Learn Google for Faster, Better Searches

I just did a session with graduate students on researching on the Net.  Every time I do one of these I ask people’s favorite search engine.  Usually about 85-90% say “Google.”  This time I got 100% for Google. That’s a first.

But when I ask “why” — they really don’t know that it is better.  “It’s convenient.” “I always used it, I guess.”  So since you probably use it as your default, why not learn a little more about it. Then you can be a more effective searcher.

Here is what I got when I searched for “Everson Museum”, which is the art museum in the city where I work. And of course I did it as a phrase search in quotes:

Notice that a map comes up at the right.

Did you know if you mouse over any entry in the list of results that an arrow appears. Click the arrow and  you’ll get a  screen shot of the website, like below. See the circled arrow in red?

That’s a quicker way to peruse the results quickly, especially when you are not sure which is the best of all the results.  And research shows most people only click on the first three!

Above that screen shot, you’ll see the words “cached” and “similar.” Clicking on “cached” gives you the last picture of the website captured by Google. This helps if a site is down or out of service. Or you want to see what used to be there (especially if something has changed or someone has pulled off copy!)  Click on “Similar” and you’ll find websites similar to that one, which can be helpful for further research.

Spend 15 minutes reading this Google Inside Search help guide which explains what you see on the screen of results. Or read the “Tricks and Tips” page.   I bet you’ll learn something that will make you a better searcher.

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