Making Google behave: techniques for better results

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Edited version of the slides for the UKeiG workshop held on 9th April 2014 in London


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10/04/2014 1 Making Google behave: techniques for better results Wednesday, 9 th April 2014 London Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services

PowerPoint Presentation:

Why do we use Google? Often gives 'good enough' results with minimal effort from the searcher Great coverage Personalisation Problems? Google thinks it knows best when it comes to the search strategy Too much information Personalisatio n 10/04/2014 2

Five things you need to know about Google search :

Five things you need to know about Google search Google personalises your search Personalises search based on location past search history past browsing activity activity in other areas of Google e.g. YouTube, blogs, images content from contacts in your personal networks may be given priority (possibly) what you and others have ‘liked’, g+1 10/04/2014 3

Google's Privacy Policy:

Google's Privacy Policy 10/04/2014 4 " Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in , we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience. " Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google "we're more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google"

Single Google profile across all services:

Single Google profile across all services 10/04/2014 5 Videos occupy top 12 slots Results from Chrome Incognito Oi , Google! NO!!

How to “Un-personalise” your search:

How to “Un-personalise” your search Switch off web/search history Log out of your Google account Clear cookies Use private/incognito browsing 10/04/2014 6

Private browsing - quickest way “un-personalise”search :

Private browsing - quickest way “un-personalise”search Chrome - New Incognito window Ctrl+Shift+N FireFox Ctrl+Shift+P Internet Explorer Ctrl+Shift+P Opera Ctrl+Shift+N Safari – click on Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menu bar, select Private Browsing and then click on OK. Will not remove country personalisation

Five things you need to know about Google search:

Five things you need to know about Google search Google automatically looks for variations on your search terms and sometimes drops terms from your search Google does not tell you it has ignored some of your terms “..” around terms, phrases, names, titles of documents does not always work To force an exact match and inclusion of a term in a search prefix it with ‘ intext :’ public transport intext:algal biofuels Use Verbatim for an exact match search

Google Verbatim:

Google Verbatim

Google now showing missing search terms?:

Google now showing missing search terms? Not always shown – possibly still a live experiment? (See later) 10/04/2014 10

Five things you need to know about Google search:

Five things you need to know about Google search Google web search does not search everything it has in its database two indexes: main, default index and the supplemental index supplemental index may contain less popular, unusual, specialist material supplemental index comes into play when Google thinks your search has returned too few results Verbatim and some advanced search commands seems to trigger a search in the supplemental index

PowerPoint Presentation:

10/04/2014 12 “Normal search” 1,555,500 Search after Verbatim is applied 35,500,000

Five things you need to know about Google search:

Five things you need to know about Google search Google changes its algorithms several hundred times a year How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm - YouTube http ://

Five things you need to know about Google search:

Five things you need to know about Google search We are all Google’s lab rats Just Testing: Google Users May See Up To A Dozen Experiments Mostly minor effects on search but sometimes totally bizarre results Google decides that coots are really lions google-decides-that-coots-are-really-lions/ Update on coots vs. lions update-on-coots-vs-lions/

PowerPoint Presentation:

What I see on my screen will not be what you see on your screen, will not be what your colleagues see on theirs, will not be what your users see. Google Scholar more consistent – stuck in a time warp? 10/04/2014 15

Google Now :

Google Now 10/04/2014 16 Google Now: Taking the Search Out of Search - Search Engine Watch

Voice search getting better:

Voice search getting better 10/04/2014 17

YouTube – transcripts :

YouTube – transcripts Feedback from previous workshop participants: If you don’t provide your own transcript for the voice content or lyrics of your video, YouTube will automatically create one with possibly embarrassing results. Provide your own transcript or make sure you correct the one that YouTube creates. 10/04/2014 18


Hummingbird Not just an update but a completely new algorithm Tries to make “sense” of your query and put it into context, natural language queries Not just search history but also your location, device being used Announced September 26 th 2013 but had already been in use for about a month Many aspects had been tested over the previous months and past year 10/04/2014 19

Menu options change depending on your search:

Menu options change depending on your search 10/04/2014 20

New layout:

New layout 10/04/2014 21

Yet more changes!:

Yet more changes! Results page preview with cached copy and similar pages has gone Instead we now have ..... 10/04/2014 22

In depth articles:

In depth articles 10/04/2014 23

In depth articles:

In depth articles 10/04/2014 24 Articles sometimes very old

What does Google know about you:

What does Google know about you Sign in to your Google account and go to Check your ad preferences at 10/04/2014 25 If you do not have a Google account there will only be information about you in the right hand column

Changes to T&Cs 11th November 2013:

Changes to T&Cs 11 th November 2013 10/04/2014 26

Google Instant:

