Understanding Google

Search engines are a cornerstone of the Internet. They make it possible to quickly locate specific web pages, images, videos and other resources from the billions of files available online. This post provides a few tips that can help you make the most of one popular search engine – Google.

Start With a Basic Search

Most people are familiar with performing a basic search – simply navigate to the search engine, enter some text and press the “Search” button. In many cases this will work just fine, but in other cases you may be swamped with results.

Choosing good keywords can help you to find the right information. For example, searching for “sheffield hallam accommodation services” will probably return results that are more relevant than if you had searched for “shu halls”.

Some general tips are to try to avoid abbreviations, to use words with clear meanings and to avoid very generic terms. For example, searching for ‘information’ returned over 4,500,000,000 results at the time of writing.

Good Keywords

Good Keywords

Filter Your Results

You can filter your results by type, by the last modified date and so on. To apply a filter simply click on one in the sidebar to the left of your search results. You can access more options by clicking on the “Advanced Search” link, which is usually somewhere at the top right of your search results.

Filtering By Type

Filtering By Type

 Search a Single Website

Found a site with lots of really good information but no search facility? You might be able to search it using Google. To search a single website simply type “site:” followed by the websites domain name (that is everything up to the first single forward slash).

A few examples could be “site:http://www.shu.ac.uk graduation”, “site:shuspace.shu.ac.uk ” or “site:microsoft.com support for office 2010”.

Searching One Site

Searching One Site

Other Functionality

Definitions

Do you need to quickly find out what a particular word means? If so simply search for “define:WORD”. Google will provide you with a list of possible definitions. Make sure you pick one that is appropriate.

Define

Define

Conversions

You can covert many units of measurement from the Google search engine simply by phrasing a suitable question. Some examples include:

“How many miles in 47 kilometers?”

“89 degrees Fahrenheit in degrees centigrade”

“How many teaspoons in a litre?”

Conversions

Conversions

Calculator

The Google search box also doubles up as a calculator. Simply type in your mathematical question and the answer will be displayed on screen. Use an asterix (*) for multiplication and a forward-slash (/) for division.

For example, “4 – 3 * (2+1)”.

Calculator

Calculator

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