Searching up a storm!
We have all done a Google search, yet how many of us spend half an hour trawling the search results before we find what we're looking for? This post enlightens users on the sophistication of a Google search, and the usefulness of the Omnibox. Find what your searching for faster!
A quick explanation of the terms
Your browser will have a default, yet changeable, search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!). Basically, when you hit SEARCH, the search engine's web-crawler sends a "spider" out to all websites and retrieves information based on the content (or metadata) websites provide. The search engine then uses a mathematical algorithm to prioritise websites and lists them as search results.
This post will help you to navigate that little spider with precision so search results are more effective, saving you time and energy!
Google search: to load a website type in the exact address (the www. is not needed so I could type in tuitive.org). For a pure Google search type “?” before you enter the search words. This will avoid loading a URL (website).
Calculations: simply type the calculation into the Omnibox or search bar and the answer will appear, along with a calculator.
Conversions: type in the amount and the unit (5kg, 23 minutes etc), “into” and the unit you want to convert into e.g. 23 minutes into seconds.
Dictionary: type in any word along with “def” or “definition” and the Omnibox will give you a full dictionary definition of the word.
A general search can be refined easily to websites from New Zealand. An example is searching species native to NZ.
News > Search tools > Any country > Country: New Zealand
You can also search websites that have been updated within a specific time period. e.g. past year, month, 24 hours.
News > Search tools > Any time > Past 24 hours
Show the size of all images AND search by size (large, medium, exactly etc). Images being printed need to be a certain resolution or DPI (dots/pixels per inch). There is an easy rule of thumb for printing images at 250 dpi (good quality). Simply divide the number of pixels by 100, which results in the largest size in centimetres in which you can print. e.g. 1024 pixels width = 10cm wide approx.
More tools > show size
Image > Size > Large
Search to find images with a prominent specific colour. A soccer player in action, search the name and select the colour green for the field.
Image > Colour
The type of image can be searched (face shots, photos, clip art, line drawing, or animated). If students are wanting to draw an object I often use line drawing.
Image > Type
Similarly to websites, the time can be adjusted to the time period the image was posted to the web.
Image > Time
Usage rights are an important part of digital citizenship. For students, it is a good habit to search images allowed for reuse, non commercial reuse, and non commercial reuse with modification (if some element of the image is changed).
Image > Usage rights
Similarly to an image search, a video search lets you select useful characteristics like quality and when videos were posted, as well as from New Zealand.
Videos > Any time
Videos > Any quality
Videos > The web
Video searches can also be refined by duration (if you want to refine your search for short clips), and searches can be limited to videos with closed captions (subtitles). Subtitles are a good resource for hearing impaired students but also for other curriculum areas such as learning a foreign language. There is also an option to refine the videos to their source, although I’m unsure of a major benefit of this function.
Videos > Duration
Videos > All videos > Closed caption
News search lets you search past and current events on a range of various news search engines. Similarly to the general search you have the option to search New Zealand sites only. This could be fore searching an article on a natural disaster or famous person from New Zealand.
News > Search tools > Any country > Country: New Zealand
News search also has a specific time function e.g. News from last year, month or 24 hours. It could be a search for a recent sports game, debate, or scientific discovery made in a specific century.
News > Search tools > Any time > Past year
A news search also lets you choose All news or blog news (although I’m not entirely sure what the benefit of this distinction is).
Search an address, city or country, a monument or restaurant, ocean or mountain range. Maps searches a huge range of locations around the world.
Search for a book and even if the text isn’t available as an eBook, the page will give you reviews, related books, other editions, author details, bibliographic information. Searches can be sorted by relevance or date. A book search can be refined to New Zealand publications and the century the text was published.
More > Books > The web
More > Books > Any time
Texts can also limited to those with a preview of the text available, full e-book available for purchase, or full free e-book. These can be great resources for literacy activities.
More > Books > Any books
Texts can also be limited to books or magazines. This can be handy for short texts for literacy activities.
More > Books > Any document
Google scholar lets you search scholarly literature. It provides either the full text, previews of texts, or the details of academic search engines that have the full text (although you often need a subscription to these). There is a range of specific filters available using Scholar.
Omnibox/search bar > type Scholar
There used to be a reading level filter but unfortunately this has been removed. Hopefully it returns!
https://sites.google.com/site/monicassites101/chrome (Chrome Omnibox)