September 5, 2014 • 2014: Nashville
Google: Beyond the White Screen
Google Media outreach lead and speaker Nicholas Whitaker, gave an overall view Friday at Excellence in Journalism 2014 on how to go well beyond Google’s main search page. The company’s co-founder and CEO Larry Page once said of a perfect search engine to be a tool that “should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want.”
That’s when Advanced Google Search and Google Trends comes into play to support your search for specific items in an easier, more efficient way.
Here are some tips to best use Advanced Google Search when in a time crunch:
Instead of digging through dozens of sites in the search box, type in the important words of what you need. For example ebola virus in west Africa, in the “all these words” section. If you have an exact phrase or word that you want, place it with quotation marks around it: “Ebola virus.” Eliminate unnecessary words in the search box by using the minus sign before words you want: – South Africa.
Users can specify the type of file format most interested. Type in an .xls file if you need a spreadsheet in the file type section after you have filled out the other search boxes, or just pick any format type. Further your search by usage rights, language, region, and more to get the best results.
Let’s say you have a file on your computer and you’re looking for similar images. Google Image Search can pull up that for you. Click on the camera icon next to the search engine, and it gives you the option to search via the image’s URL or the actual image itself. You don’t even have to have the full image, just a segment of it will do fine.
Trying to find the specific source of an image to debunk its authenticity can be tricky. By either downloading its URL or pasting the image into the search bar, Image Search finds the exact image or similar. The visit page option brings you to the original page where it was located and you can attain the correct attribution. If the image was obscure, it could mean it was taken right off of a phone or the photographer didn’t put in the right metadata. Be sure and double check the copyright licensing information associated with each Google image within the search tools tab.
There are three main parts to Google Trends: Hot Searches, Top Charts, and Explore. The search tools available for these trend tools help navigating specific topics you are looking for.
Here you’ll find nearly live search results that also double as a visualizer. They are a great addition to any newsroom that can be displayed on a monitor. Hot Searches displays the Top 10 searches for any particular region, where you can select the headline and narrow it down by month, week, and a particular day. You can subscribe to these and have them sent to your inbox to receive customized alerts.
Top Charts can be specified by category, whether you’re looking for trends in politics or in entertainment. Narrow results by country, time range, and more. Top Charts is less frequently updated but can be of use with midterm elections coming up, as you can compare trending search results from today to past elections.
Explore allows users to add or compare topics and displays the results in a visual manner, then made available for embedding in news stories or further sharing. The results are shown in bar graphs, maps, charts and — best of all, not static. The animated results can be great to keep readers engaged, championed Whitaker. Again, as with the other search features, users can further discovery efforts by region, time range and language.
For more tips, check out google.com/mediatools