Google Instant Tries to predict what you are searching for as you type, and displays results as you type 10/04/2014 27

Google Instant:

Google Instant Only displays 10 results at a time Disable Google Instant in Search Settings under the cog wheel (upper right hand area of a Google results screen) or go to 10/04/2014 28

Google Knowledge Graph and carousel:

Google Knowledge Graph and carousel 10/04/2014 29

Google carousel:

Google carousel 10/04/2014 30

Google can get it wrong:

Google can get it wrong 10/04/2014 31 Google "Henry VIII wives": Jane Seymour reveals search engine's blind spots Image courtesy of Will Oremus : 10/04/2014 32

Google tries to work out your location:

Google tries to work out your location Country based on your IP address Town/city based on your IP address/network provider Google can get this wrong Google switches between Bristol and Exeter for my location (I’m in Reading) Tell Google your location in Search settings (hidden under the cog wheel in the upper right hand area of your results page) 10/04/2014 33

Country versions of Google and local information:

Country versions of Google and local information Country versions of Google give priority to local content Useful if you are researching a person, company, or sector in another country Go to the relevant country version of Google, for example , , Google International Domains - List of Country and Language Codes 10/04/2014 34

Choosing your search terms:

Choosing your search terms Google automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your terms biofuels will find biodiesel, biogas, bio-ethanol etc. but do not get the same results if you use biodiesel instead of biofuels run separate searches using alternative terms no information on how the synonyms are identified or implemented The terms you use can radically change results copper mining north wales copper extraction north wales 10/04/2014 35

Choosing your search terms:

Choosing your search terms 10/04/2014 36

Google Trends :

Google Trends 10/04/2014 37 Compare how often search terms are used over time and by location

Google Trends :

Google Trends 10/04/2014 38

Two old tricks that still work:

Two old tricks that still work Both of these often change the results and the order in which they are presented 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 10/04/2014 39

Nutrition facts:

Nutrition facts 10/04/2014 40 Information from Wikipedia and USDA


Compare compare spinach with cabbage 10/04/2014 41 Do not always need ‘with’ Can only compare two similar entities


Compare 10/04/2014 42

Google commands:

Google commands " " around phrases " Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar" to exclude a term Caversham –otago OR to specify alternatives oil OR petroleum (sometimes better to run separate searches) * to stand in for one or more words solar * panels Picks up solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heating panels 10/04/2014 43

Google commands:

Google commands Think file format PDF for research documents, government reports, industry papers, company reports ppt or pptx for presentations, tracking down an expert on a topic xls or xlsx for spreadsheets containing data Use the advanced search screen or the filetype : command zeolites environmental remediation filetype:pdf "north sea" deep water drilling filetype:ppt "north sea" deep water drilling filetype:pptx annual average global temperature 1960..2012 filetype:xls annual average global temperature 1960..2012 filetype:xlsx 10/04/2014 44

Google commands:

Google commands Filetype may not always work The filetype: command may not always work even when a site offers data, for example, in spreadsheet format Sometimes this is because the data is held in a database and the files are created from a subset of the data when you request the file. Instead of filetype:xlsx or filetype:xls simply include the word Excel or xls in your search.   10/04/2014 45

Google commands:

Google commands Site search For searching large websites, or groups of sites by type for example government, NHS, academic Can exclude sites using -site: Use advanced search screen or site: command organ donation statistics Wales organ donation statistics Wales organ donation statistics organ donation statistics Wales -site:au 10/04/2014 46

Google commands:

Google commands Numeric range search Anything to do with numbers and quantities: years, temperatures, weights, distances, prices etc Use the advanced search screen or type in your two numbers separated by two full stops as part of your search   TV advertising spend forecasts 2014..2020 world oil demand forecasts 80..100 mb/d 2015..2030 toblerone 1..5 kg 10/04/2014 47

Google commands:

Google commands Words in the title – can be single words or phrases Ensures subject is the main focus of the article Use advanced search screen or intitle: intitle:”diabetic retinopathy” Words in the URL – can be single words or phrases Use advanced search screen or inurl: inurl:”diabetic retinopathy” 10/04/2014 48


define 10/04/2014 49

Google Reading level:

Google Reading level Changes the type of material that is returned Nothing to do with publishers assigned reading age Run the search and from the menu above the results select Search tools , All results , Reading level 10/04/2014 50

Google Reading level:

Google Reading level 10/04/2014 51 Basic Advanced


Date Restrict your results to information that has been published within the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own date range Search tools , Any time and select an option  10/04/2014 52


daterange: Date restriction does not work with Verbatim Use daterange: command instead Uses Julian date format (fractions omitted) Julian Date Converter Syntax for example pages between June 20 th and June 26 th 2012 talking about the Statoil/Rosneft cooperation daterange:2456098-2456104 Statoil Rosneft 10/04/2014 53

daterange: the easy way:

daterange: the easy way Third party tools for the daterange : search for example then apply Verbatim 10/04/2014 54

