How to make Google Behave


Presentation Description

Workshop on Google held on February 8th, 2012, At the University of Birmingham, UK. Organised by UKeiG and presented by Karen BLakeman


Presentation Transcript

How to make Google behave: techniques for better results Wednesday, 8th February 2012 University of Birmingham:

How to make Google behave: techniques for better results Wednesday, 8 th February 2012 University of Birmingham Karen Blakeman RBA Information Services Slides are available at Twitter: @karenblakeman Google Doodle This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

How it all started:

How it all started 08/02/2012 2 11 November 1998 The Internet Archive Links (citations) a major part of sorting search results

Where is Google now?:

Where is Google now? 08/02/2012 3 2001 Revenues $86,426 thousands Net Income $10,964 thousands 2011 Revenues $37,905 millions Net Income $9,737 millions 2011 – 96% of revenues are from advertising Google is mass market consumer oriented. Serious researchers wanting reliable, structured search are a miniscule fraction of their customer base.

How Google collects and organises information:

How Google collects and organises information "Crawls" the internet looking for new and updated pages (follows links) Adds copies of pages and documents to its database on thousands of servers around the world Has a primary index of higher "quality" documents and a secondary index Only primary index searched when running simple searches. Secondary index comes into play with more complex searches and if few results are returned 08/02/2012 4

How Google ranks and organises your results:

How Google ranks and organises your results 08/02/2012 5 Google personalizes and tailors your results depending on your location, computer/device, browser, past searches, what you have looked at in the past, your +1s, your blocked sites, your Google+ account, your android phone, what you had for breakfast...and anything else it can find by rummaging around in your Google dashboard To see what's in your dashboard log in to your Google account and go to

All change:

All change Gone are Google Labs, Wonderwheel , Image Swirl, starred results, UK Maps property search, Google Squared, and lots more The plus sign previously used to force an exact match search (Google suggested quotes around words but that doesn't always work!) But + sign still available in Google Scholar Google no longer "ANDs" your search terms New are Google+, Search+, search side bars , Search+, Google+, Verbatim, Google+, Search+..... 08/02/2012 6

What does Google think you’re interested in?:

What does Google think you’re interested in? Get a rough idea from your ad preferences do not need to be logged in to a Google account browser and machine specific 08/02/2012 7

Opt out of targeted advertising:

Opt out of targeted advertising Opt Out From Online Behavioral Advertising By Participating Companies (BETA) : Network Advertising Initiative 08/02/2012 8

Web history:

Web history 08/02/2012 9 Google automatically tracks your searches and what you click on results are “personalised” based on your searches and page views you do not have to be logged in to a Google account stored in a cookie on your computer - machine and browser specific Web History link appears in drop down menu under the cog wheel in the upper right hand corner of the screen click on the link for option to disable/enable Web History

Web history associated with your Google account:

Web history associated with your Google account Signed in to your Google account? Google account web history stored on Google Manage your web history from within your Google account 08/02/2012 10

Google Instant:

Google Instant Tries to predict what you are searching for as you type and displays results as you type 08/02/2012 11

Google Instant:

Google Instant Only displays 10 results at a time Disable Google Instant in Search Settings under the cog wheel (upper right hand corner of your Google screen) 08/02/2012 12

Google knows best :

Google knows best 08/02/2012 13 Hewish mild Google decided to change my search to Jewish mild without asking = Google decides that coots are lions. A search for coots mating behaviour becomes lions mating behaviour

PowerPoint Presentation:

Dear Google, stop messing with my search 08/02/2012 14

Google introduces the “soft AND”:

Google introduces the “soft AND” “When you do a multi-term query on Google (even with quoted terms), the algorithm sometimes backs-off from hard ANDing all of the terms’s clear that people will often write long queries (with anywhere from 5 to 10 terms) for which there are no results. Google will then selectively remove the terms that are the lowest frequency to give you some results (rather than none)....Soft AND is a way to reduce the overall frustration and give the searcher something to examine (and with luck, a chance to reformulate their query).” Dan Russell 08/02/2012 15

PowerPoint Presentation:

Search Plus Your World (SPYW) referred to as Search+ forces Google+ onto all users (And the next Google killer is….Google! ) Simplified privacy policies and information from all your Google services combined. Crossover of information e.g. YouTube/Web search = weird results 08/02/2012 16

PowerPoint Presentation:

08/02/2012 17 Before After

PowerPoint Presentation:

08/02/2012 18


What I see on my screen for a search is not what you’ll see on yours. This affects how we advise users and clients on the best search strategy. 08/02/2012 19

Why use Google at all?:

Why use Google at all? Google is good at: coverage for general web search country versions give priority to local content localisation at town/city level may have to tell Google where you are based don’t have to tell Google my town if I am looking for a local restaurant, taxi or plumber especially useful when using a mobile device personalisation? Varies from person to person as to whether it is useful image search, Maps, Google Finance, Scholar (but know it's limitations) rolling out features worldwide 08/02/2012 20

