I’ve started creating some simple screencasts of different ways you can effectively use Google search and Google Apps for Education for teachers and librarians. This first video showcases the “preview panel” in the Search results panel as well as filtering the results using the sidebar and “related searches”. Too often I see students looking at the first results from a Google search and not taking advantages of these features. The video also introduces the new Research panel that is now built into Google Docs which is great way to continue to see your search results right from your document and use the link & citation features.
Google Search Features – Part 2
Did you know that Google has many special features that will allow you to easily get information you need right from the search bar? Here a few you might find useful:
Weather: Want to know what the weather is in your favorite city? Simply type “weather” followed by the city and state, U.S. zip code, or, for international cities, the city and country.
Example: weather los gatos
Calculator: Don’t reach for a calculator. Just enter the calculation you’d like done into the search box, hit enter, and get your answer!
Definitions: Have a word or phrase that you don’t understand? Simply type the word “define” then a space, and then the word(s) you want defined. To see a list of definitions from a number of different online sources, type “define:” followed by a word or phrase.
Example: define hibernate
Local Search: You can find a store, restaurant, or other local business by searching for the category of business and the location (either the city name or U.S. zip code). Along with the results, you’ll get a map, contact information, and reviews from other users.
Example: italian food 95032
Movie Showtimes: Google can help you find reviews and showtimes for movies playing near you. Type “movies” and your zip code or “movies” and the name of a current film into the Google search box. Don’t forget to save your location. Once you’ve done this, the top search result will display movies and showtimes for theaters in your saved location.
Example: movies 95032
Package Tracking: Want to keep track of the delivery date of something you mailed or ordered? Track packages by typing the tracking number for your UPS, FedEx or USPS package directly into the search box. Google will return results that include quick links to easily track the status of your shipment.
Google has “Even More” search features. You can check a flight arrival time, convert gallons to liters, see what time it is in Dubai,… To learn how to use these and find out about other features, click here: http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html
~ MaryFran and Colette
Teaching Your Students About Search – Part 1
Google offers many different tools to help “organize the the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” however Google is primarily recognized as a “search engine.” While searching seems like a natural skill to have, a user can improve their results by knowing a few tricks.Do your students know that there is no need to capitalize any of the search terms? That’s right, search terms, or queries, are not case sensitive. [George Washington] [GEORGE WASHINGTON] and [george washington] will all return the same results.Teach your students to be as specific as possible when searching. For instance, if your student is looking for information on the first president, have them look for [george washington] not simply [washington], which will return a variety of results on the first page, none of which may refer to the first president.
Just how lucky are you feeling? When using the Classic Google Webpage, you have a chance to select “I’m Feeling Lucky.” This will skip the list of results and go directly to the number one search result for that query. If you know that what you want is Macy’s, but aren’t quite sure of the URL, you can search for [macys] , choose “I’m Feeling Lucky,” and skip the step of the results page!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to more search tips, including Advanced Search, Preferences, some fun functions you can use from the search bar, and give you some tips on how to determine who authors a site. However, if you have any specific questions you would like answered, please e-mail either of us by replying to this e-mail. We’ll try to answer any of your questions.
~MaryFran and Colette