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[This article is originally published in choice.com.au  - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Jay Harris]

Do you search the web for information, or do you just 'Google it'? Such is the popularity of Google's web search engine that it's become a household word and the default go-to for finding any information online. But you can do it better and we can show you how.

  • Why Google?
  • Boolean for you – search shortcuts
  • Reverse image search
  • Even Google can get it wrong
  • What about privacy?
  • Snoop-free searches
  • Alternative search engines
Whether you use text or image search, knowing a little more about how to use search terms can find your results faster and more accurately in Google and other search engines (yes, they exist – hello Bing and Duckduckgo).

Why Google?

Google is the world's most powerful and pervasive search engine. The company synonymous with search commands a staggering 93% of the Australian search market. Its nearest competitor, Microsoft's Bing, has just under 5% of the market, with others picking up the crumbs.

There are plenty of hidden ways to improve a Google search to ensure you get the fastest and most accurate results, as well as reasons to be wary of the search giant.

The best way to get the results you want is to keep your search simple and trust Google's algorithm. Searching for "time in San Francisco" or "weather in Sydney" will return immediate results.

 

Privacy concerns aside, for the moment (more on that later), the more Google knows about you, the better results it gives. So, if you allow Google to know your location, it can use that information to better guess the results you're after. For example, a search on "USD $10" will provide an instant conversion to Australian dollars, while a search on "5 foot 6" will show the same measurement in meters. 

Boolean for you – search shortcuts

If you want to go further, Google has shortcuts that will improve the speed and accuracy of your searches. Common examples are using the 'operators' AND, OR and NOT to refine your search by combining or limiting terms. These shortcuts are technically called 'boolean operators', a fun fact for your next dinner party.

A few quick shortcuts to remember: 
  • Quotation marks Using quotation marks around a phrase will limit your search to that exact phrase. A search for amazing spiderman will return results with those three words used anywhere, in any context. A search for "amazing spiderman" will only return results with that exact phrase. 
  • Google search a specific site A search of site:choice.com.au washing machines will only return results from CHOICE. 
  • Remove words to narrow a search with the minus sign A search of jaguar speed -car will exclude results containing the animal but not the prestige vehicle. 
  • Use asterisk as a wildcard If you're looking for a phrase but aren't sure of every word, "these are not the * you're looking for" should return the results you're after. 
Google continually improves its search to make these commands simpler, or in some cases unnecessary, so today a search for "eiffel tower wiki" will return the same information as "site:wikipedia.org eiffel tower".

Reverse image search 

One of the most amazing, little-known features of Google Image Search is the Reverse Image Search feature. Simply click on the camera icon in the search bar to upload an image on your computer, and Google will scan and analyse the image and try to identify what's in the frame. 

Search by image

When searching for an image with Google, you have the ability to filter your results based on some powerful criteria. Just click on the Tools button underneath the search bar, and from there you'll see a few hidden dropdown menus allowing you to specify the size, colour, type, time and usage rights of your results. 

Google reverse search

Two options worth exploring are usage rights and color. From the Usage Rights menu, you can filter images by their license. "Reuse with modification" means you can take the image, edit it, and reuse it on a website or in a PowerPoint presentation. Noncommercial reuse will still allow you to use the image, but as the name suggests, you'll be limited to using the image in educational or not-for-profit situations. 

These classifications are based on the Creative Commons license, so it's worth clicking through on your results to confirm Google is giving you the correct licensing information, and whether you need to attribute the original creator in your work.

creative commons

Searching for an image with the color filter of yellow will unsurprisingly return images that are predominantly yellow. This becomes powerful when you're collecting multiple images for a PowerPoint presentation or website, and you want a uniform color to evoke a certain emotion, or to fit in with your corporate branding.

Colour search

Even Google can get it wrong

Despite Google's dominant market share and wealth of talent, even it can make some embarrassing mistakes in search results. Google has found itself caught up in its own fake news controversies of late, declaring Donald Trump the winner of not just the electoral college but the popular vote in the 2016 election, and stating there is no coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef.

