Tools That No Longer Work


Are we experiencing a general tools decline? What are the most innovative tool concepts since people aggregators made their appearance a few years ago?

Here are some tools that have reduced functionality or are gone altogether:

  • The latest version of MS Outlook no longer supports the Social Connector. The last Outlook version that still supports ir, the one from Office 2013, has stopped supporting LinkedIn.
  • Topsy, the search engine that indexed all tweets “from the beginning of time” and searched better than Twitter itself, was shut down in December 2015, some time after Apple had acquired it.
  • Broadlook’s desktop-based Contact Capture, well-debugged during its relatively long lifetime, is no longer supported or available for download.
  • Lippl, an extension to uncover hidden information on LinkedIn profiles, has been discontinued.
  • Connect6 PeopleDiscovery has not been updated since 2014.
  • 360social, that was an extension for Chrome with a promise to become a people aggregator, stopped working for a long time; it seems, it may come back, but we have yet to see that.
  • Connectifier, a well-known people aggregator, was just acquired by LinkedIn – and has already discontinued sign-ups; most of its staff is moving on. We are not sure, but we expect it will be shut down soon.

So which tools, among those we have left, work best, and what are some new kids on the block? Come to my Tools Webinar to find some answers!



Looking for Accountants? Try This Search Engine


If you are searching for Accountants, here is (yet another) new Custom Search Engine to try:

I built it using the semantic mechanism available in Google’s Custom Search Engines, the same as the one I used for Physicians Search Engine in the previous post.

Example uses:

Let me know if you find it useful!

Check out the upcoming Webinar on Sourcing Productivity Tools – Tuesday, February 9th at 9 AM PST/noon EST, with an optional Practice session on Wednesday.

Looking for Healthcare Practitioners? Try This Search Engine


If you are searching for healthcare practitioners, here is a new Custom Search Engine to try:

(I built it using the semantic mechanism available in Google’s Custom Search Engines, by only showing search results with a meta-tag, an object from called “Physician”.)

Here are some usage examples:

Let me know if you find it useful!

Check out the upcoming Webinar on Sourcing Productivity Tools – Tuesday, February 9th at 9 AM PST/noon EST, with an optional Practice session on Wednesday.

Your Search History and Metrics

search history

Those of us who save Google searches usually keep them in a text file vs. an MS Word file, to avoid issues caused by auto-formatting. (By the way, if you haven’t noticed, Google is processing “curly quotation marks” all right now, in the same way as straight quotation marks; but if a minus is converted to a dash, your strings will be “misunderstood”).

Whether you have been saving your strings or not – did you know that Google saves your complete search history? Even if you delete the browsing history, your searches remain saved – here:

Here, you can look at your searches for a given period of time, see which links you clicked on search result pages, and review some statistics, such as the number of searches and most often accessed websites:


(The above screenshot shows my saved history for the past year.)

The search history links “remember” your searches along with any parameters, such as searching “verbatim” or image search. (This is an advantage over saving strings as text since in a text file the search parameters are lost).

Further, you can search within your past searches. For example, you can narrow it down to only searches that include “LinkedIn”. (Note that searching within search strings is not Boolean, it just looks for an AND combination of keywords.)

You can also export your search history. The export comes in the JSON format, that you can convert to Excel CSV format by using one of online conversion tools, such as this one – JSON to CSV.

Once you have your search history in CSV, you can also look at some search metrics. For example, you can find your personal statistics on using Boolean syntax, such as X-Raying; the frequency of using specific keywords; your typical search strings length in words; etc.

When you look at your search history – what stands out? Feel free to share some stats, interesting search strings kept in your history, or your ideas about useful metrics, in the comments.

For more advanced Googling tips, sign up for the upcoming webinar – “Advanced Google-Based Sourcing” – January 27, 2016.


300 Strings e-Book: Tip Sheet and Table of Contents



The first edition of the e-Book “300 Best Boolean Strings” is ready and starting to ship!!! (“Shipping” electronically, of course.)