Searching foreign language pages:

Searching foreign language pages A significant amount of information is in the local language Google has removed the extremely useful “Translated foreign pages” search option  This is how it can be done now Use Google Translate ( ) to translate your search into the required language. Copy the translated search and paste it into Google search. Google Chrome will offer to translate page If using another browser click on the ‘Translate this page’ link next to a result to view a translation of just that page. 10/04/2014 55

PowerPoint Presentation:

10/04/2014 56

Where have the databases & extra options gone?:

Where have the databases & extra options gone? With thanks to Phil Bradley for some of these Google Blogsearch Google Discussions Google Finance Google Patents Google Recipes Google Scholar Google Public Data Explorer Google Art Project Constitute 10/04/2014 57

Personalise your app bar:

Personalise your app bar 10/04/2014 58 Not all “apps” are available for the app bar, for example Google Scholar, Public Data Explorer

Google News :

Google News 10/04/2014 59 Can personalise news content when signed in to a Google account. Hidden underneath the cog wheel on the news home page. Change your location (automatically identified by Google), topics covered, sources and frequency of articles from sources.

Google Finance - :

Google Finance - 10/04/2014 60

Google Finance - :

Google Finance - 10/04/2014 61

Google finance historical share prices:

Google finance historical share prices 10/04/2014 62 Can only display and download one year at a time

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer One of Google's best kept secrets! 10/04/2014 63

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer 10/04/2014 64

Google Videos:

Google Videos 10/04/2014 65 Not the same as YouTube Google Video YouTube

Google Videos:

Google Videos 10/04/2014 66 Limit your search by duration, time, quality, source

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 “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” 10/04/2014 67

Images – usage rights :

Images – usage rights 10/04/2014 68


Images 10/04/2014 69

Images – “all sizes”:

Images – “all sizes” 10/04/2014 70

Images – colour (not always what you expect):

10/04/2014 71 Images – colour (not always what you expect) Search for patent and select the colour red (Thanks to Arthur Weiss for the example)

Images – use an existing image:

Images – use an existing image 10/04/2014 72 Click on the camera icon in the search box and then either enter the URL of an image or upload the image

Google Art Project :

Google Art Project 10/04/2014 73

Google ArtProject Museum view:

Google ArtProject Museum view 10/04/2014 74

Google Cultural Institute :

Google Cultural Institute 10/04/2014 75

Google Maps (classic view):

Google Maps (classic view) Post code areas, locations, directions Public transport for some countries Cycle routes for some areas Estimated fuel costs Satellite, Street View, photos, weather, videos Only as good as the underlying data – double check location 10/04/2014 76

Google Maps (classic view) directions

Google Maps (classic view) directions 10/04/2014 77

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) 10/04/2014 78

Looking for an expert on a topic?:

Looking for an expert on a topic? Academics use keywords with or with site:edu Presentations at conferences, lectures, seminars use keywords with filetype:ppt or with filetype:pptx use keywords with filetype:pdf Google Scholar 10/04/2014 79

Google Scholar :

Google Scholar “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research”.   Search all scholarly literature from one convenient place Explore related works, citations, authors, and publications Locate the complete document through your library or on the web Keep up with recent developments in any area of research Check who's citing your publications, create a public author profile 10/04/2014 80

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar Does not cover all key journals in all subjects – no source list Top publications for subjects and languages under Metrics link on home page or Scholar indexes the full text but you may have to pay to view the whole article Groups different versions of an article together 10/04/2014 81

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar Includes open access material, pre-prints, institutional repositories (but not necessarily author self archived repositories) Includes material that is NOT peer reviewed but is structured and looks like an academic article (title in large font, authors, affiliations, abstract, keywords, citations) Pre-prints and IR copies may differ from final published version – charts and images may be redacted because of copyright restrictions 10/04/2014 82

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar 10/04/2014 83 Does NOT use the publishers’ metadata Date and author search looks in the area of the document where those elements are usually found Page numbers, part of an address, data item may be mistaken for publication year Sometimes gets the author wrong

PowerPoint Presentation:

Jacsó, Péter. “Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar.”  Online Information Review  34.1 (2010): 175-191. Jacsó, Péter. Newswire Analysis: Google Scholar’s Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems Jacsó, Péter. “Google Scholar Author Citation Tracker: is it too little, too late? “ Online Information Review  36.1 (2012): 126-141. Jacsó, Péter. “Using Google Scholar for journal impact factors and the h-index in nationwide publishing assessments in academia–siren songs and air-raid sirens.”  Online Information Review  36.3 (2012): 462-478. Jacso – Savvy Searching Columns, Online Information Review   10/04/2014 84

