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1.11. Setting Preferences

Google's Preferences page, shown in Figure 1-5, provides a nice, easy way to set and save your searching preferences.

Figure 1-5. Google's Preferences page

1.11.1. Interface Language

You can set your Interface Language, affecting the language in which tips and messages are displayed. Language choices range from Afrikaans to Zulu, with plenty of odd options, including Bork, bork, bork! (the Swedish Chef), Elmer Fudd, and Pig Latin, thrown in for fun.

1.11.2. Search Language

Not to be confused with Interface Language, Search Language restricts what languages should be considered when searching Google's page index. The default is any language, but you could be interested only in web pages written in Chinese and Japanese, or French, German, and Spanish—the combination is up to you.

1.11.3. SafeSearch Filtering

Google's SafeSearch filtering affords you a method of avoiding search results that may offend your sensibilities. No filtering means you're offered anything in the Google index. Moderate filtering rules out explicit images, but not explicit language. Strict filtering filters both text and images. The default is moderate filtering.

1.11.4. Number of Results

By default, Google 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, or 100), along with whether you want results to open in the current window or a new browser window.

1.11.5. 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 to load 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 readily available.

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, enabling it might mean that you'll miss something valuable. This is especially true when you're searching for a phrase that might be caught by a filter, such as "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 ["Language Tools" earlier in this chapter].

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

If you have cookies turned off in your browser, 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.

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