Google has long battled with users gaming its algorithm, mainly to rank higher in search for commercial purposes, but more recently to infect the autocomplete results with hateful information, or to promote false claims.

What makes these mistakes even more disturbing is it is these "instant answers" and "news snippets" that power the voice search of Google's Home Assistant. Without the context of a screen, attribution, and a page of conflicting results underneath, Home's voice answers, no matter how wrong, can sound authoritative.

Privacy trade-off

There are many reasons to choose an alternative to Google, the least of which is its frightening monopoly on search. Google may have the stated mission of "organising the world's information", but it's worth remembering Google makes money off advertising, and part of the company's tremendous success in this area is due to the tracking and profiling it does on its users.
 
  


Every search you perform on Google is registered against your IP address – giving Google the ability to create a simple snapshot of who you are, where you live and what your interests are. If you're signed into any of Google's other services – Maps, YouTube, Gmail – then Google has an account to assign that IP address and all data coming from it, further fleshing out their profile of you.  

Once Google knows who you are, it will follow you around the internet, thanks to the cookies and Google Ads that adorn almost every popular page. As a general rule, if you can see ads on a website, those ads can see you too and have followed you across the web. 

Even more, if you use an Android phone, Google almost certainly has all your physical location history from the last few years, unless you've specifically asked your phone not to track you. iPhone users are asked to share this same location information when installing any of Google's suite of apps – yes, even the YouTube app will ask you for your location. 

This might all sound a little creepy, but this is the deal we make with Google to access its services for free. And, of course, you can choose not to. I use Google Photos, even though Google scans every image I give it to train its machine-learning robots and extract location information about me because the service is excellent and the search is incredible. Likewise Gmail and Google Maps. 

If you'd like to continue to use Google search, but want to keep your privacy intact, there are quite a few steps you'll need to take. Sadly, using your browser's privacy mode is not enough. Private Browsing or Incognito Mode is really designed to hide your search and browser history from someone looking at your browser or phone after you, not to hide your history from Google, Facebook, or anyone else that makes money tracking you across the web. The problem is that your IP address (your unique location identifier on the internet) is still shown, so even though cookies are not collected, Google can guess the searches are coming from you. 

To go truly private, you'll need to use Google only in a browser that's not logged in to any Google services – including YouTube, Maps, Gmail. Next, use a plugin like Ghostery or Privacy Badger, which will disable Google's (and anyone else's) tracking from website to website. Finally, you may wish to do all browsing behind a VPN service that will cloak your IP address from external eyes. 

Snoop-free searches

If all of this sounds like too much work, there are alternatives. DuckDuckGo launched back in 2008 as the Google alternative for the privacy-conscious. The service promises to never track your searches, and more importantly, it doesn't follow you around the internet as Google does. DuckDuckGo was relatively unknown until Apple promoted it to a default search option in iOS 8, on par with Google, back in 2014. DuckDuckGo supports many of the shortcuts Google does and returns equally good results on more broad searches – topics like historical figures and places of interest, for example. 

Snoop fre searches

DuckDuckGo even has its own instant answers and display cards for results like flight numbers, the weather, word definitions, and movie trivia. Where it falls short is in the guesswork and personalization Google does so well; in knowing when you search for a chemist, you probably want your local chemist, when searching a flight number, you might want to see your upcoming flights, and when searching for a movie, the nearest session time to you. 

As an experiment, it's worth using DuckDuckGo exclusively for a week to see how much you rely on Google and everything it knows about you. You may find your searches improve once you step out of the feedback loop of Google, or you may realize how much of your privacy you're willing to trade for instant results.

Alternative search engines

  • Bing: Microsoft's answer to Google. The two search engines are on par in terms of features, but it's always worth supporting the underdog. And what a fascinating world it is where Microsoft is now the underdog. 
  • Wolfram Alpha: Prides itself on being an answers engine and was one of the first to support natural language queries like "how many days until Christmas", or "who wrote stairway to heaven?"
  • Mendeley: A search engine and app designed for students and academics that allows users to search on how many academic papers a result is featured in. The accompanying app allows researchers to easily collect sources for a final paper. 
  • Twitter search: Still the fastest way to find out what's happening with breaking news and events, although you will often need to wade through users jokes and 'hot takes' before you discover what's actually happening.

