At a recent Google for Journalists workshop, Andrew Swartz who holds the position of Global Communications and Public Affairs shared tips and resources to use Google more effectively when searching.
Limiting Your Search Results
Let’s say you are thinking of going on vacation to Turkey and want to learn more about the country, to eliminate turkey recipes from showing up in your search results, in the Google search box, type in Turkey –recipe*. The minus sign lets Google know that you are not interested in recipes and asterisk (*) is a command which covers recipe and recipes, which further limits your search.
If you would like the definition of a word, say for instance infographics, in the search box you’d type in define: infographics (That is, define colon space infographics).
You are writing a speech and know that there is a Margaret Mead quote that would add impact but you cannot remember it. In the search box, type in quotation: Margaret Mead and you will find several websites with Margaret Mead quotes. And if you know some of the words in the quote, for instance, “A small group of thoughtful people could change,” in the search box type in quotation: A small group of thoughtful people could change, and you get the full Margaret Mead quote.
If you want to search a specific website, for instance The Invisible Mentor, in the Google search box, type in site: theinvisiblementor.com. (For this one, if you already know the domain name, why not go there directly, but I thought I should tell you anyway).
Add a WOW to Your Communications Online
There is a YouTube video that would strengthen your blog post, but you’d like the video to start at a specific point such as 8 minutes and 29 seconds in the video. At the end of the link to the video add #t8m29s when you insert it in the post.
You can also add maps (http://maps.google.com), street views (http://www.google.com/streetview), historical geographic imagery, (http://earth.google.com) and public data in tables (http://www.google.com/fusiontables)
Trends and Research
If you are looking for topics to write about, Google’s trends and research tools may provide ideas.
Based on searches Google identifies trends as they occur http://www.google.com/trends. This is for the US only.
Google Insights for Search gives you the opportunity to look at search patterns and filter the results by region http://www.google.com/insights/search.
Other Quick Tips
- If you need a calculator and have access to Google, use it as you would any calculator and you’ll see the results below the search box.
- Google as currency converter: For example if you would like to know how $50 Canadian is in Euro, type in 50 CAD in Euro.
- If you would like to know what the local weather is, type in weather in Toronto or whichever city you are interested in.
- Google as unit converter: 50 liters in gallons or 100 kilometers in mile, whatever you’d like to convert.
At http://www.google.com, if you look at the top left hand side you’ll see a menu of options such as Images, Video and so on. If you click on more you will see recipes. If you were looking for a recipe you could search for it using Google and can restrict the results based on ingredients, calories and cooking time. Isn’t that nifty?
How can you use this information? What do you have to add to the conversation? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.