Google is a good tool when you are performing basic and preliminary searches to get a general idea of your topic.
Getting the most out of Google takes time, some savvy, and lots of creativity.
This guide will help you get the most out of Google searches and provides you with information about other Google tools. For instance, did you know that:
Explore this guide to learn more about the powerful world of Google.
You probably use Google often and have for quite a while. However, research has shown that most users lack some basic information about how to effectively search the Internet using Google.
Here are some useful techniques to help you become a better Google user.
Use Synonyms combined with “OR”
There are many ways to state your search term or topic. If you are searching for “female” consider using “girl” or “woman” as well.
Combine the synonyms you have listed with "OR." The word “OR” must be in capitals otherwise Google will ignore it.
Example: global warming OR climate change
Use quotation marks around phrases to be sure Google searches for the phrase and not the single words. This is useful when you are searching for proper names.
Example: “Jack Layton”
If you want to search within a specific website you can so it by entering your search term followed by site:sitedomain.
Example: You are interested in “leadership” within the federal government of Canada agencies. Entering leadership site:gc.ca will return results about leadership from Government of Canada websites.
Use the minus sign "-" to exclude terms
Example: jockey -underwear will return results about horse jockeys, and exclude anything about the brand of underwear.
Search Website Titles
You can make a search more precise by limiting your search words to the title of the page e.g. allintitle:climate change
Search for specific document types:
You can search for specific document types by adding the command filetype: to the end of your search. This allows you to search for pdfs, PowerPoint presentations, Excel files and others e.g. filetype:pdf, filetype:ppt, filetype:xls
For more information about Basic Google search strategies see Basic Search Help.
It is important to know how to use the features in Advanced Search. Sometimes they work efficiently and other times you might get puzzling results.
You can limit your search by:
To learn more about these features see Advanced Google Help.
Advanced Search gives you options that help you refine your search significantly. Try Advanced Search when you are getting thousands or millions of results in your Basic Search. In Advanced Search you can:
Want to re-run that perfect search you did earlier? There's an easy way to find it again; however, there's a catch.
Be sure you are logged into your Google Account when you start your search, so you can retrieve it later.
Your history will be listed chronologically, and you can conveniently use the calendar to find earlier searches.
Find a particular site or search within a range of sites.
If you are looking for information from a particular site use the "site:" operator to limit your searches. For example:
Use Google spell checker.
Try this quick way to see if you got the spelling correct. Just enter the word in the search box and click search. If it's an ooops, Google will give you a correct spelling.
Want to know the time in Japan? Norway? Iceland? Enter "time" in the Google search box followed by the name of the city or country. For example: try time Incheon
Multiplication? Subtraction? Fraction division? Use Google calculator. Try entering a calculation like 227 * (345/4 + 23) or 4*3+(sqrt 20)^44=. Too much? Check out Google's calculator information sheet where you will find the rules for trig functions, algorithm base 10, circumference to the diameter of a circle, physical constants and much more.
Find flight arrival and departure times. For example: AC 221
Find currency conversions. For example: 100 EUR in dollars
Look up a movie. Type - movies True Grit - into the search box.
Change inches to centimetres? Kilometres to miles? Quickly convert between different units of measurement. Type the units of measurement you wish to convert to and from into the search box: chains to rods
Google Alerts is an updating service you can set to get emails based on the terms of your search. You will need a Google Account.
How will this help you get information? You can:
To prevent plagiarism and copyright infringement, obtain permission for and credit the source of all images, graphs, photos, and other artwork.
Check out the following copyright-friendly sources of visuals:
With Library Links, you can access research licensed by TRU libraries in Google Scholar. Library Links will automatically be active for computers on campus, but you can follow a few simple steps to set it up on your home computer as well.
1. Go to the Google Scholar homepage: http://scholar.google.ca
2. If you have a Google account, sign in. This will activate Library Links on every computer on which you sign in to your account.
3. Open up the menu.
4. Click on Settings
5. In the left menu, click on Library Links.
6. Using the Search bar, search for TRU or Thompson Rivers University.
7. Make sure that the box next to "Thompson Rivers University - Find it @ TRU" is checked.
8. Click Save.
How does Discover compare to Google Scholar?
The TRU library provides an alternative to Google Scholar using the Ebsco Discovery Service, or Discover. Discover is an effective way of finding full text resources available through TRU Library. Scholar is particularly useful for finding unpublished academic articles or open access resources hosted on academic web servers.
Discover and Google Scholar are search engines that let you quickly search across countless numbers of scholarly information sites and publications; however, each search different selections of scholarly content. While you will find some overlap, some content in Discover is not available in Google Scholar, and visa-versa. The two search engines perform relevance ranking in very different ways.
Features unique to Discover
Features unique to Google Scholar
A quick overview of Google Books
|How to Search||
Book Search works just like web search. Try a search on Google Books or on Google.com. When Google finds a book with content that contains a match for your search terms, Google will link to it in your search results.
|Browse books online||If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given Google permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy.|
|Learn more||Google has created reference pages for every book so you can quickly find all kinds of relevant information: book reviews, web references, maps and more. See an example.|
|Where Google gets books||Currently, Google is connecting readers with books in two ways: the and the Library Project and the Partner Program.|
What can Google Docs do for you?! You can create and share your ideas, projects, assignments, and spreadsheets from anywhere you have a computer and Internet connection.
With your free Google account, your saved documents can be accessed and shared with others. Your documents cannot be found through general web searches unless you decide to use the publishing feature.
