Google Search: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

techie column beam

Digital Thoughts for Non Techies – a monthly column in Skerries News

Just Google it!” That’s what many of us do when we come across something we don’t know, or to settle a dispute. That actor in the movie everyone seems to be talking about. The difference between cappuccino and latte. Ray O’Shaughnessy. Ham Sandwich.  Population of Fingal.

Over the years, search has gotten a lot simpler, and a lot more sophisticated at the same time.

You can now just type in questions, and Google makes sense of them for you. Like:
How to draw a minion, how to eat a pomelo, how to bleed radiators. (All of these were among the top 10 “how to” searches in 2015!)

what is skerries like

Google even personalises search results, based on what it knows about you – some people find this useful, others creepy. I tend to be more on the “useful” side – as I teach coding to kids, for instance, the “Scratch” I’m interested in is the one to do with computer programming, not the one to do with DJs, nor the one dealing with the paint of cars; and when I type in “Doctor Who Episodes” I get results relating to a certain BBC television programme, not something about a doctor who deals with episodes of, say, influenza.
Google also knows where you are (if you allow it to see your location), so when I for example type in “weather,” it shows me the current temperature in Skerries. Handy!

weather

Beware, however, of advertisements that look like search results… A lot of the time, the top links have a small yellow rectangle on the left-hand side, with the word “Ad” in it. And these are not the actual results (also known as “organic search results”), but – you guessed it – ads! Especially when looking for flights or insurances, you might end up in the wrong (and more expensive) place…

ryanair not ryanair

By the way, if you see something on the internet that you’d like to search for, simply select the word(s) with your mouse, then right-click and click on “Search Google for”…””. Google will open up a new tab with the results for you.  No need to type!

right click to search

There are some other great search tricks – such as:

  • get information on a flight if you know the flight number – try “EI105” – very handy if picking up people from the airport, you can easily check if the plane is on time!
  • get the weather forecast for any place – try “forecast Vancouver”
  • set a timer (type in “set timer 10 min”)
  • type in “translate [foreign word]” and you’ll get the translation straight away, no need to click anywhere else, Google will even find the language for you – try “translate do rogha”
  • type in a maths problem – the answer will be in the search results, together with a calculator app! Try “56088 / 456”
  • find out when your favourite series is on again, or was on last: “ros na run episodes”
    This one is also great if you want to quickly get to a recap of an episode you may have missed.

Insider Tip: Seven search terms for those who like the (slightly) unexpected…

Type in (or of course select, right-click and select “search Google for…”) the following and see what happens!

  • Do a barrel roll
  • Google in 1998
  • Blink html
  • Fun facts
  • askew
  • zerg rush
  • Atari Breaktout [then click on image search]

And possibly my favourite:
– A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

a long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Did you try any of the suggestions here? What do you find Google most useful for? What would you like me to explore in one of my next monthly columns? Let me know!
This monthly column on all things digital from a Skerries perspective is written by Sabine McKenna, who has been using computers since the 1980s, and set up Creative Computing Classes Skerries in 2012. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for future columns, you can contact here at Sabine@cccSkerries.com

The above article appeared in the mid-January 2016 edition of Skerries News.

Jan mid 2016 Skerries News front page

Hour of Code 2015

This December, practically all cccSkerries groups are participating in the Hour of Code. Starting with code.org/mc we watched Jeb of Mojang / Minecraft fame and then worked our way through a coding tutorial – amusing for those who can already code, and a good introduction for those who can’t. Why not try it yourself? 🙂

It being Minecraft-themed added to its attractiveness, of course.

And then there are those of us who like Doctor Who.

So we are trying their Game Maker platform as well. This is more assembling a game than actual coding, but worth a go as well, especially to those of us who are Whovians and maybe find the time until the Christmas Special that little bit long…

Hit the pic to open it!

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By the way, if you would like to join one of our cccSkerries classes, or know somebody who would, we have limited availability at the moment for Introduction to Coding, Minecraft Club, and Computer Wizards. Start in January!

See cccSkerries.com/weekly or contact me at Sabine@cccSkerries.com!