Frist Multipurpose Room B
Launched in 1998, Google’s stated its mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” And so it is. Today, everyone Googles – in the U.S, about 12 billion times a month (including search engines that aren’t Google). We are mostly pleased with the results we get. How can it be that we give an automated system a couple of words and it finds reasonably relevant documents among one hundred billion or so possibilities? Will our satisfaction with these tools increase or decrease as the Web and our expectations grow?
At the March 4 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Computer Science Professor Andrea LaPaugh gave a peek “under the hood” of major search engines. Core techniques range from word occurrence analysis for text documents, which originating in the 1960s, to Web linking analysis, pioneered by Google’s 1998 PageRank document ranking method.
You may be a typical Google searcher who simply pops in a word or two in the Google search box and hopes for the best? As it turns out, Google has placed impressive functionality within that seemingly simple search box.
At OIT’s January 9 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar Nancy Pressman Levy, the Head of Princeton University’s Donald E. Stokes Library for Public and International Affairs, introduced a range of basic Google searching tips that will help users to maximize the power of Google.
Nancy showed that you can limit the results of your searches [nutrition -recipes] by using a “-” in front of terms that you want to exclude. You can use quotation marks to search for an entire phrase [“telephone switch”]. You can use “OR” to obtain results that include either word [Pakistan OR Kashmir]. The command “define:” will provide definitions or expand abbreviations [define: technology]. You can get the weather or time anywhere in the world [weather: Lima], [time: Venice]. Google will even help you look up the performance of stocks [stocks: aapl].
At the Wednesday, January 10 Lunch ‘n Learn, John Hernandez and Wayne Bivens-Tatum presented All Things Google. Hernandez focused upon searching and new Google tools. Bivens-Tatum focused upon use of Google for managing content.
For those interested in basic information, Hernandez recommended the GoogleGuide.
For trends in web searching, he recommended the Google Zeitgeist, a sanitized summary of the most popular Google searches. For a more structured approach to searching, you can use Google’s directory. Like other search sites, the directory provides a topical orientation for those who prefer to drill down to information rather to search only through the main Google text-search box.