Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Search Tips From The Power Searching with Google Course

I recently completed the Power Searching with Google course ( and it was AWESOME!  I was able to pick up on a lot of great tips about how to better leverage Google's search engine and make my searching more meaningful and efficient. Best of all, I can now find the content that I'm looking for plus  content I never knew existed.  These are skills that I think every educator and student should learn.  All course materials and recorded hangouts will be made available through Google.  There are so many google goodies to share and although it was very difficult, I chose 5 highlights from this course that have already made me a more powerful searcher:

Filter image results by color

Do an image search and then choose color results on the bottom left of your screen.  This will help you to use colors to get implied results.  The example given in the course was an image search for [tesla] that would result in tesla car and/or tesla coil images.

By narrowing your results by color, you can get more of what you are really looking for (i.e. purple = tesla coil; red = tesla cars).  You can also use 'black and white' to narrow the search for old images or diagrams.

Word Order Matters
Something I never realized is that word order matters when doing a search.  Doing a search for [sky blue] will tell you why the sky is blue versus doing a search for [blue sky] will result in 'Blue Sky Studios' as a result.  Capitalization does not necessarily matter and Google ignores punctuation and special characters such as ¶, £, €, ©, ®, ÷, §, (), ?, !.

Search by Filetype
Filetype operators will limit the search to certain files or documents (PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, CSV, KML, etc.).  This is a great way to find resources for your classroom when looking to get ideas or identify specific type of files.  For example, you can search [filetype:kml lewis and clark expedition] which would result in Google Earth files that show the route of Lewis and Clark.

Here is a link to the file types that Google can index.

Removing Invasive Results
The minus operator (minus sign) allows you to exclude what you don't want.  You can do multiple minus signs but make sure NOT to have space after the minus sign.  For example, if you are looking for a salsa recipe without tomatoes, you may search 
[salsa -dancing -tomatoes].

Search By Image
If you start with an image that you want to identify, you can use Google to figure it out.  By going to image search, you can drag a copy of the image into the search box and Google will search for other images that closely match it.  You can also search the 'real world' by taking a picture of an unknown object on a plain background and then putting it into the search box to identify what it is. 

There is so much more that I wish I could share and if you want to learn more, please visit the Inside Search site from Google that will take you to many more resources including the Power Search Course.  Happy searching!

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