Enhance and test your Google Search knowledge

I’ve never counted, but, at a conservative estimate, I probably use Google Search at least a couple of hundred times every day. Unfortunately, like most things that are so habitual, I’ve gotten into a rut when searching and, rather than using the most appropriate query to find exactly what I want, I usually search in the same way I did last time, and the time before that. Yes, I do sometimes remember to put quotes round an exact phrase I’m looking for, or restrict pages to only those updated in the last year but that’s about the extent of my efforts.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Google Search has an incredibly rich query language – dozens of options let you filter and refine your searches. Some of these options are tucked away behind rarely used menu items while others, like searching for number ranges, require the use of operators. Even those that appear prominently displayed in the sidebar can have unexpectedly powerful uses as I discovered today while viewing the lessons for the first class in a tutorial from Google entitled “Power Searching with Google”.

Launched earlier today this free, six class series looks certain to provide an great introduction to making the most of Google search. Between now and the 23rd of July a combination of video tutorials, activities, Google+ Hangouts with search experts and discussion forums will provide an immersive learning experience. I found the first class, presented by Google Senior Research Scientist Daniel M. Russell, to be excellent – Dan is a relaxed and confident presenter who clearly knows his subject and how to make it accessible. The material is clearly presented and the production values are high.

The whole of the first class took me about and hour including watching the videos (+/- 35minutes) and completing the activities. Being the first class, there wasn’t much that was new to me but, even as a refresher, it’s well worth the effort. Hopefully this will be the first of many such ventures from Google.

The classes can be taken any time to suit your schedule and the videos will continue to be available after the course ends on the 23rd of July. Only the mid-class and post-class assessments won’t be available after that time.

 

Once you’ve completed the course, why not test your new skills with the Smarterer Google Search test?

A word of warning though, there are a few tough questions in there…

 

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Flashcards for Google Chrome Shortcuts now available from Github.com

The set of flashcards I created for Google Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts on the Mac are now available to download from GitHub. Four versions of the cards are available – tilde-delimited, tab-delimited, Excel spreadsheet and Mental Case study exchange. These should allow you to import the cards into almost any Flashcard application.

In addition, I have also uploaded the cards to two more websites – FlashcardMachine.com and the excellent StudyBlue.com. This means that they are now available, free of charge, from:

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Flashcards for Google Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts

Despite the many advances in learning techniques we’ve seen over the last decade sometimes all that’s required is repetition and lots of it. It’s then that the use of Flashcards comes into its own.

If you tried your luck with the Smarterer.com test I posted about yesterday and found your knowledge wanting then a new set of Flashcards I have created to help you prepare for the test might prove useful. These 40 questions and answer cards match the content and wording of the questions presented in the test.

You can use the cards online or download them for free into your favourite desktop or smartphone app (I use Mental Case on both Mac and iPhone). Then, all that you need is practice, practice, practice.

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Test your Google Chrome knowledge at Smarterer.com

Smarterer is a great way to test and authenticate your (mainly) computer skills with timed online quizzes. Tests are crowdsourced and regularly updated to ensure their relevance – they aren’t going to replace your Microsoft MCSE certification but for new, fast changing or specialised subjects such as jQuery, Twitter, Google Search, etc. they can be an excellent way to appraise and highlight your skill set.

On completion of a test you’ll be awarded a badge showing your achievement level that you can add to your website or resumé. You also have your own URL that shows all your awards (thankfully you can also hide those you’ve scored badly on). I’ve found most of the tests I’ve taken so far to be of a fairly high standard and both challenging and relevant enough to provide an accurate assessment of my skill level.

If you use the Google Chrome browser on Mac OSX you might like to test your knowledge of its keyboard shortcuts with a new Smarterer test I created earlier today.
There are 40 questions altogether though you may not see them all at first as the questions shown, the order they’re shown in and the points awarded are all determined by algorithm not by the test creator. If you do well on this test I think you can be confident you know your way around Chrome.

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If you take the test I’d love to hear your feedback.

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