More than just a search engine


Contents of this Help Topic

Go to Search Settings

Go to Google Searching

Go to Refining a Search

Go to Telephone Number Search

Go to Package Tracking

Go to Google Finance

Go to Google Calculator

Go to Google UPC Database

Go to Google Patents Database

Go to Google Groups

Go to Google Images and Videos

Go to Google Maps

Go to Google News

Go to Google News Archives

Go to Google Translation Tools

Go to Google News Alerts

Go to Google Mail

Go to Google Books

Go to Google Checkout



Search Settings

Google is well known as an Internet Search Engine, but it can do so much more. First a little on controlling the Google environment. Before we do a search, note Search Settings at the top right. This allows us to control how Google will search. Clicking on Search Settings we can change the language, filtering, Number of results and whether or not to Google should make suggestions.

Since I'm an adult, I do not want any filtering, and since I have a broadband connection I would like Google to return 100 results at a time instead of the default of 10. I also like Google suggestions so I leave that at the default. When I'm done I click on Save Preferences at the top.

Google Prefrences


Google Searching

We are going to do a Google search on computers for seniors so we type that into the search box. Note that capitalization does NOT count in search arguments. Everything is converted to lower case before the search. Click the Google Search button.

The I'm Feeling Lucky button is fairly useless. It just goes directly to the first site found.



We get our search results. Let's look at the page layout. Our search returned over a million web sites! The first thing to note are the two sites in the beige'ish area at the top. These are Sponsored Links. The owners of these sites pay thousands of dollars to Google for the privilege of being listed first in the search results. The other thing to note are the Sponsored Links to the right. These are Pay per Click, sites, where the site owner establishes an advertising fund with Google and Google deducts a nickel ($0.05) every time someone clicks on the site from this screen.

Next are the actual search results ranked by site popularity, starting with and continuing for a million more sites. Google is smart, it knows that we are located in the Atlanta area from our IP Address so it gives Atlanta area sites a preference. Note our site is listed as #3. We are actually closer to #6 on a worldwide basis. To visit any site listed simply click on it and you will be taken to the site.

Now you know how to read a Google Search screen.

Search Results


Refining your search


Getting over a million web sites returned on a search is not terribly useful if what you are looking for is not in the first few. Let's look at ways to refine the search so that we get fewer sites. When we do a search on computers for seniors, Google actually searches for any web site that contains computers OR for OR seniors. Since we are looking for the phrase computer for seniors, we put it in quotes and repeat the search.

This tells Google to only look for web sites that contain the phrase "computers for seniors".

In quotes


Not much of a change but look at the number of web sites returned. It has gone from over a million to 38,800 sites!

with quotes


So now we refine the search even more by adding +georgia to the search argument and do the search again.

This time we see a big change. Google searched on "computers for seniors" AND georgia, where our site is #1 of only 1,830 sites.

Way less


Now, refine the search even more by adding +"cobb county" and repeating the search. This time we only get 16 sites returned and they all talk about us. Note that the indented web sites are pages in the upper home site site.

Only 16


By just refining our search with " and + we have gone from 902,000 to 16 web sites!

Now let's look at the - operator. It subtracts web sites from the main search argument. This is particularly useful when searching for people. We'll do a search on "michael conti" where we get 61,300 web sites returned. There are a lot of them.

Michael Conti


We are NOT looking for the video production guy so we'll add -"video production" to the search argument, and we are not looking for the director so we add -director and repeat the search. We are down to 7,870 sites.

We continue adding minus arguments until we find the person we want.

Going down


We've used + - and " to modify searching. Now let's move on.

In addition to searching web sites, Google can search for Images, Videos, Maps or Groups.


Telephone Numbers

Google has access to all published telephone books. If your telephone number is in the phone book, you can be found on Google through your phone number alone. Simply enter the phone number and search. Here, we have entered 770-509-4900, the phone number of the East Cobb Senior Center.

EC Phone


Enter your telephone number and see what Google finds on you.


Package Tracking

You can also track any package handled by UPS, FedEx, DHL or even the Post Office. Simply enter the tracking number. Google knows the company from the format of the number. We have entered 1Z3AW0360359555907, a UPS tracking number and find that out package has already been delivered.

FedEx and UPS have sophisticated tracking systems. You can track the location of your package while in transit.