 

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in business2community.com written by Graham Jones - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Joshua Simon] 

Web search is often wasting time for you. There, I have said it. Google is a master illusionist. It makes you think you are working when you are not.

The reason is simple, you can get an answer to any question within seconds. That makes it feel as though you have achieved something. Prior to Google, you may have needed to find a book, look something up in the index, locate the right page and then read it – only to find out it didn’t contain what you wanted. So, you had to choose another book. That might have needed a trip to the library. To find out one fact, it might have taken hours. Now, all it takes is seconds.

Of course, in the past, the information you needed might not have been in a book. You might have needed to speak with someone. Perhaps you could only get the information from an expert. Or, if it was about a company you needed to phone them. Many companies had an “information line” – a special number you could call to speak with someone to get details you needed about the business. All of that took time.

When things take a long time our perception of progress is slow. However, when we can do things rapidly our sense of achievement is heightened. So, when we use the web to search for things which we previously had to look up in a book, take a trip to the library, or make several phone calls, we get a sense of achieving something. It is a psychological illusion that we are working.

It is, therefore, no surprise to discover in recent research that business buyers prefer to obtain information about suppliers using the web, rather than any other tool.

b2b search

According to the study from Path Factory, almost 90% of buyers use web search as their preferred method of finding information. Only one in three people opt for the telephone. That’s no surprise, either. Research from O2, the mobile phone company, found that making phone calls was only the fifth most popular use of a smartphone. It turns out that the most popular use of a mobile phone is to browse the Internet – searching for information.

Web Search is Wasting Time

The problem with web search is that it is often wrong. Yet, most people accept the first result Google provides. For instance, search for “how many planets are there in our solar system” and the first result will tell you that there are eight planets. True, but not quite. Like many other facts, there are nuances which are not explained. Astronomers redefined what constitutes a planet and so our solar system contains eight planets and five “dwarf planets”, including Pluto (which was a planet when I grew up..!). Like many other “facts”, the first information we see on Google misses out the nuance.

Similarly, search for “duplicate content penalty” and you will find thousands of results telling you that you cannot duplicate content on your website because “Google will ban you” or “Google will downgrade your search engine ranking” or some other nonsense. And nonsense it is. Google has said so, repeatedly. Yet, many businesses trying to make their websites optimised for search engines will spend hours and hours recrafting content in order to “remove the penalty”. That’s an activity that is wasting time on work that is unnecessary, all because of search.

However, if you phoned a reliable expert on search engine optimisation you would have received the correct information about duplicating content, avoiding you hours of work. However, to make that phone call and have the conversation is slower than completing a web search and hence it feels less productive.

What this means is, if you need a new supplier you could well make a better selection if you did not use web search. Pick up the phone and speak with people who know the market, such as the contacts you make in business networking. It will feel slower doing this, but the answers you get will be more informed and less prone to the influence of an algorithm. Once you have the recommendations, then use web search to find out about the company.

Making phone calls is becoming a low priority activity. Your office phone rings less than it used to. You feel as though you are being productive because you search and find stuff online, but that is wasting time.

Categorized in Search Engine

APPLE AND GOOGLE are cracking down on obnoxious online ads. And they just might change the way the web works in the process.

Last week Google confirmed that Chrome—the most widely used web browser in the world—will block all ads on sites that include particularly egregious ads, including those that autoplay videos, hog too much of the screen, or make you wait to see the content you just clicked on.

Apple meanwhile announced yesterday that Safari will soon stop websites from automatically playing audio or video without your permission. The company's next browser update will even give users the option to load pages in "Reader" mode by default, which will strip not only ads but many other layout elements. The next version will also step up features to block third parties from tracking what you do online.

