March 2007 Archive
Back in January I mentioned that Google was expected to fix its
filetype: search so that it would give results even when not combined with another search term. I checked today, and sure enough,
filetype:qpw now works without needing any additional terms.
So why would anyone really want to do this? Most of the benefit of restricting the search results to a specific file type is when it is combined with other search terms. A search like
filetype:pdf might be useful to get a count for how many PDF documents Google has indexed, but Google's estimated number is so wildly inaccurate that this should certainly not be used for that. Two better uses for the plain file type search are for unusual file extensions and for teaching. Less commonly used file extensions like .qpw or .wps result in less than a thousand hits. Just bear in mind that the
filetype: prefix does not just search file types. Any URL that has a dot followed by something else can be found. Try a search for .junk for example. For teaching, it is nice that we can now demonstrate how a
filetype: search can work having to use additional search terms.