Hacking the Google Numrange Operator

    April 1, 2004

For hardcore researchers Google launched a new number range search, allowing users to look for pages that contain numbers within a specified range. If you’re looking for that one Phil Collins song you loved so much in the early 80s and can’t remember the name simply type “phil collins 1980..1985” without the quotes.

NumRange to help in searching for Phil Collins
NumRange to help in searching for Phil Collins

You’ll be instantly reminded that “Against All Odds” was the song that rocked you so hard.

Tell me how you plan to use the numrange operator.

While search operators are nothing new, this particular innovation gave GoogleGuy something to crow about.

“Stop and think for a minute: for the last 9-10 years, most search engines have relied on searching for a simple list of keywords, then processing the documents that match,” GoogleGuy told WebMasterWorld members. “Searching for web pages that match anywhere in a range of numbers gives a glimpse into more powerful indexing and search capabilities than just matching on a single keyword.”

He also pointed out a way to use the numrange function as a sort of local search.

“Here’s another fun way to use numrange search: businesses along a stretch of road. For example, the main little downtown area in Mountain View, CA is along Castro St. It’s a great street to walk down and get a slice of pizza, buy a candle, or read a book. So a search like ‘100..900 castro’ mountain view is a good way to see some of the stuff in downtown Mountain View.”

I hear lots of people suggesting the numrange operator as a way of finding products within a certain price range, as Google pays attention to the dollar signs ($). The Google description page gives this example, “you might conduct a search for DVD player $250..300”.

All you US and AU retailers out there need to be sure you have dollar signs near your products – truly price conscious searchers will pick up on this operator right away and use it in addition to price comparison search engines.

Does Google see the Euro sign? Let me know.

And be sure to share your creative ways of using this new operator – there has to be more to it than just finding the lowest prices for things and hacking Google local.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.