Revised August 2016 
1. When performing a Google search, if you type something like the following:
   crossing guard
This will find any stories in which both the word "crossing" and the word "guard" appear whether together in the same phrase or not.
If you type  "crossing guard" complete with quotation marks, the search should find only instances where the two words are together.
Similarly, to find references to a specific person, type 
   "Marty Simpson" 
If you do not use quotes you may get results for all the Martys, Martins, and Simpsons whether they are your target or not.

2.  You can use an asterisk (*) for cases in which you may want to search for a phrase in which variations may occur as in a person's name.  For example, to find instances of Al Johnson, Alfred Johnson and Alfred J. Johnson, you could type something like the following (Google can often intuit a full given name from a shortened version):"Al * Johnson"
Results might also include Al and Josie Johnson.

3. Google is also clever enough to return results for inflected forms. If you type Recycle without quotes,  your results will include "Recyling."  If you include the quotes, results will exactly match your entry.

3. Some searches will produce an excessive number of matches, so try to refine your input as much as possible.