Damage limitation:

Damage limitation If you have a Google account check your dashboard at and remove stuff you don't need or want (won't be possible for everything) Sign out of your account before you search Turn your web history off, turn Instant off (under Search Settings) Increase the number of results that are displayed per page from 10 to at least 30 (under Search Settings) If you can, use Google Chrome as your browser and go "Incognito" 08/02/2012 21

Use the results sidebars:

Use the results sidebars These help you focus your search Vary depending on type of search e.g. web, news, images Open up the "more" options to see everything Verbatim is now one of the most important options 08/02/2012 22

Verbatim search:

Verbatim search Forces Google to run an exact match search. Run your search first and then select Verbatim from the left hand menu on your results page Appears that you can include advanced search commands in your strategy e.g. OR and the tilde (~) for synonyms Cannot be combined with time options Google: Verbatim for exact match search 08/02/2012 23


Location Google uses your IP address to try and identify the country you are in and your town Country versions of Google give priority to local content – change to different country Google for a different perspective Specifying town useful for very local searching but may want to change location to just UK for general searches 08/02/2012 24

Search tricks:

Search tricks Imagine what you would like to appear in your ideal document and include those terms in your strategy (you may have to use Verbatim) Repeat important search terms in your search strategy renewable energy biofuels wave wind wind wind Change the order of your terms renewable energy biofuels wave wind wind renewable wave biofuels energy Change one of your search terms coots mating behaviour coots courtship behaviour 08/02/2012 25

Advanced search:

Advanced search Advanced Search screen (now hidden under cog wheel in upper right hand corner of the screen) 08/02/2012 26

Advanced search:

Advanced search Can do more with commands For example selecting file type ppt on the Advanced Search screen will only search for ppt and not include pptx Use filetype command instead, for example diabetic retinopathy filetype:ppt (2870 results) diabetic retinopathy filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx (3050 results) 08/02/2012 27

Selected commands :

Selected commands filetype: for example pancreatic cancer filetype:xls OR filetype:xlsx site: for example pancreatic cancer statistics OR inurl : or allinurl : for example diabetes inurl:retinopathy intitle : or allintitle : for example allintitle:diabetic retinopathy asterisk (*) to search for terms separated by 1-5 words (may have to use quotation marks) macular * degeneration "macular * degeneration" Numeric range search [search terms] [1 st number]..[2 nd number] [unit of measurement (optional)] oil production forecasts 2013..2020 08/02/2012 28


Synonyms Google often looks for variations of your terms but you cannot rely on it always happening Use the tilde ~ before a term to look for what Google considers are synonyms ~energy will pick up oil, fuel, gas, electricity Synonyms not scientifically accurate using ~aspartame adverse reactions will pick up articles on sucralose , which is a very different artificial sweetener Can be used with Verbatim 08/02/2012 29

Google sidebars:

Google sidebars 08/02/2012 30 Images Videos News Books Blogs

Google Images – Sites with images:

Google Images – Sites with images 08/02/2012 31 Useful if you want to describe the image, for example moth UK black cream spots

Related searches:

Related searches 08/02/2012 32

Reading level:

Reading level Does not use publishers’ meta data Seems to base analysis on number of technical terms and industry specific jargon 08/02/2012 33


Social 08/02/2012 34

Translated pages for a different perspective:

Translated pages for a different perspective Google suggests languages from context of search but you can choose your own Your search is translated and the results are translated into your original language 08/02/2012 35

Cached and similar pages:

Cached and similar pages 08/02/2012 36 Hover over a result and a "preview" of the page should appear to the right together with cached and similar links

Google Trends :

Google Trends 08/02/2012 37

Google Trends for websites:

Google Trends for websites 08/02/2012 38

Google Insights for Search

Google Insights for Search 08/02/2012 39

Google Insights for Search:

Google Insights for Search 08/02/2012 40

Google alternatives - Bing and Yahoo:

Google alternatives - Bing and Yahoo Yahoo now uses Bing’s database and ranking algorithms for most country versions Many of the Advanced Search commands are similar to Google’s see Search Tools Summary and Comparison Bing advanced search screen minimalist - use commands detailed list at Advanced Operator Reference (some no longer work) Also beware – “Bing Adds Adaptive Search, Customized by Your Search History - Search Engine Watch” 08/02/2012 41


Bing Most of the interesting developments and features are only available in the US version Results tend to be more consumer/retail focused unless using advanced search features Coverage not identical to Google’s - sometimes yields important unique content, especially in research and business Sometimes more up to date than Google 08/02/2012 42


DuckDuckGo DuckDuckGo – silly name but a neat little search tool : No tracking, no “filter bubble” Commands site: inbody: intitle: filetype: sort:date to sort by date (uses results from Blekko) region:cc (e.g. de) to boost a country Syntax and keyboard shortcuts at 08/02/2012 43


Blekko slashtags for sorting by date (/date), searching for images (/images) and videos (/videos) Use public slashtags to search a group of web sites covering a particular topic or type of site e.g. /library or create your own to search your specified list of sites (similar to Google Custom Search Engines) wind turbine electricity generation /karenblakeman/renewable “Musings about librarianship: Using Blekko to search across thousands of library sites” 08/02/2012 44


Blekko Cannot do filetype, inurl, intitle searches Drop down menu next to page in results list for site search (or use /site) similar pages (or use /similar) inbound links to the page (or use /links) 08/02/2012 45

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar A useful place to start your research or if you are looking for a specific paper but no source list, not comprehensive and omits many key scientific publications Both peer-reviewed and un-reviewed articles, pre-prints, institutional repositories, references to books, citations Does not use publishers’ meta data Author search unreliable, search on year of publication unreliable Sometimes does strange things with your search terms Peter Jasco - Google Scholar's Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems 08/02/2012 46

Authors encouraged to "claim papers":

Authors encouraged to "claim papers" 08/02/2012 47

Scholar author profile:

Scholar author profile 08/02/2012 48 08/02/2012 49

Images - copyright:

Images - copyright Always, always check and double check the copyright - images may have a digital watermark and be tracked e.g. Digimarc Creative Commons does not mean you can do what you like with an image six licences “Open- licencing your images. What it means and how to do it.” Andy Mabbett aka pigsonthewing Karen Blakeman's Blog “Free-to-use images might not be” 08/02/2012 50

Google images:

Google images Make use of search options in the side bar or on the advanced search screen 08/02/2012 51

Google Images:

Google Images 08/02/2012 52 “More sizes” “Similar images”

Google Images – use an existing image:

Google Images – use an existing image 08/02/2012 53 Click on the camera icon in the search box and then either enter the URL of an image or upload it. On the results page you can add keywords to refine the search

Google images - creative commons, public domain:

Google images - creative commons, public domain Google advanced image search - use the usage rights, but always double check the licence on the web site Public domain carry out your search in the image search bar and when the results appear on screen add & as_rights = cc_publicdomain to the end of the string in the URL/address bar of your browser but public domain may refer to another photo – check the web site hosting the photo 08/02/2012 54


Flickr Flickr Creative Commons or advanced search screen 08/02/2012 55

Images - other sources for Creative Commons and public domain images :

Images - other sources for Creative Commons and public domain images Wikimedia Commons (check the licence information towards the bottom of the page e.g. ) - public domain Geograph Creative Commons 2.0 Most of the images on US government web sites are public domain (but do check) NASA - public domain 08 February 2012 Karen Blakeman 56

Google maps:

Google maps Public transport option under 'Directions' at last includes trains as well as the underground and buses Estimated petrol cost for 'Directions' using a car Now shows approximate location of post codes 08/02/2012 57

Google street view:

Google street view As well as for personal use, useful for assessing location of a business (but remember out of date images) 08/02/2012 58

Google Videos:

Google Videos NOT the same as YouTube 08/02/2012 59


Video Bing Videos YouTube,, iTunes, iTunes U Blinkx - - good for catching up with news Zuula - - click on the video tab Browsys Finder - click on the video tab 08 February 2012 Karen Blakeman 60

Google News :

Google News 08/02/2012 61 : Or use the Books option in the menu on the left hand side of the screen Includes magazines, journals, newspapers 08/02/2012 62

Google Blogs:

Google Blogs Use the blog option in the results page left hand menu or go to 08/02/2012 63


Discussions Forums and Q&As 08/02/2012 64

Google Art Project:

Google Art Project “A unique collaboration with some of the world’s most acclaimed art museums to enable people to discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail.” 08/02/2012 65

Google Finance:

Google Finance 08/02/2012 66

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer 08/02/2012 67

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer 08/02/2012 68

Google Internet Stats:

Google Internet Stats 08/02/2012 69

Fusion tables :

Fusion tables 08/02/2012 70

Voices for the Library Closures map : :

Voices for the Library Closures map : 08/02/2012 71

Design your own search engine:

Design your own search engine For regularly searched sites selected sites on a topic searching sites on a reading list Google Custom Search Engines / at least hundreds of sites, maybe thousands! can import lists of sites Need a Google account to set one up Cannot search password protected sources or sites where you have to fill in a form to access the information 08 February 2012 Karen Blakeman 72

Want to explore other stuff?

Want to explore other stuff? Type in your search once and work your way through the search tools 08/02/2012 73

Keeping up to date:

Keeping up to date Inside Search Official Google Blog Search Engine Land Search Engine Watch Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Karen Blakeman’s Blog Phil Bradley's weblog 08/02/2012 74

YouTube - Goggle Vision: using electronic resources :

YouTube - Goggle Vision: using electronic resources 08/02/2012 75

authorStream Live Help