But the two companies' plans don't just mean a cleaner web experience. They represent a shift in the way web browsers work. Instead of passively downloading and running whatever code and content a website delivers, these browsers will take an active role shaping your web experience. That means publishers will have to rethink not just their ads but their assumptions about what readers do and don't see when they visit their pages.

For years, browsers have simply served as portals to the web, not tools for shaping the web itself. They take the code they're given and obediently render a page as instructed. Sure, browsers have long blocked pop-up ads and warned users who tried to visit potentially malicious websites. But beyond letting you change the font size, browsers don't typically let you do much to change the content of a page.

"Browsers have always been about standards and making sure that all browsers show the same content," says Firefox vice president of product Nick Nguyen. "It's been a neutral view of the web."

The problem is that this complacency has led to a crappier web. Publishers plaster their sites with ads that automatically play video and audio without your permission. Advertisers collect data about the pages you visit. And criminals sometimes use bad ads to deliver malware.

Many people have taken the matter into their own hands by installing plugins to block ads or trackers. About 26 percent of internet users have ad blockers on their computers, according to a survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Some 10 percent have ad blockers on their phones.

Now browser-makers are starting to build these types of features right into their products. Firefox added tracker-blocking to its private browser mode in 2015, and Opera added an optional ad-blocking feature last year. Meanwhile, newer companies like Brave and Cliqz have launched privacy-centric browsers of their own.

Now, thanks to Apple and Google, this trend is going mainstream. About 54 percent of all web surfers used Chrome last month, according to StatCounter, and about 14 percent used Safari. In other words, nearly all browsers will at the very least let users curb the worst ads on the sites they visit. And websites will have to adjust.

The Business of Blocking

It might seem weird for Google, one of the world's largest advertising companies, to build an ad-blocking tool right into one of its core products. But the search giant may be engaging in a bit of online judo. Google only plans to block ads on pages that feature types of ads identified by an ad-industry trade group as the most annoying. Google may be hoping that stripping out the worst ads will eliminate the impetus to download much stronger third-party ad blockers that also block its own ads and tracking.

Apple, which doesn't depend on advertising revenue, is taking a more radical approach. In addition to blocking cookies that could be used to track people across sites, the company will also give users the choice to display only the main content of a page, throwing out not just ads but extras like lists of "related stories" and other enticements to stay on a particular site. The page's prescribed fonts and color scheme get thrown out as well.

Safari has offered the reader view as an option since 2010, but traditionally you've had to load a page before you can turn the option on. Letting people turn it on by default means they could visit pages and never see the original versions. That's a big change that goes well beyond ad-blocking. It means that a page's code could soon act more as a set of suggestions for how browsers should present its content, not a blueprint to be followed as closely as possible.

That doesn't just change the way companies have to think about ads. It changes the relationship between reader and publisher—and between publishers and browser makers. For example, Brave—the privacy-centric browsing company founded by Firefox creator Brendan Eich—hopes to essentially invert the advertising business model by having the browser, not the webpage, serve up ads, then share the revenue with publishers. That's just one new model that this new paradigm makes possible, whether publishers like it or not.

Source: This article was published wired.com By KLINT FINLEY

Categorized in Search Engine

If you're in the market for a new job, you'll want to check out this list of the top eight best job search engines on the Web. All of these job search tools offer unique features and can streamline your employment search efforts so your efforts are more productive.

Monster.com

Monster-jobs

Newly redesigned Monster.com is one of the oldest job search engines on the Web. While some of its usefulness has been diminished in recent years due to a lack of good filtering and too many posts by spammy recruiters, it's still an important site on which to conduct a job search. You can narrow your search by location, keywords, and employer; plus, Monster has plenty of job search extras: networking boards, job search alerts, and online resume posting

Employers can also use Monster.com to find employees for a nominal fee, a useful tool for those looking to expand their hiring repertoire.

Indeed

Indeed

 

 

Indeed.com is a very solid job search engine, with the ability to compile a resume and submit it onsite for employer searches of keywords, jobs, niches, and more. Indeed uncovers a wide variety of jobs and fields that you wouldn't normally find on most job search sites, and they do a good job of making their job search features as easy to use as possible. You can subscribe to job alerts via email; you can set these up for a certain keyword, geolocation, salary, and much more.

