Secret Google codes that unlock hidden features – including 'the joker'

MORE than four billion people perform a Google search every month – yet few take advantage of the site's catalog of hidden codes.

Known as "search operators". they can be plugged into the search engine alongside your keywords to refine your search in a number of ways.

By focusing on certain keywords and excluding others – or by narrowing down where to search – they allow you to use Google more accurately and efficiently.

For instance, using the little-known commands, you can ask Google to only search social media, or to search for a price.

Search operators also allow you to combine two searches, search a specific website and exclude certain words from your search.

A number of the codes use punctuation, which Google usually ignores if it isn't part of a search operator.

Try typing keywords with and without the commands listed below to see how much they change your search results.

Don’t put spaces between the symbol or word and your search term. For example, a search for site:thesun.co.uk will work, but site: thesun.co.uk won’t.

COMMON SEARCH TECHNIQUES

Search social media

Put @ in front of a word to search social media. For example: @twitter.

Search for a price

Put $ in front of a number. For example: camera $400.

Search hashtags

Put # in front of a word. For example: #throwbackthursday

Exclude words from your search

Put – in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car

Search for an exact match

Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, "tallest building".

Search within a range of numbers

Put .. between two numbers. For example, camera $50..$100.

Combine searches

Put "OR" between each search query. For example, marathon OR race.

Search for a specific site

Put site: in front of a site or domain. For example, site:youtube.com or site:.gov.

Search for related sites

Put related: in front of a web address you already know. For example, related:time.com.

See Google’s cached version of a site

Put cache: in front of the site address.

Search for phrase with missing words

Put * in place of a missing word in a phrase. For instance, if you're trying to find the title of the movie "James Bond: Casino Royale" but are only remembering "James Bond Royale", you can try "James Bond * Royale" to ask Google to fill in the blank. The asterisk is also known as the "wildcard" or "joker" search operator.

In other news, Facebook has announced that it's changing its name to "Meta".

The company is working to create lifelike avatars of its users that they can control in a virtual world called the "metaverse".

Apple's system that exposes creepy iPhone apps that track your location or snoop on your browsing history has finally arrived.

And, astronomers claim to have spotted the first known planet outside of the Milky Way.

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