inurl: option which allows one to search
for a certain word one would want to be in the url. This gives you the
opportunity to search for specific directories/folders, especially in
combination with the “index of” option, about which I will talk later
on. An example would be inurl:admin which would give you results of
website urls that have the word “admin” in the url.

Index of
index of option is another option that isn’t especially thought of by
the creators of google, but comes in very handy. If you use the “index
of” string you will find directory listings of specific folders on
servers. An example could be: ‘index of” admin or index.of.admin which
would get you many directory listings of admin folders. (don’t forget
to use the quotes in this case since you are looking for the entire
“index of” string, not just for “index” and “of”)

The site option allows you to come up with results that only belong to a certain domain name
or to a specific site. For example one could search for .com sites or sites or .nl sites. An example of a search string would be: ranbir

Intitle is another nice option.
It allows you to search for html files that have a certain word or
words in the title. The format would be intitle:wordhere. You could
check out what words appear in the title of some online control panel
or content management system and then search google for this word with
the intitle option, to find these control panel pages.

Link option allows you to check which sites link to a specific site. As
described in Hacking Exposed Third Edition, this could be useful: These
search engines provide a handy facility that allows you to search for
all sites that have links back to the target organization’s domain.
This may not seem significant at first but let’s explore the
implications. Suppose someone in an organization decides to put up a
rogue website at home or on the target network’s site.“”

Combining search options
above mentioned search options might or might not be known to you, but
even though they can amount to some interesting results, it’s a fact
that when you start combining them, that’s when google’s magic starts
to show. For example, one could try this search string:
filetype:sxw jini (I’m just producing these from the top of my head, I
don’t knowwhether they’d result in anything interesting, that’s where
you come in. You got to find a search string that gets the results you
want). Hope this insight helps you use the master search engine in a
better way.

Happy Googling and bon voyage when you decide to set sail armed with this knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Nice Google hacks.
Another useful option I learned about on is "daterange". Check Rich Burridege's weblog at

I can't think of a good reason for Google to have this options but not make them available in the web interface, not even at - where you have more search options.


chunkybacon said...

you should check out for loads more Google hacks.