Writing it took much more work than I had expected. Verifying the exact syntax rules down to every detail, selecting the material, re-running all the search strings, and formatting was a lot of effort. I wouldn’t have done it without extensive help from my business partner Master Sourcer David Galley. Thanks to my wonderful son Peter (who doesn’t have an online profile yet) for drawing the cover image. I am grateful to Billy McDiarmid, Alicia PriselacVince SzymczakKelly Dingee, and Martin Lee for reviewing the draft and detailed (positive!) feedback.

If you are interested, here are a couple of files to download, to preview the e-book content:

  1. 300 Best Boolean Strings – Table of Contents
  2. One-page Google Operators Tip Sheet

The full e-Book is now available on the Blog.

You can also get a recording and materials from my e-Book-based 90-minute Webinar.


Announcing the Boolean Contest Winners – January 4th, 2016


Thanks everyone for participating in the year-end Boolean Sourcing contest! The prize is the 300 Best Boolean Strings e-Book  that is being released two weeks from now.

Sourcing is a global discipline! We had truly international participation this time, with contestants coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Russia, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. Wow!

And the three Boolean Contest Winners are:

Honorable mentions go to:

– who also did very well.


Here is to a successful year of Sourcing!

Change Your Search Strings for 2016


For some changes in searching on Social Networks in 2015, please check out my previous post –  Searching Social Media Got Harder in 2015.

Below I have described some changes that are going to happen in Googling early in 2016. These are easy to predict: when a major site, such as LinkedIn or Google-Plus, changes the structure (title, URL, and content) of the public profile pages, the search strings will follow – as soon as Googlebot catches up with the new formats.

So here’s heads-up on some new X-Ray Boolean search string templates for 2016:

  1. If you haven’t noticed, all public LinkedIn profiles now have the piece. There are no /pub profiles any longer. That means that X-Ray template OR -pub.dir (or this version – inurl:in OR inur:pub -inurl:dir) can soon become much simpler – just should work.
  2. LinkedIn is creating new publicly accessible subdomains and directories, worth exploring – including topics and related skills and Lists.
  3. The redesigned public Google-Plus profiles have less info than before. As part of that, you cannot search for women using the phrase “have her in circles”, since it is no longer there.
  4. Google search continues to grow it’s semantic features, “understands” more searches. (Good to keep in mind and watch its progression. However, it will be a while before Google will automate sourcing for professionals, so we should feel safe at work for now!)
  5. The still-present #1 syntax rule in Google’s official help, the plus + searches for Google+ pages, no longer works (just try it and you will see).
  6. Anything YOU want to add to the list?

>>> Keep up-to-date, search deeper, and be more productive in 2016 by pre-ordering the upcoming

“300 Best Boolean Strings”.

Feeling adventurous? Try yourself out in the 2015 End of the Year Contest and you may win the “300 Strings”.

Searching Social Media Got Harder in 2015


It never gets boring in our profession! Ways to search online change all the time. Here’s a quick outline of some changes that happened this year in searching on the four major Social Networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google-Plus, and Facebook.

On LinkedIn, changes usually appear unannounced; overnight we are switched to new UI and different (usually, more restricted) ways to search. To create even more confusion, LinkedIn changes are being gradually rolled out to members, so it’s hard for us to compare notes. A recent example of such a change is the LinkedIn Group member search – it was gone as part of the recent Group redesign and is coming back in a restricted fashion: we will be able to search for Group member names only.

Google is now indexing Twitter. However, the top Twitter search service Topsy, the only service that indexed every Tweet “from the beginning of times”, was just abruptly shut down.

The recent Google-Plus UI redesign has stripped down its (weak, anyway) search for people by school and company functionality. Google-Plus has “tuned down” some of its features, such as Circles – they still exist, but are barely available via the new UI. There’s a “back to classic G+” link that allows to reverse the changes when you are logged in, but obviously, not for too long.

