Here are the most relevant nuggets I gathered from this event.
Google search stories. Sadly as this is on YouTube, it’s surfcontrolled in my workplace. What we could do (if we ever find a way to show YouTube) is have a rolling course intro page that can play as delegates come in to our courses. Or, it would be great to use in our Internet Skills course. We let the delegates pick their own topic, and ask them to run Google searches on web search, maps, news etc. It’s a way of highlighting that there are different kinds of searches you can do on Google- you aren’t limited to the home page search box. Could be a good lesson for our Google users, and it’ll be a bit fun and different. If only we had YouTube. Damn!!
Google is an advertising company. 97% of its revenue comes from carrying adverts.
Google monitors your search history and will bias future search results accordingly. That’s one reason why everyone’s search results differ.
Google will produce different search results depending on the order in which you type your search terms. You can also promote a search term simply by repeating it.
Use + before a search term to force Google to search on the term as you typed it (You may have noticed Google now automatically ‘corrects’ search terms it thinks you’ve misspelt).
Use ~ before a search term to also search for synonyms.
Apparently Google has been supporting proximity searching for years – but didn’t advertise it. For example ‘Three AROUND(3) mice’ will produce results where the words ‘three’ and ‘mice’ occur within 3 words of each other.
Phil terms Google Advanced Search ‘Simplified Search’, because that’s what it does if you have a complex search.
The new filter for ‘Reading level’ was tested by US teachers categorising hundreds of results. May be useful if you want to just retrieve results for users with low reading ability or children. Otherwise not much use.
Use the ‘Find pages that link to the page’ function to help judge the quality of that page. ie if good quality pages are linking to it, then that’s an indicator the page is of good quality too.
Like Google’s Wonder Wheel (a graphical display of your search results – useful for showing related concepts), Google’s newly launched Image Swirl does the same thing for image searching.
Running a search, then clicking on ‘Related Searches’ (on the left hand column) will produce a list of similar searches you could do.
Define option has now been replaced by the dictionary.
Social Media search engines:
These search for content for social media tools. Socialmention is a good one. Also Who’s Talkin.
Google Realtime. Searches for mentions of your keywords in Twitter and Facebook. Includes a timeline which works better than Twitter’s.
According to Phil, we’ll see more of this as search engines adapt to search content produced by social media tools.
Other Google searches:
Google Discussions. Searches discussion sites like Google Groups, Forums, Flickr groups etc.
Google Squared. Creates a spreadsheet of content. Very new and only seems to work if your search terms are broad enough. A bit rubbish.
Google Custom Search. This has been around for years, but I’ve never got round to seriously thinking about it. Now having thought about it, I think we could use this to good effect in our Library's subject pages. Essentially you’re creating your own Google search engine, where you add a list of websites you want to search. That way you can still offer a Google search to users, but it will only retrieve results from the sites you’ve included. As we already have lists of quality websites we’ve included in our Netvibes pages and our subject pages, it would be a simple matter to take those sites and put them into a Google search. The link to each Google search would be at the top and centre of each subject page.
‘Me on the Web’ is a brand new Google tool that allows you to set up Alerts for mentions of you on the web, plus other resources to help monitor and control your online identity. We can use the Alerts feature within my workplace. But the other resources require at least IE8.
Other search tools:
There is only 4%-10% of overlap between the major search engines. Ranking Thumbshots illustrates this point well.
ixquick and duckduckgo search engines are private in that unlike Google, they don’t keep your search history or monitor your searches.
Addict-o-matic. I kind of like this. It’s a meta search engine that displays results in a dashboard.
Wolfram Alpha is a search engine for facts and figures. And Worldometers is good for global stats.
Quora. A ‘question and answer’ tool that connects to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, thereby enabling you to ask a question to all your Twitter and Facebook followers, and see their questions and answers too.
Flipboard. One to watch. Currently only on iPad, but will be launched on iPhone later this year. It turns your Facebook and Twitter content into a ‘social magazine’ format. If you can’t wait till then, try Pulse News (available on iPad, iPhone and Android).
Use Trunk.ly to get a weekly email listing all the links provided by your followers’ social media accounts. ‘Never forget a link’ is its motto. Think of it as a social bookmarking tool for Twitter, Facebook or any other social media tool.
Lanyrd links to your Twitter followers, looks for mentions of forthcoming events in their Tweets and displays details those forthcoming events in a calendar. Receive updates in a daily email.
Check out Phil’s website and subscribe to Phil’s search blog and his social media blog.