Google Advanced Search For Economic Intelligence?

When was the last time that you used Google Advanced Search for your economic intelligence needs?

The Google Advanced Search feature is an option often ignored by users on a daily basis. Many individuals take the function for granted but it is handy to have.  Competitive intelligence researchers will tell you that using the function will lead to finding information that you would not have expected to be on the web within seconds.

In case you have not dared to use the the advanced feature before, Figure 1 illustrates the search interface of Google Advanced Search.

Google Advanced Search Interface

Figure 1: Google Advanced Search Interface
(Click on the image to enlarge the screen shot)

The main objective of using such an interface is to filter results and hopefully provide relevant information in a specific format for your needs.  Some of the things that you can do with Google Advanced include:

  • Specify the number of results you may see per page
  • View results in different languages
  • Access documents in a variety of formats (ie, MS-Word, MS-Excel, .pdf)
  • Search within a site or domain name (ie, restricting a search to one specific website)

Case Example: Foreign Direct Investment in the United States

You are in a  rush to find a current and detailed report regarding foreign direct investment in the United States and the regular Google search is not doing the trick.  What do you do?

Solution: By turning to the advanced search option, you can submit a query in which Google can attempt to find a document that was publish in the past year.  In addition, you may specify that would like the document to be in .pdf.  (Most reports are stored in .pdf for online readership)

Submitting the query with the two criteria will provide you with the following page of results with the relevant hits highlighted in yellow in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Listing of Results For Query – United-States “Foreign Direct Investment ” filetype :.pdf in the past year
(Click on the image to enlarge the screen shot)

The two hits lead to reports in .pdf, “Foreign Direct Investment in The United States” published by the Organization for International Investment in March 2009 and 2010

For addition details on search operators for Google Advanced Search queries, please click here