When you have created a document or spreadsheet that you want to publish on the Web, Google Docs has an easy process for you.
The next time you are working on a class project or assignment, get it together with Google Docs. It is so easy to do!
Learn more about Google Docs
Google Drive allows you to centrally store your files in the cloud. You can also install the desktop and mobile application to access your files from your computer or Android or iOS mobile device. Google Drive's built-in sync capability ensures that your files, folders, and Google Docs are the same on all your devices.
Google Docs is built into Google Drive. The Google Docs collaboration suite includes five different applications: Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms, and Drawing.
With Google Drive, you can create and share word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, and collaborate with others on group projects. Students and teachers can create documents using these state-of-the-art tools, then communicate and collaborate with each other in real time right inside a web browser window.
Some of the things you can do with Google Drive:
Check out the Google documents Getting Started Guide.
Check out the Google spreadsheets Getting Started Guide.
Currently Google offers a feature that will notify users when collaborators make changes to or edit shared documents only for spreadsheets. To receive an email notification of changes to spreadsheets that you either have created or that have been shared with you, in your spreadsheet, click Tools>Notification Rules or Share>Set Notification Rules.
How can Google Finance help you with your research?
Google finance is useful when you are looking for basic information about a compnay, stocks, funding, etc. Here are a few features that will help you focus and refine your searches.
Use both the company name and ticker symbol to get information on:
Financial News Stories
Aggregated from over 4,500 English news sources, Google Finance groups stories by topics allowing you to see several different opinions on a single issue and plotted chronologically.. There are company summary pages with financial review features.
News stories are correlated to market data from parallel time frames showing you the relationship between them. You can quickly see how the market responds to news stories for a specific company.
Putting together a presentation where a map will enhance your work?
Google Maps enables you to look up and study addresses in many other countries. You can:
Google Maps has many easy-to-use features that allow you to:
See Google Maps Tips for Life for many details on how to leverage the power of Google Maps.
Here are some examples of how you can use Google maps in your course work:
Google Mars is created through collobrations with NASA researchers at Arizona State University. Working with Google, they have created some detailed scientific maps of Mars. Google Mars works the same as Google maps, complete with landmarks and other features.
You can get to Google Mars through Google Earth.
Get to Google Mars through Google Earth.
When you first launch Google Mars you see an Elevation view with bright colours indicating various altitudes. There is a convenient scale at the lower left of the screen.
Navigation is similar to Google Maps:
Other map views are:
In either of these views you can toggle between features like:
With ocean in Google Earth, you can:
|Dive beneath the surface and visit the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench|
|Explore the ocean with top marine experts including National Geographic and BBC|
|Learn about ocean observations, climate change, and endangered species|
|Discover new places including surf, dive, and travel hot spots and shipwrecks|
Get started with Google Sky by downloading Google Earth. From a drop down menu choose the "switch to sky" item. Your first vision of the sky are the constellations Pegasus, Libra, and Virgo.
Click on an image of interest and a description bubble appears offering information and photographs on:
Use the Google Sky Layers feature to truly explore this application. Try the Backyard Astronomy feature to observe the sky as you would through a pair of binoculars. Choose from other layers:
"Google Earth is an interactive mapping application that allows users to navigate (or "fly") the entire globe, viewing satellite imagery with overlays of roads, buildings, geographic features, and the like. Educators can use it to assess and bolster students' visual literacy. Students can use it to develop a context for spatial and cultural differences globally."
Source: Educause, 7 things You Should Know About Google Earth
Availbe in three versions:
Full-featured access to Google Earth
3D maps in your browser
Google Earth in the palm of your hand
Check out the Google Earth YouTube Channel for video showing intermediate and advanced features of Google Earth:
Google Earth has a broad scope of coverage and dozens of features, for more help click Google Earth Help.
Evolutionarily Distinct Globally Endangered (EDGE) species are mapped through Google Earth Outreach. Find details of each species by using the pop-up balloon feature on the map providing you with:
Google News is a "computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from more than 4,500 English-language" news agencies. You can personalize your Google News page to get a more detailed or a wider perspective of world events. Google News retrieves stories through a computer algorithm evaluating online story frequency.
Google News has a set of newspapers that have been archived. These are papers that have been scanned in so that you can actually do searches across them. You will see when a paper has been active and when the scans are available. It is a great way to get into the topic in your area and start to understand what’s going on historically and what was considered to be important news during a point in time.
Using news filtering and time filtering you can see the original uses of words or phrases and start to understand how things start to link together and how ideas change over time.
Read more about Google News
There are many search strategies and tips to use when searching Google News. See Advanced News Search for help.
Google News [rovdes lists of all newspapers scanned and available in the Google News Archives. For a list of newspapers in Google News Archive (with links) look here.
Use Google News Advanced Search to help narrow your results to the region or dates you require.
For older articles, be sure to change the "Return articles added to Google News between" date to something that works for your search, i.e. 1/1/1901).
Google News Search Alerts
If you want to limit your Google alerts to news stories only.
Privacy considerations are increasing when using the internet and understanding what that means to you can be challenging and frustrating. Keeping your data and personal information secure is essential. Privacy is now viewed by European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as a right, which when breached can harm us by undermining our ability to maintain social relations. Research shows that a large number of people underestimate risks to their information privacy when online.
Hugi, Ulriki. Reviewing person's value of priviacy of online social networking. Internet Research 21(4). pp 384-407 DOI 10.1108/10662241111158290
"We have five privacy principles that describe how we approach privacy and user information across all of our products: