Power Search has become ubiquitous. According to Pew Research Center (2011), search and email are the two most popular online activities. Over 92% of users do each regularly on both desktop and mobile platforms.
The importance of search technique has also grown as users grapple with an almost infinite supply of constantly changing data and websites. If knowledge is power, then finding that knowledge quickly and efficiently is essential.
Most search users simply type in a word or phrase and hope for the best when prospecting for online information. But there are many shortcuts and tools that can greatly reduce your time spent searching… and they are revealed in Google’s free online video course, Power Searching. The class is divided into six sections with a midterm and final exam. Upon successful completion, students receive a Certificate of Completion diploma (suitable for framing and hanging in your favorite wall space).
I recently completed the course and would say it lived up to its description—”this online class will help you search smarter, so you can find the information you need — even in the most challenging situations.” Register for the course here.
Here’s two quick tips to whet your power search appetite.Photo Tricks
Google has quite a few photo talents. Search for something like [brown shoes] and you will get a page of choices. On the left side of the page you’ll find a list of operators, including [images.] Click on [images] and you will see photos of brown shoes. But did you know that if you hover over a photo you’ll find links for “similar” and “more sizes?” This can be very helpful when searching for a particular type or size of image.
“G” can also image searche in reverse. That is, go to http://images.google.com/ and drag and drop an image over the search bar. Watch what happens! Google will try to find where the image came from or similar images. Try it. (Hint: Once on an “images” page of search results try clicking on one of the color boxes near the bottom of the left hand column for additional photo tricks.)
Filter Your Search
When entering a search query you can add filters to restrict your search and make it more effective, For example, [site:secretsofthelist.com] uses the [site:] filter and tells Google to only search for answers on the web site indicated.
Another filter is [filetype:]. A variety of three and/or four letter extensions will work with the [filetype:] filter including pdf, txt, html and many more. (Example— filetype:pdf). For a complete list of supported filetypes click here. In both cases there must be a colon after the word and no space.
Hopefully you found something useful and new here. Already taken the course? Have a cool search tip you’d like to share? Please comment below.