At Sullivan and Ward, P.C., we continually seek ways to streamline our resources and tune-up our skills to provide quality representation to our clients in the most efficient and effective manner. As a paralegal for the firm, I am always seeking information to utilize our computer software and other on-line tools more efficiently. I often ask myself, “What resources are at our fingertips that we don’t utilize to the fullest to the benefit of our clients?”
I recently ran across an article in Paralegal Today, a professional publication I subscribe to that provided a great article on how to use Google more effectively. The article, Become a Google Power Searcher, was written by Paralegal, Kris Hill, ACP, FRP. In her article, Kris, provides a link to a Google website that provides several lessons on how to utilize Google more effectively. The website can be found at www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com. The lessons are free of charge. I have not been through the entire list of lessons, but did complete the first stage, and found the information to be very helpful.
A few things that I learned were:
- Images can be searched, and then filtered by color. This can be helpful if you remember certain characteristics of something, but not the actual name you want to search. The website gave the example of a book. You might remember what was on the cover and the author’s name, but not the name of the book. You can provide in the query, the word “book” and the author’s name, and click on “images” and then search. If you remember that the book was yellow, you can then filter the images by the color yellow, and you will most likely see the image of the book for which you are looking. (Lesson 1-1)
- If you filter images for the color, “white” Google will show you charts and diagrams relating to your search criteria. (Lesson 1-1)
- You can also filter the images by their usage rights. For instance,if you want to use a Google image, type in your search, the word “Google and hit “image” below the search box, then filter by, “Labeled for reuse,” and Google will give you the image you can use. (Lesson 1-1)
- When you do a search in Google, here are the questions that Google’s software asks:
v How many times does this page contain your key words?
v Do the words appear in the title? In the URL (web address)?
v Do the words appear directly adjacent?
v Does the page include synonyms for those words?
v Is this page from a quality website? Or is it low quality, even spammy? What is this page’s PageRank?
Google combines all those factors together to produce each page’s overall score and send you back your search results, about half a second after you submit your search. (Lesson 1-3) Remembering these questions can help you better describe what you are looking for in your search.
Some of these are common sense, but a few of them I did not know.
- By searching with less common words, you might find your answer more quickly, (i.e., instead of using the word “old” to find an “old town” that you cannot remember the name of, Google suggests trying “ghost town.”) (Lesson 1-4)
- When searching via Google, remember that every word in your query matters, as well as the order of your words, however capitalization does not. Most punctuation also does not matter, however there are several symbols that Google does read (such as % and $).(Lesson 1-5)
I found this website and the lessons completed to be very helpful and plan to go through all of the information/lessons in the near future. I hope that this information and the website provided are also helpful to you – and happy Googling!