Category Archives: Google

Keyword searches

The Internet is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool. One of the Internet’s best qualities is the seemingly endless amount of data it consists of. Any kind of information is just a few clicks away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… Wow!

The trick to finding the right information online is to track down the most appropriate search results. In order to do that, you must first think of the specific keywords that will lead you there. Keywords are a small selection of important words related to your query or information request.

The first step to finding information online is to use a search engine. Using a search engine, a person can type in their selected keywords, which in turn, generate the search results available. Sometimes you should think of other keywords you can try, if you do not find what you’re looking for with the keywords you’ve already tried. It’s important to note that many search engines are able to find similar or the same information. A short list of popular search engines includes:

www.google.ca

www.yahoo.com

www.bing.com

www.duckduckgo.com

To save some time and effort, only type specific keywords in the search bar, rather than entire questions. For example, if you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in your area, rather than typing, “Where is the nearest Indian restaurant in Toronto?” try typing “Toronto Indian restaurant”.

Google is likely the most popular search engine used by Canadians. There are a few tricks and shortcuts that can help improve your search results:

  • Use quotation marks to get results that contain exact words: “Indian restaurant”
  • Type define:(word) to quickly find the top definition of the word in question
  • If you’ve invested in stocks, type stocks:(symbol) to receive quick stock updates
  • Type weather:(city) to quickly get the current week’s weather
  • Type filetype:(.mp3, .avi…) if you’re looking for a specific type of file, like an mp3 format song, or an avi video

Happy searching!!

– Aneet Hundal (ETAG Volunteer Technology Writer)

Learn with Youtube

In addition to the ever-popular Google website, we have all likely visited Youtube for a variety of reasons, such as to view funny or entertaining videos, or to listen to our favourite selections of music; however it is also a virtual “gold mine” of very useful video information on just about anything in the world that you can imagine.

Read up a little more about Youtube on Wikipedia.

For example, if you just purchased a new television, camera, phone, or some other electronic device, and would like to know how to use it, YouTube just might be the answer. Alternatively, if you would simply like to know how to make peanut butter cookies (my favourite), or how to prepare some exotic meal, then why not let someone actually “show” you how to accomplish this?

Also, for those seeking technical knowledge such as how to use Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop or some other piece of computer software, there are thousands of instructional videos on YouTube to help you along, regardless of your technical skill level.

On a personal note, we recently had a new “in wall” wired timer switch installed in our home to control our outdoor lights. The device came with a “manual” of convoluted programming instructions that were far less than intuitive, and quite frankly, not very helpful at all. I turned to YouTube for assistance, and almost immediately found a video of someone actually showing me step-by-step how to program our exact device.

The trick when using YouTube is to know which “keywords” to use when searching, so that you are not bombarded with millions of videos that I would call “false positives”. In this sense, I would define a “false positive” occurring when too many results are returned (because some of the “keywords” matched), but they have little or nothing to do with the video that you are seeking. For more information about keywords, please check out Wikipedia

An excellent “keyword” to use when searching on YouTube is the word “tutorial”. This one word, when combined with other very precise “keywords” such as the make, size, and model number of your device for example, can limit the search to the very specific item in question, and most of the time you will find some kind soul out there in cyberspace who is more than willing to show you exactly how to do whatever it is that you need to do.

Another useful “keyword” to use if you are trying to learn something new from scratch, would be the word “beginner”. This can be very helpful for learning new technology for the first time, allowing you to start slowly and work your way up into more complex topics.

So, if you are the kind of person who learns via the “visual route”, why not give YouTube a try the next time that you need to know how to do something?

Even with the proper “keywords”, you will still likely receive some “false positives”, but with practice, you will learn how to narrow your search. As with anything in life, “your mileage may vary”, but I have personally been extremely satisfied with the seemingly endless supply of videos found at the YouTube website, and use it almost daily.

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

Trip Down Memory Lane

Do you remember your old home over seas, or what it was like to walk down the street in the neighbourhood you grew up in? What about your favourite restaurant you always visited as a child; do you know if it’s still there? Take a trip  down  memory lane! With the help of Google Maps, site seeing around the world has never been easier. Today we have the ability to virtually tour familiar streets and  explore distant lands we’ve never visited. It’s incredible how much detail is captured by both satellites and a camera mounted on top of a car!

With ease, you can take a virtual trip just about anywhere in the world instantly, without leaving the comfort of your home. Since Ann, a participant at ETAG’s Oakville location, was introduced to Google Maps she has not stopped visiting her homeland of Italy. She reminisces about the good times she had as a young girl with family and friends. She eagerly shows volunteers familiar places and landmarks she recognizes.  Ann certainly finds a lot of value in this tool.

Google Maps, originally called Google Local, was introduced to the world  in 2005. It can be  accessed through desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, with GPS capabilities. Google Maps has brought to life a spark  in some of ETAG’s participants, that  can only be achieved through technology. Ann looks forward to flying over to Italy in the future, but for now her longing and homesickness is quenched with Google Maps.

– Simone Carpio (ETAG Lead Volunteer)