PowerPoint Presentation:

Bad Google Scholar Results | Academic Librarian Gray, Jerry E., et al. Scholarish : Google Scholar and its Value to the Sciences. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Summer 2012 Hamilton, Michelle C, Janz , Margaret M and Hauser, Alexandra. Can librarians trust resources found on Google Scholar? Yes… and no. Impact of Social Sciences: Maximizing the impact of academic research . 17 September 2012. Kramer, Bianca and Sieverts , Eric. Beyond coverage #ili2012. Slideshare. 27 October 2012. HLWIKI International. Google scholar bibliography. UBC HealthLib Wiki - A Knowledge-Base for Health Librarians. 10/04/2014 85

PowerPoint Presentation:

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making | Full text | Is the coverage of google scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews No, Google Scholar Shouldn’t be Used Alone for Systematic Review Searching | Laika's MedLibLog BMC Medical Research Methodology | Full text | Google Scholar as replacement for systematic literature searches: good relative recall and precision are not enough 10/04/2014 86

Google Scholar advanced search commands:

Google Scholar advanced search commands Use advanced search screen or commands as follows: + sign before a search term to force an exact match, for example + norne “....” around phrases for example “environmental remediation”   intitle : to search for a single word in the title, for example intitle:zeolites environmental remediation   allintitle : to search for all of your terms in the title, for example allintitle:zeolites environmental remediation   author: to search on an author’s name, for example zeolites environmental remediation author:rhodes   site: to limit your search to specific institution for example marcellus shale   Commands can be combined for a precise search, for example author:wolford allintitle:marcellus shale 10/04/2014 87


Patents Coverage: US Canada European Patent Office (EPO) Germany China World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Patents available in original language and English (Google Translate) 10/04/2014 88

Google Patents:

Google Patents 10/04/2014 89

Google Patents advanced search:

Google Patents advanced search 10/04/2014 90

Google Patents:

Google Patents Patent Searching 101: A Patent Search Tutorial Patents & Patent Law Compares Google patent search with other services “Holes in the database” – may not be able to find patents you know exist Does go back further than some e.g. to US patent no.1 but difficult to focus search See also Patents Searching with Esp@cenet , Google Patents and USPTO - University of Bradford 10/04/2014 91 : Or use the Books option under More on the results page. Includes magazines, journals, newspapers 10/04/2014 92

Google Books Ngram viewer:

Google Books Ngram viewer 10/04/2014 93

Constitute :

Constitute “The world’s constitutions to read, search and compare” Supported by Google Ideas See for background and who is involved 10/04/2014 94

Create your own Google custom search engine:

Create your own Google custom search engine For regularly searched sites selected sites on a subject or type of organisation Cannot include password protected sources or sites where you have to fill in a form to access the information Google's blog on custom search 10 April 2014 Karen Blakeman 95

Google’s free alerting services:

Google’s free alerting services Google email and RSS alerts are seriously broken do not alert you to everything that is new alerts sometimes ‘die’ often bring up old material that you’ve already seen duplicate information Need an RSS reader e.g. Netvibes, Feedly, FeedReader, Old Reader Phil Bradley's weblog: 20 Alternatives to Google Reader 10/04/2014 96

Google alerts:

Google alerts Option for Scholar alerts not included – have to be set up from within Scholar 10/04/2014 97

Google alerts:

Google alerts 10/04/2014 98

Google Scholar alerts:

Google Scholar alerts 10/04/2014 99

Google Scholar alerts:

Google Scholar alerts 10/04/2014 100 Google alerts can go bizarrely wrong

De-mangling Google search results links :

De-mangling Google search results links 10/04/2014 101 With thanks to Jo Brodie for the tip

Keeping up to date:

Keeping up to date Inside Search Official Google Blog Google Scholar Blog Google UK SearchReSearch : Search Engine Land Search Engine Watch Search Engine Roundtable Karen Blakeman’s Blog Phil Bradley's weblog 10/04/2014 102

Fact sheets:

Fact sheets The fact sheets are available at Search Strategies - Top Search Tips Search Strategies - Selected Google Commands Search Strategies - Google Search Tips Search Strategies - Search Tools Summary and Comparison 10/04/2014 103

PowerPoint Presentation:

Remember that Google is continually changing Personalisation is a key element of Google’s algorithms Explore and make use of the options in the menus on your results pages Get to know the advanced search commands If you want to keep Google in check keep up with changes and new developments at Google 10/04/2014 104

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