UPS Track


Google Finance

Google has complete financial information for any corporation traded on any stock exchange. You can enter Google Finance by going to More and Finance or simply entering the company symbol. Here we have entered Cisco Systems CSCO.

Google Finance


Google Calculator

Google also offers a full function calculator. Simply enter the calculation where + is add, - is subtract, * is multiply, / is divide and ^ is a power. Here we have entered 25*5+300/2 and Google tells us the answer is 275 when the calculation is grouped as shown.

Google Calculator


Google UPC Database

Every product commercially produced carries a Universal Product Code or UPC. It is the familiar barcode seen on almost everything. Google has a database of UPC codes. We have entered 0743120000030 and find that a bottle of Nature's Bounty Vitamin Pills are actually manufactured by Abco Office Furniture in Alabama.

UPC Database


Google Patents

Google contains a database of over seven million U.S.Patents. Here we have searched on patent 2493055. The original patent for a zipper. We can view all five pages of the patent by clicking on a page or download a PDF file of the entire patent.

You can get to the Patent Database by entering patent and the number as we did or going to More, even more and Patents.

Google Patents


Google Groups

Groups are an old area of the Internet that predates the web. Groups are discussion forums for like minded people. There are over 700,000,000 discussion groups. The downside is that every perversion known to man is represented. The upside is that nearly every computer geek and scientist is a member. You can obtain valuable computer help from groups. To get to Groups go to Google and click on More. Groups is the first item in the drop down menu.

When searching in Groups the rules are the same as when doing a web search, Use the ",+,-. Try a search on "computer running slow" or "error 401". You will be returned at least 100,000 results. These are other people who had the same problem and what they did to solve it. Groups have Threads so you will first see the post of a person with the problem, then responses with solutions.

If you are looking for an answer and posting, use the Computer Groups for computer problems.



Now we are going to explore other things we can search. When you go to Google, note the first line at the top of the screen where you will see the other things you can search.

Other Searches


Google Images and Videos

We will first search for pictures so click on Images. The search looks the same as a web search except that it shows Google Images and instead of web sites we are now searching for pictures. Let's do a search on "australian cattle dog" so we type that into the search argument.

Google searches the web for pictures of Australian Cattle Dogs and finds about 106,000 of them. To view a picture, simply click on it. We choose the last picture and click on it.

ACD Images


We get that image and click on See full size image. Image


And we get the full size picture. We can do some interesting things with that image if we right mouse click on it. We can then save it somewhere on our computer, send it in an email or make it our desktop background.

Try it! Go find some image that you like and put it on your desktop.

Full size ACD


The same applies to videos. Try clicking on Videos and find an interesting video.

If you can't think of one, try "copper clappers" - a clip from the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was the host.


Google Maps

Google Maps provide road maps, satellite images and ground views of the Earth. So let's type in the address of the East Cobb Senior Center. The maps search argument is slightly different. It is the address separated by commas so we type: 3332 sandy plaines rd, marietta, ga in the search box.

Google Maps


And we get a map with the location of the East Cobb Senior Center denoted by an A.

Look at a satellite image, by clicking on Satellite or a street view by clicking on Street view in the box.

You can also get driving directions by clicking on Get directions.

East Cobb Map


In the Satellite image you can zoom in or out by moving the slider at the left. You can move around the image by grabbing a point on it holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse OR by using the navigation circle at the top left. Try both of them.

You can also return to the street view by clicking on the person at the top of the slider.

Satellite Image of EC


Now go to Google Maps and find your house or the house you grew up in.


Google News

Since the introduction of computerized typesetting in the 1950's, every newspaper has a record of their old editions. The Internet proved a reason to put them on-line. All newspapers around the world are now on the Internet.

Google News collects them daily and allows you to do things with that information.

First, go to Google News. The default is U.S. news but you can select another country by clicking the down arrow and selecting the country of your choice. You can also look at specific areas in the news, by selecting one of the news categories under the country.

Look at the first news article, here from CNN. At the bottom you will see all 1,346 news articles in green. This tells you the same news article was carried by 1,346 other news sources. If you click on it you may select what news source you would like to see. Google indexes all of them.

Now scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Google News


And locate the bottom tool bar. Click on Other News Editions to see all the newspapers Google collects. You can select your Country or Language of choice.

