You Too Can Be an Expert Searcher
October 4, 2016
One would think that in the days of instant information, we all would be expert searchers and know how to find any fact. The problem is that most people type entire questions into search engines and allow natural language processing to do the hard labor. There is a smarter way to search than lazy question typing and Geek Squad has an search literacy guide you might find useful: “Search Engine Secrets: Find More With Google’s Hidden Features.”
What very few people know (except us search gurus) is that search engines have hidden tricks you can use you find your results quicker and make search easier. While Google is the standard search engine and all these tricks are geared towards that search engine, they will also work with other ones. The standard way to search is by typing a query into the search bar and some of these typing tricks are old school, such as using parentheses for an exact phrase, searching one specific Web site, wildcards, Boolean operators, and using a minus sigh (-) to exclude terms.
Searching for pictures is a much newer search form and is usually done by clicking on the image search on a search engine. However, did you know that most search engines have the option to search with an image itself? With Google, simply drag and drop an image into the search bar to start the process. There are also delimiters on image search to filter results by specifics, such as GIFs, size, color, and others
Even newer than image search is vocal search with a microphone. Usually, voice search is employed with a digital assistant like Cortana and Siri. Some voice search commands are:
- Find a movie: What movies are playing tonight? or Where’s Independence Day playing?
- Find nearby places: Where’s the closest cafe?
- Find the time: What time is it in Melbourne?
- Answer trivia questions: Where was Albert Einstein born? or How old is Beyonce?
- Translate words or phrases: How do you say milk in Spanish?
- Define a word: What does existentialism mean?
- Convert between units: What’s 16 ounces in grams?
- Solve a math problem: What’s the square root of 2,209?
Book a restaurant table: Book a table for two at Dorsia on Wednesday night.
The only problem is that only the typing tricks transfer to professional research. They are used at universities, research institutes, and even large companies. The biggest problem is that people do not know how to use them in those organizations.