Google reveals its most-searched ‘How To’ tips

And it’s not how to fix your phone or computer. 

Just a few decades ago, DIY repairs were quite difficult. The internet has changed all that and Google has created a fun new site to show you exactly how to fix what you want. The new site is separated into categories of repairs, activities and learning that are searched the most on Google, based on where you live. ClickAway has also added tips on getting the most out of your searches.

Fixing toilets tops the list. 

Based on regional patterns, it seems North Americans and East Asians need their toilets repaired more than anything. That’s what Google is playfully calling the site. People in former Soviet countries are confident enough to take a stab at repairing their washing machines and those in hot climates can’t live without a refrigerator. Nowhere on this interactive site did we find “How To” fix a computer or cell phone. Perhaps that’s because there are a number of authorized, aka ClickAway, and not so trustworthy shops all over the country.

Cooking, dating, money, dressing and health are other top search categories but how to boil and egg? That’s a little too dependent upon Google don’t you think? There’s also the seasonal search peaks such as asking someone to the prom, losing weight and cooking asparagus. Other top searches are a result of viral impact such as making slime and loom-bands.

Google’s News Lab created the site and collected the data from searches by users on “How To” do and fix things. We predict some new trivia questions based on the data. Have a look yourself – just search “how to fix a toilet Google Search.

How to search more effectively

Are you using Google effectively as possible? If you’re just entering words into the search field without using these totally basic but totally essential tricks to improve your results, you’re missing out. We like to think of ourselves as Google ninjas at Lifehacker, but even we need a reminder of these crucial shortcuts now and then.

Dashes

If you want to exclude a word from your search results, put a dash in front of it.

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to search an exact set of words, such as song lyrics.

Asterisk

Speaking of exact words, what if you can’t remember them all? No problem—just use an asterisk in place of the unknown word/s. Again, this is great for song lyrics or quotes that you may have only half heard. Alternatively, ones that are often misquoted, like below.

Tilde

Use a tilde before a word to include all of its synonyms.

Example:

Star Wars ~Presents

As you can see, it has scraped ‘gifts’ as well:

Double Period

Use a double period between two numbers to convey ranges. This is handy for pricing, dates and measurements.

Example:

HP Spectre buy $1000..$2000

Site: Query

You can search for something within a specific website by using ‘site:’.

Example:

How I Work site:lifehacker.com

Link: Query

You can find sites that have linked to a specific URL through ‘link:’

Example: We wanted to find sites that linked to this Lifehacker post about teens and juuling.

Related: Query

If you’re looking for websites that are related to a specific site, you can use ‘related:’

Example:

related:boardgamegeek.com

Reverse Image Search

This is incredibly handy if you want to find the origin of a photo you have randomly stumbled across on the web. For example, a plate of delicious looking food that you would love to know the recipe for.

Reverse image searching is also great for tracking down original photographers, identifying things (celebrities, flora and fauna, unlabelled clothes or products you want to buy), discovering where your own work may be getting used, and debunking fake social media posts and profiles.

You can do a reverse image search by going into the ‘images’ tab on Google and clicking on the camera icon in the search bar. You can then either upload an image or insert an image address (right click on an image and hit ‘copy image address). Google will then deliver its best guess on the image.

Example:

I went to Pinterest, searched ‘Ramen’ and chose this image:

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