The Internet is probably our main source for gathering information, entertainment, and communication. We spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day. That’s about 100 days a year, and half of that is spent on our tablets or mobile phones. If we aren’t being entertained, shopping, or communicating with friends, we are looking for things. And where do we do that? Right – mostly on Google. Each day, Google alone processes more than three billion searches. Can you believe it? That’s about forty thousand each second.
“Gone are the days of going to the library and searching for information in encyclopedias. If you need to find a fact, a recent news story or a computer class, you can take your search to Google. … With its millions upon millions of web pages, the Internet can be overwhelming, and your Google search can yield a result with several thousands of pages.” Senior Planet
Seniors are like everybody else. Wiser, better-mannered, and nicer, but mostly like everybody else. Seniors search Google for things like everybody else too. For example?
It’s really hard to think of something we don’t turn to the internet for information about. I guess that’s why we call it the Information Superhighway!
Just because 95% of the search queries we perform happen on Google doesn’t mean they are the only search machine. There is DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Yahoo, to name but three others. While Google has special algorithms to ensure searching is simple, we have some basic search tips that will improve how you search on Google -- or any search engine. Just try them out!
Are you using your mobile phone or your desktop laptop or computer to search for things on Google?
There is no magic difference between the two. Regardless of the device, your search begins in the same way, albeit on different size screens!
The big differences to remember when searching for something on your phone are:
If that last one sounds scary, well, Google is trying to show you search results that are important to you -- not to Margery or Frank or the kids down the street. This is why you may see search results that others don’t. If you don’t want this service, you can, among other things, also search in your browser’s “incognito mode.”
“Google collects a lot of data about its users and uses this info to “personalize” your future queries. An easy way to avoid this? Open an “incognito” window to carry out your web browsing, clear your web history and avoid cookies when possible.” allconnect.com
Perhaps you’ve heard of the KISS principle? Keep It Short and Simple. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for; if you keep it simple, you will probably be rewarded with success. Searching is no different; just stick to the basics of your search.
Start with a simple search like where’s the closest post office? If you are logged into Google or using your phone, you can simply type “post office” and Google will show you the locations closest to you.
You can also add a few descriptors to specify your part of the city. If you live in the Clarkdale area of Baldwin Vista, California, you can type “post office baldwin vista clarkdale.”
You don’t need to use your fingers to search when voice search is a thing. This can save you time and might be safer than trying to type while you’re cooking or driving. Or walking! Do you have a voice assistant at home? Alexa, Siri, or Google Home? You can search without even typing. You can also use your phone’s "Hey Google" voice search function. Use your voice to search for things and get directions. For example, to see if there's snow in the weather forecast, you can say, "Hey Google, do I need snow boots tomorrow?"
“Google Voice Search lets you complete a Google search by speaking your question out loud. Google Search is available on PC and Mac with the Chrome browser. You can also use Google Voice search on Android phones, Windows 8 Devices, iPhones, and iPads by downloading and installing the Google app.” WikiHow.com
Our parents weren’t walking about Google search, but their advice holds today. Think before we talk. Think before we search. Google isn’t a mind reader – yet! What words we type, added to what Google thinks we want to know, added to what other people want to know about a word are factors in the list of search results we receive.
It’s not always possible, but if we can choose words that we think will be used by the website we are looking for, we can get a more precise and accurate result. Perhaps in your family, people said “oven to bake” when most people (and websites Google indexes) would say “casserole.” A chat might get better results than a chinwag. Searching for stomach hurts might not be as good a search term as a stomach ache.
Google is learning more and more words – but you can get a faster result if you think about which words to use before searching.
Google has a lot of data, and from that data, it has learned a lot. How much? Here is a comparison for you. Data is measured in bytes. Megabytes and gigabytes are terms you have probably heard. Well, the largest format, so far, is an exabyte. An exabyte is about 1 billion gigabytes. A normal movie we watch on TV is about 7 gigabytes of data.
If the earth were the size of a gigabyte, the sun would be the size of an exabyte. Google stores about 15 exabytes of data on its computers. That’s about 15 times the size of our sun. About 1 billion movies. Impressed yet? Well, Google knows quite a lot, which means we can forget the little things like spelling and capitalization of words when we search. Google knows what we mean.
“When you do a Google search, don’t worry about whether your search terms are spelled correctly. Just do the best that you can, and google will offer a ‘corrected’ search. For example, if you can remember the right combinations of e’s and a’s in work misspelled like ‘permanemtnly?’ Submit it to Google misspelled. Google will correct it.” Senior Tech Club
Below we tried to trick Google with our two lazy searches for “the Seattle Mariners” and “New Yorck chiescake.” Google was too smart for us.
We already talked about Google’s Simple Know feature. This saves you time, and combined with your voice assistant, can save you from needing to pick up your phone. For most of our searches, all we need is a quick answer. You should know that some features don’t work in all regions of the country, and if you are logged in to Google already (via your Gmail account), you will get very specific and local answers to your questions.
Google Weather: You can search to see what the weather will be anywhere in the world.
Google Dictionary: Find the definition of any word - and the spelling (great for Scrabble)!
Google Calculations: Need to know how much you won at bridge last night? Ask Google.
Google Conversions: Find out what that calamari sandwich in Madrid costs in US dollars.
Google Sports: You can find out your favorite team's game times, schedule, and standings.
Google Facts: On the right-hand side of your search screen, Google's Knowledge Graph gives you immediate information about anything you want to know. From Beethoven to Donuts, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Marilyn Monroe.
Google Image, Video, News, and Shopping Search: Google image search is a popular destination. You’ve probably already seen this one! You can easily sort the results of your search into basic information and shopping, news, images, and much more.
About 80% of all searches we make are looking for information. Google calls this a “simple know” or a “know.” It’s so simple that you often don’t even need to go to another website. Just Google “the exchange rate of the dollar,” “the temperature in San Antonio,” or “who won the Super Bowl in 1954?”
The remaining 20% of searches are made by people looking to visit a specific website, buy something, or go somewhere. Everything we know and do is available on the internet. Now you have these Google search tips, what will you search for today?
How will you be searching today? Do you use Google, DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo? We’d love to know. Then go ahead and share this with your friends. Want to read more articles like this? We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter, where we send weekly emails with helpful and fun articles.
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