Gizmag, which itself is an interesting read for anyone of techy-mindedness, is currently offering a free download to A Guide to Google Tools, Tips & Tricks You Can’t Live Without
You can fill in a form to download the book (62 pages), or access it directly from the first link above (you have to skip around the ads a bit). The book starts by pointing out that behind the simple front page of Google hides a wealth of search options and functionality that isn’t obvious to the user unless you take time to go exploring.
The continual simplifying of Google’s search page has been much criticised over the years by search gurus (such as Karen Blakeman and Phil Bradley), and not without justification. For example, the act of burying the “verbatim” command and the Advanced search, even though they’re not that deeply buried, still hides them from a good percentage of people who will never know to use these (or perhaps even what they’re for in the case of Verbatim) unless guided to use them by this blog or other search advisers.
Hence the existence of useful guides such as the one above. Knowing more about a search engine such as Google really will help your searching and I also find it speeds me up (yep, I’m always in a hurry to find stuff). Efficiency, bring on efficiency!