The Facebook Graph search still exists in the back end software code, but was officially removed from the home page search box about a year ago. Keyword searching in the text box on home page is no longer a productive way to run advanced searches. Sourcers use tools that provide back-door access to the Graph search, like Shane McCuscker’s and Michael Buzzel’s.

Hmm… this all sounds rather grim. There is a number of newer search/sourcing tools that I will describe in a future post. But it does feel like our industry needs new, better software tools. Hopefully, we will see some in 2016!

Here is something I can predict for the upcoming year – see the next post, Change Your Search Strings for 2016.

>>> Keep up-to-date, search deeper, and be more productive in 2016 by pre-ordering the upcoming

“300 Best Boolean Strings”.

Feeling adventurous? Try yourself out in the 2015 End of the Year Contest and you may win the “300 Strings”.


Boolean Sourcing Contest!


It has been seven years since the first Boolean Sourcing Contest (won by Andrea Mitchell). The ways search engines respond to queries have shifted since then. Boolean Search syntax has changed, but only sightly. However:

1) Google has become smarter, interpreting searches and looking for synonyms.

2) The amount of indexed data on the Internet has grown many times.

It has become harder to control Googling outcome. Sometimes it feels like, with the changes, advanced Internet search is becoming more of an Art than a Science.

In the just-announced End of the Year Boolean Sourcing Contest, I have included some tricky questions, which should be fun to solve for all those who like to search. Hope you enjoy them (and learn something new too)!

It’s also a good moment to reflect how the technology is evolving. We need to be adjusting our research methods to reflect the Internet search “reality” and use the most efficient and up-to-date searching methods.

Three winners of the Contest will receive my upcoming publication “300 Best Boolean Strings” and will be featured on this blog and on our Boolean Sourcing groups.


Enter to Win “300 Best Boolean Strings”  –>



Skill Search on LinkedIn You May Not Have Heard Of

skillsIf you are a Recruiter and have listed your job openings within your LinkedIn profile, chances are, sometimes you receive messages offering a job as a JavaScript programmer or a SAP consultant. Annoying! That happens because you have those keywords on the profile; someone found you in search and forgot to review your profile. It’s NOT a good practice sending messaging to people who are not qualified. However, they will not have found you in the first place if they could search for JavaScript and SAP as skills, not just keywords.

A Skill search within the people search dialog would have made searching easier and would eliminate at least some poorly targeted messages. (Why isn’t it there??)

Recently – finally! – LinkedIn Recruiter accounts got skills search, as part of the Next-generation Recruiter. With a Recruiter subscription, we can select skills and and look for profiles with one or more of the selected skills. (There’s still no way to search for skill1 AND skill2 etc.)

Here is an example. In Recruiter, select major = computer Science, location = San Francisco Bay Area, company = Google OR Apple OR Facebook OR Yahoo OR LinkedIn OR IBM – and see the Skill selection:


It’s little known, but we have been able to search by skill from a personal account for a while now -not in the main search dialog, but in the “Field of Study Explorer“.

If we know what college major we are looking for in our prospects, we can change it and search for skills.

Try the same search as above using your personal account – major = computer Science, location = San Francisco Bay Area, company = Google OR Apple OR Facebook OR Yahoo OR LinkedIn OR IBM.

(Note: To do so, you will need some sort of a premium personal account; unfortunately, it seems, the skill selection is no longer displayed when searching in the Field of Study Explorer from a basic account. I don’t think it’s documented).

Here’s what searching for skills from a personal account using the Field of Study Explorer looks like:


Just as in Recruiter, this is an OR search for skills. As an example, you can search for skills= Python OR Perl OR PHP.

If you’d like to get more people with all of the skills (vs. one of those), you can add the skills in the keyword section: skills= Python OR Perl OR PHP, keywords = Python, Perl, PHP

Conclusion: Got a college major, will search by skills.

bool-li-logoWant to figure out other productive ways to search? Sign up for the last webinar in 2015 – Boolean Search on LinkedIn – December 16, Wed, 2015, with an optional Practice hands-on session on Thursday.