Setting Preferences

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Customize the way you search Google.

Google's preferences provide a nice, easy way to set your searching preferences from this moment forward.

Language

You can set your Interface Language, affecting the language in which tips and messages are displayed. Language choices range from Afrikaans to Welsh, with plenty of odd options including Bork Bork Bork! (the Swedish Chef), Elmer Fudd, and Pig Latin thrown in for fun. Not to be confused with Interface Language, Search Language restricts what languages should be considered when searching Google's page index. The default being any language, you could be interested only in web pages written in Chinese and Japanese, or French, German, and Spanish - the combination is up to you. Figure 1-1 shows the page through which you can set your language preferences.

Figure 1-1. Language Tools page
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Filtering

Google's
SafeSearch filtering affords you a method of avoiding search results that may offend your sensibilities. The default is no filtering. Moderate filtering rules out explicit images, but not explicit language. Strict filtering filters both on text and images.

Number of Results

Google, by default, displays 10 results per page. For more results, click any of the "Result Page: 1 2 3..." links at the bottom of each result page, or simply click the "Next" link.

You can specify your preferred number of results per page (10, 20, 30, 50, 100) along with whether you want results to open up in the current or a new browser window.

Settings for Researchers

For the purpose of research, it's best to have as many search results as possible on the page. Because it's all text, it doesn't take that much longer to load 100 results than it does 10. If you have a computer with a decent amount of memory, it's also good to have search results open in a new window; it'll keep you from losing your place and leave you a window with all the search results constantly available.

And if you can stand it, leave your filtering turned off, or at least limit the filtering to moderate instead of strict. Machine filtering is not perfect and unfortunately sometimes having filtering on means you might miss something valuable. This is especially true when you're searching for words that might be caught by a filter, like "breast cancer."

Unless you're absolutely sure that you always want to do a search in one language, I'd advise against setting your language preferences on this page. Instead, alter language preferences as needed using the Google Language Tools.

Between the simple search, advanced search, and preferences, you've got all the beginning tools necessary to build just the Google query to suit your particular purposes.


Fair warning: if you have cookies turned off, setting
preferences in Google isn't going to do you much good. You'll have to reset them every time you open your browser. If you can't have cookies and you want to use the same preferences every time, consider making a customized search form.