It’s interesting to watch and experience the development of Google+ as it continues to add and improve features. It’s all about the experience really. Google+ is now rolling out real-time search results and improved hashtag support. Sounds great – nothing like real-time, and using hashtags is a powerful way to collate conversations and share them effectively.
Tag Archives: search
This week I created a presentation for Yr 8 Indonesian students who were in the process of researching and collecting images for their Indonesian Island project. Most of them were creating a Photostory or similar in Video Studio, and this was a good opportunity for a Google Search show and tell. Although googling is something students do naturally and frequently, experience tells me that most wouldn’t have lingered on the search page long enough to check out the options in the left hand navigation.
I put this presentation together very quickly and used ‘Sumatra’ as the keyword demonstrating the different possibilities for website and image search. Here is the link.
The screenshots I included as examples of different searches made it clear that Google offers much more than the basic search. Compare what you would see if you did a basic Google image search (shown below)
I do feel somewhat torn between getting excited about undiscovered aspects of Google Image Search and the fact that the images are not searchable by Creative Commons licence. I wonder if Google would surrender to pressure and provide free-to-use images along with their search options. Judy O’Connell has written about this issue in her excellent post, Stop turning a blind eye! Media literacy in action.
So, although I still showed students the wonders of Google searching, I did introduce the issue of Copyright and ethical use of others’ information and images to the boys, and showed them Google’s Advanced Search using the ‘labeled for reuse’ option.
Although my conscience was barely appeased, I continued with the presentation, starting with the colour options. Green, for example, for ‘Sumatra’ -
Here’s an opportunity to engage students in a discussion about why a certain search option would be helpful. Why would we want to use a ‘face’ search? Perhaps if we searched for a person whose name retrieved irrelevant results, then ‘face’ would push photos of people to the top. The ‘orange’ search pushed a whole new range of results which you might not have seen otherwise. In terms of colour design, this option is brilliant too. The black-and-white and photo options often retrieve older photos, so again, the results are different, possibly useful for a historical perspective. The line drawing option looks good for primary level.
One of the best image search options, in my opinion, is Google’s Sites with Images search. I’m sure students overlook this one, and it makes such a difference to the way you can use results. You have a clear window into which websites these images are coming from so you can evaluate the website before you click on the images. This is another important aspect of search which is worth teaching because it involves the thinking and evaluation process.
How much easier is it to sort through image results when they are categorised for you! Searching by subject is just as good -
And finding similar images couldn’t be easier – just hover over an image to find similar images or more sizes.
The LIFE photo archive hosted by Google is a wonderful collection of “newly-digitized images which includes photos and etchings produced and owned by LIFE dating all the way back to the 1750s. Only a very small percentage of these images have ever been published. The rest have been sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints.” A fantastic opportunity to find images you wouldn’t normally see, and excellent for history.
At this point I left the Google Image Search and featured a few of my favourite Google search options, starting with Wonderwheel. For students who interpret results better when presented in a visual way (that includes me), Wonderwheel is the way to go. It’s the brainstorming search option, providing you with different aspects of the original keyword. You simply click through all the suggested keywords to get to the precise one you need.
Wonderwheel even reminds you of aspects you may have overlooked.
For latest news and current results Past 24 hours search is brilliant -
I also pointed out to students the Reading Level search option which divided results into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. The basic search results shouldn’t be overlooked by secondary students. I explained to the class that if they wanted a quick overview of their topic, the basic search result was very useful.
One of the most impressive of the searches is Google Timeline Search. Here you get a graphic representation of results for your keyword over time. If you see a peaking of results in a particular year, your curiosity will have you clicking and drilling down until you have zoomed into the results for that period of time. So much fun.
Finally I took the students into the Google Labs where creative play turns to new and exciting options, and showed them Google Squared Labs.
For easy reading and overview of facts and figures, Google Squared Labs does a great job of presenting the information in spreadsheet style. Although I haven’t had success with all my searches, it’s definitely worth trying for factual results.
Finally, I showed the students a few of my favourite visual search options, including Tag Galaxy (which never fails to impress), Behold which finds free-to-use images, and Spell with Flickr for headings. Of course, there are so many more options for image search, even for Creative Commons images, and some of them are here.
Google’s new experimental Similar Images feature in Google Labs has improved image searching with the addition of ‘similar images’, allowing you to narrow your search and change your mind on the fly. Have a look here. It’s in its experimental stages.
I searched ‘school’ and, predictably, got all types of ‘school’ images.
What I specifically wanted was images of classroom interiors so I clicked on ‘similar images’ under the one result.
I think this is an easy way to get rid of unwanted results and refine your search.
What do you think?
Smashing apps put me onto the search engine, Addictomatic: inhale the web. Ignore the fact that it sounds like a subliminal cigarette or gadget commercial, the results are actually quite impressive in breadth. Addictomatic searches the following:
Topix ‘is the leading news community on the Web, connecting people to the information and discussions that matter to them in every U.S. town and city’. My result had ‘Melbourne, Australia’ as the locality.
Google Blog Search : find blogs on your favourite topics
Twitter search (search Twitter in real time; see what the world is doing now)
New, images, video ; Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. Continue reading
Originally uploaded by tsheko
Well, I’ve saved countless Rollyos belonging to other people, and I was procrastinating my own Rollyo because I couldn’t be bothered gathering websites, but finally I’ve rolled a search engine to die for (not really). My search engine is a slick little thing entitled ‘literature reviews’ (catchy, isn’t it?) and I’m not sure how anyone is going to find it. It’s a conglomerate of 14 carefully selected reviewing websites. Actually, I’m not sure how to access the borrowed ones I spent so much time saving.
Originally uploaded by riverxan
The search for the perfect blog …
Now it’s easy to keep the blogs you want rolling in. With a little help from Google blog search.
Not only can you do an advanced search for a blog using keywords of your choice, but you can also create an email alert for these blogs, add a blog search gadget for your Google homepage or subscribe to a blog search feed in Google Reader. You can even limit the search for blogs created in the last hour, last 12 hours, last day, past week, past month.
Just thought I’d let you know.
Originally uploaded by tsheko
Here’s a visual search with a difference. Have some fun at http://amaztype.tha.jp/
The word you enter in the search box is created visually using books on that theme. Images are continuously generated so it’s a moving thing, but if you click on one of the books, you get information from Amazon about the book. You can also do it for music. Well, it kept me amused for a while. Let me know what you think.
Originally uploaded by daniel.schenzer
I thought I’d search an old German children’s book to test out Google Book Search. Can’t believe it, not only did I get a result, but also whole page images (which I couldn’t copy), extracts of popular passages and interesting background information. I still can’t believe this book – so violent and politically incorrect. It’s fascinating to see what was important for children of nineteenth century Germany. The author wrote and illustrated it in 1845 as a Christmas present for his 3 year old son. I’m not sure of the psychological damage done to this little boy as he pored over stories with gruesome consequences that befell children who tormented animals, played with matches, sucked their thumbs and refused to eat their soup. As you can see from the picture I’ve included about the boy who sucked his thumb, the illustrations spare no detail. Actually, it reminds me a little of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons – not the moralising part, just the violence. I’m not sure what I thought of all this when I read it as a young girl. I must have realised that it wasn’t a realistic depiction of what would happen to me if I displayed any of this behaviour. Grimms’ fairy tales were no less gruesome. I think kids like that, actually. Look at older kids watching South Park.
The Google book search gives a synopsis, reviews, other editions, where to buy or borrow from a library, the option to add to your Google library or write a review. You can search genres within fiction and non-fiction.