Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Tips on using Google, Part 2

Jan. 30, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

   If it's true that millions of students do all their homework on Wikipedia, we have a problem.
   Not because Wikipedia is bad. It's actually a great place for basic information. But if kids use only Wikipedia for homework research, they're missing out on a more advanced source -- Google Scholar.
   This service is one of many lesser known features of Google, the giant search site. I covered Google Images, Videos, Maps and News last week. (You can find that article on my site, at www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec012311.html.
   Google's extra services are all linked from the top left of the main Google page.
   Google Scholar, under "More" on the main Google page, locates technical and scholarly articles on the web. By choosing "Advanced Scholar Search," you can tell Google to hunt through legal journals, patents and court opinions. You can even specify particular subjects, including biology and environmental science, business and economics, chemistry, engineering, medicine, physics and astronomy, social sciences and arts.
   Another service you'll find linked at the top left is Google Shopping. Type what you're searching for and Google Shopping will find it at discount prices. You can sort the results by relevance (how accurately the results match your search) or price. I always use price. In a search just for this column, I found an external laptop CD playback drive for $10.
   Gmail is linked there also. It's a free e-mail service that stores all your old mail and filters out spam. We'll review Gmail's advantages later this year.
   Under the "More" link, in addition to Google Scholar, are five other search services -- Google Books, Finance, Translate, Blogs and Realtime.
   ⌦ 1. Google Books helps you locate quotes from millions (yes, millions) of books. In many cases, books that are no longer copyrighted will be available in full-text versions.
   ⌦ 2. Google Finance has financial reports, news on finance, stock prices, world market closings and related subjects.
   ⌦ 3. Google translate translates text you type or paste into a box to and from any of about 50 languages.
   ⌦ 4. Google blogs searches blogs (informal websites usually run by a single person).
   ⌦ 5. Google Realtime shows continuously updated search results, showing a frequency graph of how many searches were done on the topic of your choice.
   Next week: 10 tips that will make you a Google search expert.