Your Web browser is not your operating system! Nor is it your search engine. There’s a surprising amount of confusion, and it leads to anxiety. In fact, there’s plenty of time to panic.
Tips on Web searching have been around as long as the Web itself. But all you really need to know is this: Start typing whatever is on your mind. The more specific you get, the better. For instance, we Googled “British pronunciation of pasta.” If we’d Googled “British pronunciations,” it would have taken a long time to find what we want. (Incidentally, the British pronounce “pasta” to rhyme with “fast-a.”) Don’t bother with the complicated search tips you read from time to time. They involve colons, minus signs and other unnecessary symbols. Just type in your query. This works especially well when someone sends you an extremely outrageous political quote. Take the first sentence, copy and paste into a search […]
Here’s a wakeup study for election time: Recent research shows that we trust the Internet — maybe too much. In a test of undecided voters, the name and favorable information about any candidate that came in at the top of their search results, made them likely to switch to that candidate.
InstantCheckmate.com turns you into a private investigator, like Paul Drake in the old Perry Mason TV shows. Besides a person’s address and phone number, you can get police records, which include everything from speeding tickets to sexual offenses, background reports, marriage and divorce info, and a history of lawsuits. You pay $23 for one month, $59 for six.
A common reader question is how do they find something we have mentioned in a column, and sometimes they ask how to find things we’ve never mentioned. Either way, the answer is the same: Google it, or Yahoo it, or Bing it.
If you type almost any computer problem into Google’s search box — just literally type it in — you will almost always get a solution. This also works for searching newspapers and magazines online. Google’s search works better than most publications’ built-in search function.
ShinySearch.com used to be called “PimpMySearch.com.” What it does is change the look of your Google search page. Put your own name at the top, or any other text, and choose some nice graphics. One of the examples was a Mickey Mouse screen; looked great.
IBM is building a computer to challenge the best contestants on the TV show “Jeopardy.” But how would ordinary search engines do in comparison? Stephen Wolfram, founder of the company that makes Mathematica software and the calculating site WolframAlpha.com, did an analysis of 200,000 Jeopardy clues to find how quickly and correctly the leading search engines find answers. As you can see from the chart, Google wins by a nose, except against Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings, who blows them all out of the water. You can read Wolfram’s analysis here.