In addition, Indeed makes it as simple as possible to keep track of jobs you've applied for; all you need to do is create a login (free) and every job you've applied for from within Indeed.com or that you've just expressed interest in will be saved to your profile.

Daily and weekly alerts can be created with notifications going to your inbox; criteria include job title, location, salary requirements, and skill sets.

USAJobs

USAJobs

Think of USAjobs as your gateway into the huge world of US government jobs. Navigate to the USAjobs.gov home page, and you'll be able to narrow your search by keyword, job title, control number, agency skills, or location. One particularly interesting feature is the ability to search worldwide within any country that currently is advertising a vacancy.

Just like many other job search engines on this list, you can create a user account (free) on USAjobs.gov, making the application process for government jobs extremely streamlined and easy.

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder offers job searchers the ability to find a job, post a resume, create job alerts, get job advice and job resources, look up job fairs, and much more. This is a truly massive job search engine that offers a lot of good resources to the job searcher; I especially appreciate the list of job search communities.

According to the CareerBuilder website, more than 24 million unique visitors a month visit CareerBuilder to find new jobs and obtain career advice, and offers job searches in over 60 different countries worldwide.

Dice

Dice

Dice.com is a job search engine dedicated to only finding technology jobs. It offers a targeted niche space for finding exactly the technology position you might be looking for.

One of the most appealing features that Dice offers is the ability to drill down to extremely specialized tech positions, giving job seekers the opportunity to find the niche tech jobs that are sometimes elusive on other job search engines.

SimplyHired

SimplyHired

 

SimplyHired also offers a very unique job search experience; the user "trains" the job search engine by rating jobs he or she is interested in. SimplyHired also gives you the ability to research salaries, add jobs to a job map, and view pretty detailed profiles of various companies.

If you're looking for a good job search engine that focuses on local job listings, SimplyHired can be a good choice. You can browse by town, by zip code, or by state to find the job that might be right for you.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedIn.com combines the best of two worlds: the ability to scour the Internet for jobs with its job search engine, and the opportunity to network with like-minded friends and individuals to deepen your job search. LinkedIn's job postings are of the highest quality, and if you are connected to someone who already knows about that particular job, you've got a way in before you even hand in your resume. If you really want to dive into the inner workings of LinkedIn, check out How to Use LinkedIn, a detailed how-to guide.

Craigslist

Craigslist

There are all sorts of interesting jobs on Craigslist. Just find your city, look under Jobs, then look under your job category. Non-profit, systems, government, writing, etc. jobs are all represented here. You can also set up various RSS feeds that pertain to whatever job you might be looking for, in whatever location. One Craigslist caveat: because this is a free marketplace, some of the jobs posted at Craigslist are not legitimate (the vast majority are, however). Use caution and common sense when replying to job listings on Craigslist.

Source: lifewire.com

Categorized in Search Engine

PreviewSeek is a new London-based search engine created by Chris Hong that is very quietly impressing people with a number of innovating features.

 

Basic search results are great but nothing to get overly excited about. The useful features include disambiguation of queries (are you searching for “apple” the fruit, or “apple” the computer”?), preview of search pages (think Browster), and better refining of searches.

 

Understanding Your Query

 

PreviewSeek does a good job at attempting to determine meaning from a query. Type in “Java” and you get a result set with a numer of options for the query, including the island, the programming language, and even the coffee.

 

Preview Results

 

This is my favorite feature. PreviewSeek allows you to preview search results in much the same way as Browster (our profile), except without the download and the ads. It’s a great way quickly scan results without actually clicking away from previewseek.

 

Search Refinement

 

For any given query PreviewSeek will suggest a number of refinement options on the left sidebar, which greatly assist in drilling down on a particular search.

 

https://techcrunch.com/2005/10/16/previewseek-new-web-search-engine/

 

Categorized in Search Engine

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