Note: @ForgetComputers kindly but mistakenly tweeted out that we did this interview. We did not – MindShift did. When you mail things to Posterous using Feedly mobile, it’s rather difficult to edit, so this went as is and in full. Apologies to MindShift, even though it was attributed at the top – we have trucated the article and pointed readers at the remainder on the original site.
You don’t need to know computer programming to do a smart search.
Google has made it possible for us to have instant information gratification. Just start typing the first letters of your search word and the site intuits your question and offers you the smartest choice of answers.
Seems simple enough. But as quick and facile as the process is, there are ways to be even more efficient, more search-savvy. And it’s our responsibility to teach kids how to find and research information, how to judge its veracity, and when it’s time to ask for a grownup’s help. I spoke to Daniel Russell, Google’s “search anthropologist” in charge of Search Quality and User Happiness (yes, really), who brought to light some important tips you may not have known.
- CONTROL F. A deceptively simple tool, the Control F function (or Command F on Macs) allows you to immediately find the word you’re looking for on a page. After you’ve typed in your search, you can jump directly to the word or phrase in the search list. According to Russell, 90 percent of Internet users don’t know this, and spend valuable time scrolling through pages of information trying to find their key word. “They’re being terribly inefficient,” Russell says.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE. Use search terms the way you’d like to see them on a Web site. But think of how the author would phrase it. “It’s not about you, it’s about the author,” Russell says. “What would they say and how would they say it? What are some common terms and phrases they’d write? It’s the kind of thing that people over-think and are hyper-analytical about.” Stay on topic and keep it simple.
- DEFINE OPERATOR. This has to be one of the best items of Google’s offerings. To learn the definition of a word, just type “Define,” then the word.
Read the rest at MindShift.