How to be a super Google searcher

Nandagopal Rajan | Print Edition: July 2012

Google is pretty easy to use, no doubt. When you want to find out something about the purple bird that you saw at Lotus Pond in Hyderabad, you just type a Google query like [purple water bird Lotus Pond] and-voila!-there you go, you've found the Purple Moorhen. If you Google the bird's name [Purple Moorhen ], you can learn its scientific Latin name (Porphyrio porphyrio), that their range is from India to Australia and Africa, and that the state of Florida in the US is trying to eradicate their accidentally introduced population. But it's worth knowing that most Google searchers can, with just a bit more inside information, become really super searchers. Daniel M Russell of Search Quality and User Experience, Google Inc, tells you how:

FIND A WORD ON THE PAGE: If you are using Internet Explorer, just look for the Edit menu at the top of the Internet window. Click on it and you'll see the submenu item labelled "Find". If you click on that, you'll see a small window that lets you search for any word on the page. Just do Cntrl + F on other browsers. LEARN ABOUT THE DIFFERENT GOOGLE SEARCH PROPERTIES. Did you know that Google also lets you search through the collected news archives going back to the mid-1800s?

And you can use Google to search for scanned copies of books and magazines (books.Google.com), financial information about companies you care about (www.Google.com/finance), scholarly articles from scientific journals and conferences (www.Google.com/scholar), and blogs (blogsearch.Google.com). Plus, Google Translate can transliterate words from English to Hindi and back (Urdu is in alpha, with other Indic languages on the way). You can also use this service to translate entire documents or web pages to and from different languages. (www.translate.google.co.in)

Behind the simplicity of Google search is a complex set of algorithms that expands and improves the query you've typed to find the best results. Automatic spelling correction ([vynal] to "vinyl") and substituting synonyms (matching [pictures] to "photos") are just two examples of the improvements we make. Google can also understand local idiom: if you try searching for a 'slab' in the US, you'll find results for concrete construction solutions. But in India, the third result is for income tax!
USE SHORT, SIMPLE QUERIES: A common mistake beginner searchers make is to use too many words in their query. A poor query is one that uses too many words that aren't really relevant to the topic. All those extra words actually decrease the accuracy of the search results. Keep your search queries crisp and to the point. USE THE ADVANCED SEARCH OPTIONS. All of the Google search properties have an "Advanced Search" feature for searchers who want a little more control over their searches. Click on the gear icon at the top right of the screen and select "Advanced Search."

You'll find Advanced Search for regular web search, image search, map search and so on. With Advanced Search you can easily search for web pages that are only in a particular language, or that come from a particular site. USE DEFINE: Of all the advanced features in Google, DEFINE: is probably one of the best for advanced searchers to use to educate themselves about a complex world. DEFINE: searches for definitions of terms (or phrases) as they're actually used in writing that's found on the web. For example, you might think you know what an "OLED" is, but by doing the Google query [DEFINE: OLED] you can find out for sure. This is not dictionary-based and as new words and phrases enter the language, Google picks them up.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but did you also know it can lead you to the page you need? You can search both images from the web or your own photos. There are three ways to search by image from images.google.com-copy and paste the URL of an image from the web, upload an image stored on your computer, or drag and drop an image into the search box.

USE CONTEXT SEARCH TERMS JUDICIOUSLY: Often searching for a particular kind of result will be hidden in the midst of many other web pages on that topic. In this case, you should consider adding a "context" term to your search query that describes the kind of result you'd like to see. For example, if you're trying to quickly learn about a new technology or area, it's sometimes difficult to find materials at a level appropriate for the beginner. In such a case, what you'd really like to see is background material, or perhaps a tutorial. Need to learn about superconductor technology quickly? Use a search that includes a context term such as "tutorial." [superconductor technology tutorial] is an excellent search that will bring tutorials on this topic to the top of your search results page.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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