In the previous three installments of this series, we covered a wide variety of different search features and strategies using the (currently) most popular search engine: Google.com Today, I am going to take one of the earlier techniques of using the “wildcard" function “*" (the asterisk symbol, you know, the star like thingy above the #8 on your keyboard) and have some fun with it. Let's begin.
According to Google: “A wildcard in a Google search query can be indicated by an asterisk and will match one or more entire words of text so that the query matches a contiguous sequence of words. " Here's an example:
A search for [anti-spyware software *] will return searches for “anti-spyware software programs" and “anti-spyware software applications". You could also search for [ * spyware ] which will return searches for “about:blank spyware", “remove spyware", “get rid of spyware", “anti spyware" and many others.
You can also ask Google a question using a wildcard like this:
[how do I remove * spyware]
This query will return results about how to remove certain types of spyware like:
"how do I remove Kazaa spyware" and “how do I remove Xupiter spyware" etc. .
If you really want to expand your search horizons, try using more than one wildcard. Perform the search [ how do I * * spyware] will return resulys such as: “how do I detect harmful spyware" and “how do I get rid of spyware".
If you are real daring, use THREE wild cards like [how * I * * spyware] and Google will return back results such as: “how did I get infected with spyware", “how do I remove nasty spyware" and “how can I get rid of spyware".
Starting to see the possibilities? Now go get Googling!
If you missed any of the first three installments in this series, you may find them at: http://spyware. pcwash.com/articles_1.html
When not on his soapbox, Andrew Wroblewski is doing battle with the thousands of spyware programs that can affect you via his anti-spyware and spyware removal website: http://spyware.pcwash.com where you can get a FREE spyware scan of your computer system.