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Friday, July 06, 2007

Google Encyclopedic & Google Views

If you want more diversity in your search results, this Greasemonkey script replaces Google's ads with results from Image Search, Google Video, Wikipedia articles and definitions from There's no clever algorithm for the order of the panels, so you'll see them for every query that returns results. It's up to you to decide if the slower-loading multimedia results are more useful than Google's sponsored links. To install the script, you need Firefox and Greasemonkey. One additional tip: If you have a specialized search try to use "views". Just try to search for earthquake with the parameter view:timeline or view:map. This can be very useful. (Just click on the pictures to enlarge the image.)
Parts of his was seized 4 u at Google Operating System
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Saturday, June 16, 2007

20 Tips for More Efficient Google Search

For millions of people, Google is an indispensable search tool that they use every day, in all facets of their lives. From work or school, research, to looking up movies and celebrities to news and gossip, Google is the go-to search engine. But instead of just typing in a phrase and wading through page after page of results, there are a number of ways to make your searches more efficient. Some of these are obvious ones, that you probably know about. But others are lesser-known, and others are known but not often used. Use this guide to learn more about, or be reminded of, some of the best ways to get exactly what you're looking for, and quickly.
  1. Either/or. Google normally searches for pages that contain all the words you type in the search box, but if you want pages that have one term or another (or both), use the OR operator -- or use the "|" symbol (pipe symbol) to save you a keystroke. [dumb | little | man]
  2. Quotes. If you want to search for an exact phrase, use quotes. ["dumb little man"] will only find that exact phrase. [dumb "little man"] will find pages that contain the word dumb and the exact phrase "little man".
  3. Not. If you don't want a term or phrase, use the "-" symbol. [-dumb little man] will return pages that contain "little" and "man" but that don't contain "dumb".
  4. Similar terms. Use the "~" symbol to return similar terms. [~dumb little man -dumb] will get you pages that contain "funny little man" and "stupid little man" but not "dumb little man".
  5. Wildcard. The "*" symbol is a wildcard. This is useful if you're trying to find the lyrics to a song, but can't remember the exact lyrics. [can't * me love lyrics] will return the Beatles song you're looking for. It's also useful for finding stuff only in certain domains, such as educational information: ["dumb little man" research *.edu].
  6. Advanced search. If you can't remember any of these operators, you can always use Google's advanced search.
  7. Definitions. Use the "define:" operator to get a quick definition. [define:dumb] will give you a whole host of definitions from different sources, with links.
  8. Calculator. One of the handiest uses of Google, type in a quick calculation in the search box and get an answer. It's faster than calling up your computer's calculator in most cases. Use the +, -, *, / symbols and parentheses to do a simple equation.
  9. Numrange. This little-known feature searches for a range of numbers. For example, ["best books 2002..2007] will return lists of best books for each of the years from 2002 to 2007 (note the two periods between the two numbers).
  10. Site-specific. Use the "site:" operator to search only within a certain website. [ leo] will search for the term "leo" only within this blog.
  11. Backlinks. The "link:" operator will find pages that link to a specific URL. You can use this not only for a main URL but even to a specific page. Not all links to an URL are listed, however.
  12. Vertical search. Instead of searching for a term across all pages on the web, search within a specialized field. Google has a number of specific searches, allowing you to search within blogs, news, books, and much more: Blog Search, Book Search, Scholar, Catalogs, Code Search, Directory, Finance, Images, Local, Maps, News, Patent Search, Product Search & Video.
  13. Movies. Use the "movie:" operator to search for a movie title along with either a zip code or U.S. city and state to get a list of movie theaters in the area and show times.
  14. Music. The "music:" operator returns content related to music only.
  15. Unit converter. Use Google for a quick conversion, from yards to meters for example, or different currency: [12 meters in yards]
  16. Types of numbers: Google algorithms can recognize patterns in numbers you enter, so you can search for: Telephone area codes, UPC codes, stock quotes (using the stock symbol) etc.
  17. File types. If you just want to search for .PDF files, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets, for example, use the "filetype:" operator.
  18. Location of term. By default, Google searches for your term throughout a web page. But if you just want it to search certain locations, you can use operators such as "inurl:", "intitle:", "intext:", and "inanchor:". Those search for a term only within the URL, the title, the body text, and the anchor text (the text used to describe a link).
  19. Cached pages. Looking for a version of a page the Google stores on its own servers? This can help with outdated or update pages. Use the "cached:" operator.
  20. Answer to life, the universe, and everything. Search for that phrase, in lower case, and This was seized 4 u at via Lifehacker
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Google - the other part of my brain

There’s an interesting aspect of Google’s impact on our daily lives. The Internet is so useful - despite its quite chaotic organization - and Google is so good at retrieving information, that we don’t bother to remember anything anymore. How many times did you catch yourself typing some keywords into Google to get to a specific website? Do you realize that by doing this, you’ve subconsciously chosen to remember what keywords you need to type into Google instead of remembering the actual address of the web site in question? Your brain is telling you that you don’t need to remember these things because Google knows them all. Capital cities? Presidents? Math?
I used to be able to quickly convert pounds to kilograms. Currently, I lack this knowledge, because I know that Google has built-in unit conversion capabilities. Simply type X pounds to kilograms into Google and you get the answer. How hard it is to remember that 1 pound is 0.45359237, or 0.45 kilograms? Not that hard. But, there are many units that need to be converted. In the end, my brain gave up this battle, because it knows that Google already knows this stuff, and Google is always available. What happens if I’m abroad and need to quickly convert between pounds and kilograms? Problem.
James Thomas from CenterNetworks recently did an interesting experiment - he tried to completely eliminate Google from his online life. He doesn’t go into too many details, but this quote is revealing enough: “I’m not going to lie, life without Google has been hell online.” Yes, there are alternatives, but Google is so damn good at what it does, that going without it makes gathering information - and we’re all becoming information junkies - much, much harder.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How many times did you use Google to find an article within a specific website instead of using this website’s search?

How many times were you offline and annoyed because you couldn’t just look some info up on Google?

How often do you use Google to do really simple tasks, the type of tasks you used to easily do with pen and paper in highschool (like unit conversion, simple math, calculating time-zone differences)?

Let’s face it: we’re not exactly becoming brighter by using Google. In fact, in the traditional education sense, we’re getting stupider, at least with certain types of tasks. However, we’ve learned to do something else. We’ve learned how to use Google to get information. It sounds like an evolutionary step, a natural progression. Instead of using your brain, you’re using something else - something that works faster and easier. It will be interesting to see how this - if it keeps up, and my bet is that it will - will affect our ability to think in the future.
Google Operating System defines Google as “The other part of my brain”. They might be onto something there.
This was seized 4 u at Mashable


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Google Reader integrates Gmail inline, makes sharing easy

Google Reader just made it a lot easier to share feed items via email with friends who aren't savvy with feed readers.
The Email link at the bottom of each item nowreader-email.png pops up an inline email form that lets you address your message with the same autocomplete available for your Gmail contacts, add a note, and send the item in its entirety, images and all. Google Reader's shared items are intended to be the way you share items with Google Reader for the feed reader-savvy crowd, but I don't know of that many people who've ever done that. Email, on the other hand - god yes!
...and of course: Use Google Reader in line with Gmail with this great Greasemonkey script and Firefox!

This was seized 4 u at Lifehacker

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