Earlier this year Google removed the "advanced search" link from its home page. The answer to the question "why did Google hide Google Advanced Search?" remains a bit of a mystery. Google home page simplicity taken one infuriating step too far remains my best answer. Where you can find Advanced Search is pretty easy. But understanding why this little change is significant is very important to lawyers and others who want to be Internet users who are, well ….. ADVANCED!

First of all, even though the link is gone, you can still access this service by clicking on the gear in the upper right hand corner of Google next to "Sign in." Advanced search is on the drop down menu. So really the only change is two clicks instead of one. And, if you do a Google search and the results you see displayed are not to your liking, you can still click on advanced search and have your initial search terms automatically pulled in. If you use advanced search frequently, you can even bookmark this page: http://www.google.com/advanced_search instead of www.google.com, if you do wish. (This link is not new. I referred to it in a blog post in December, 2008.)  I assume most readers knew this.

But if this is all news to you, then I might respectfully suggest you are not finding the information you are looking for as fast or accurately as you might be. In a discussion about this topic in the Google Web search forum, one poster said, "[l]imiting [searches] by file type, domain name, etc is absolutely essential for students to know." Lawyers, too! As I noted in that 2008 blog post, using the "site:" search filter is great to search a single domain.

The advanced search feature I use most often is the date filter. If I am searching for information about a product, I generally start by limiting the search to pages posted or updated within the last year.

If you are searching on a fairly obscure topic and find one good resource, then using the advanced search to find other pages that are similar to that page or link to that page can lead to other great resources.

In years past, a lawyer might respond to me initiating this type of discussion by saying, "I'm not really an advanced Internet researcher, more of a basic one." My response now would be the same as it was then: Look at your billing rate, you are an advanced Internet researcher!