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…