Google is your friend, if you ask nicely…
Among some recent stats I found, some stand out for this section and why it matters.
All but a few search engines use Google as the backbone or infrastructure. A good %, if not majority of websites use 1 or more google related
services. Some other stats?
Number of Google Searches in July 2013: 12.9 Billion
Google share of US Search Market: 67%
Number of Monthly Unique Visitors to Google Sites: 192 Million
% of online ad revenue earned by Google: 33%
2012 Search Engine
The bottom line is, love ‘em or hate ‘em…you do use them (realize it or not) and they do have data on you. Like it or don’t….They have data
on everyone and everything else
too! So why not make full use of what they make available? They are one of the best sets of simple tools,
accessible to anyone and without downloads or installs needed, let alone a tech to help. So, we’ll start there.
Time….they have a time machine! !
Google has a time machine?! Why…yes. As a matter of fact, they do. On news and events research, it’s literally your single most valuable
ally. These days, any number of sources of events try to swamp the search engines to insure their side or spin, spins to the top. This isn’t about
spin though, but the impossibility that makes to FIND something of VALUE not related to that day’s ‘big news’. So… about that time
machine…… Let’s look at Syrian Chemical Weapons and just how long those things have been around.
If you simply type in Syrian Chemical Weapons, you get this:
Let’s say someone on a thread mentioned without much to support it, Syria has had the weapons forever and even used them before, a long time ago.
How would you go about finding that out? Would you type in a different search string like “Syrian past uses of Chemical Weapons”? Well…. You
could do that. You could also sort a half dozen pages of modern Newsweek to the NYT’s reporting their version of what happened 30 years ago. What do
if you do have the date range? You might type in a special new search term with your general date until you get it right? (That can take a really
long time…and I wish I didn’t know that personally…lol).
Meet the Google Date Filtering Tool.
After you have clicked on the above in the order they appear? You come to this:
That’s pretty useful and at one time, I spent the time it requires to flip back through the months to get the range I wanted. Let me make a very
useful tool, even easier. Simply click the first of the current month, like shown above. It beats dozens of clicks. Then, change the years. Like
Now let’s see what our little trip back in time got us, shall we?
Notice, the search term didn’t change one bit. The links it comes up with are what they appear to be and they do load to contemporary reports,
written in full context of the times and perspective.
I find that far more valuable. We have hindsight to “calibrate” out the spin of a decade or 3 ago. We don’t have that to even try and guess the
validity through the spin of current reporting. This is the FAST way to pull source data, when source is simply what happened with a current story
…outside the current times.
You’ll notice, the articles are even diverse and give a broader picture of things for that time period.
Boolean Search Terms……wait, Boo what?
It’s an odd term, but computer nerds are odd people. Not unlike many professions,
they even made up their own language in some things. Boolean is a term many people are not familiar with. It’s really just techie-speak for saying
‘Get a search to find what I want and not everything I don’t!’
How Boolean works for normal folks in Google:
Exclude a word
Add a dash (-) before a word or site to exclude all results that include that word. This is especially useful for synonyms like Jaguar the car brand
and jaguar the animal.
jaguar speed -car or pandas -site:wikipedia.org
Another very useful one would be:
Search for an exact word or phrase
Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words. This option is handy when searching for song lyrics or a line from literature.
"imagine all the people"
What the above is also handy for is searching the source of a quote or a specific piece of data, but nothing else. Say someone has a quote but
didn’t source it or you want to see how many other sources carried the same story? Pull a lengthy enough stretch out for the order of words to be
fairly unique and just copy it into Google with the quotes. You should, on the first screen, get other places where that sentence or string of words
has been used.
In addition to the above, “AND” doesn’t work for me, but + sure does. Let’s say you are doing a report on Hiroshima, Japan and radiation info.
……right now would be absurd to expect to find what you want if it’s from the 40’s…unless we’re at the anniversary of course. So, type this
and you’ll get a very different result:
Japan Radiation +Hiroshima
The + sign should be at the word you want required as an added term in every result. No space between them. This is useful in a good many ways.
There is more than one type of search?
Don’t laugh too quick now. Seeing that other options exist and actually using
them can be a good distance apart.
Some notice I can be Johnny on the Spot for a chart, graphic or other image for a thread. Often extremely quick, since ATS Live display is often
running on one of my monitors to catch interesting threads. Well.. How? I’m not web searching for websites that contain the chart I want or the
graphic of interest. I am directly searching for the image itself.
If you type in, say, “US debt ceiling raises” and you get a bunch of news articles and stories which can take a half hour to go through
….without ever finding something useful to share in a format like ATS. However…… Without touching anything else, click on “Images” as shown
above and see how it changes.
That came, second row and third over from the top of the results ….on the Image side of Google.
Google is absolutely relentless and voracious. It eats everything, and I mean indexing. If something is up and is connected outward in almost any way,
Google will find it and index it. This includes the millions of pages of Government documents. Page by page, Graphic by graphic.
If you type in:
ST Louis Federal Reserve M Numbers
… and you do this on the Image side? You will not only get the M numbers from the St Louis Fed (Which track raw money in circulation figures, among
other things..) in easy to read graphic form, but you will find Photo copies of news articles from 1913, and readable in that format, to see how it
was reported when it all began.