Bottom of News


It is handy to have the Home Page on your browser set to Google News. You then have every newspaper around the world at your finger tips every morning. Very handy.

And don't worry about the language. Google has a powerful translation tool.


Searching the News Archives


Google has been collecting news articles since around 2004. If you are interested in a broad news search prior to then, one must subscribe to a service like LexusNexus, which is expensive. As Google News matures it will offer real competition to Nexus.

To search the archive go to Google News and enter a search in the box.

Basic News Search


You can also refine your search by using an Advanced Search. Advanced News Search


Or search the archive. This has the advantage that there are older articles that have been contributed to Google. Not as thorough as Nexus but free.

News Archives


Now you can search the Google News Archive.


Google Translation Tools

Google offers a set of powerful language translation tools. To use them, tabbed browsing comes in handy. Tabbed Browsing is where your web browser opens multiple sessions in new tabs.

First go to Google and click on More then Even More.

Google More


You will be taken to More Google Products menu. Scroll down to Translate and click on it.

Google Even More


You will then go to the Google Translate Page. That is your First Tab. Now click on the tab to the right of that page. The little tab with a yellow star at the top right. New Tab This will open a new tab.

We now have two tabs open. the first is set to Translate and the second is set to our Home page which we have set to Google News.

Scroll down to the bottom menu and click on Other News Editions.

Let's pick something like Hindi from India.

Second Tab


Where we pick the first article in the summary and get something we clearly don't understand.



Select the URL, copy it, then go back to Google Translate in the first tab and paste it in the box.

Then select translate from Hindi to English and click Translate.



And we have an English translation! Not exactly the Queens English but readable.

Hindi Translation


Note that we could have also used the Translate function at the top, but if you get used to opening two tabs for translation, it has more uses.

Example, you have a housekeeper from Brazil and although she has been very reliable, she has a difficult time with English. You want to make sure she cleans another room this week. Just type your message into the box, select translate English to Portuguese and click Translate.

Translate for a housekeeper


You get a Portuguese translation.



Google News Alerts


Google offers News Alerts where Google sends you an email whenever your search argument appears in any newspaper.

To do this you need a Google Account. Click on Sign in on any Google page and then Create an account now

It's straight forward and free. To create an account now, go here.

When you are signed in to your account, go to My Account and click on Alerts

My Account


Where you can set a News Alert whenever your Search Terms come up in News, Web sites, Blogs, Groups, Video or any of them with a comprehensive search.

You can also select How often you would like to receive the alerts and what email address should be used.

News Alerts


When you have created alerts, you can create New Alerts Delete alerts or edit existing alerts.



Google Mail


Google also offers one of the best free web mail accounts with 1 GB of space. That's big enough for a whole CD or many thousands of digital pictures. For more information on Web Mail and Client Mail, see our Help Topics on Email.

Signing up for an account is free and easy. Go to any Google screen and click on Mail then Create an account on the next screen. You will be taken to the Gmail account screen. It's straightforward and only takes a few minutes. Once you create a Gmail account, sign in to it.

You will be taken to a welcome screen. Click on the Show me my accounts button.



Where you will be taken to your Gmail Inbox. To look at an item, simply double click on it. For example the first item here is spam. We look at it and click on Report as spam.

The second item is a real email intended for Webmasters.

Note the left side. Click on 6 more and let's create a new folder.


Gmail Nav

First look at the choices.

To create an email, click on Compose Mail.

To look at your new mail, click on Inbox.

Starred messages is Google's way of labeling messages. You can assign a star of various colors to a message.

Sent mail is your Outbox. It shows all the messages you have sent.

Drafts are the emails you are working on but have not been sent.

Personal and Travel are two Google default mailboxes.

All Mail lumps everything together. Not terribly useful, unless you are looking for an old email.

We have had this account for a couple years and the Google spam filter has identified 1272 pieces of spam. Double click on Spam. When the Spam mailbox comes up, click Delete all spam to free up the space. You can also look through the spam to make sure they are all really spam. The filter is Bayesian which means that it is trainable. The more you tell it that it is wrong, the more accurate it becomes. Google has very good Spam filtering.

Receipts are the same as in any other email system.

Work is another Google default mailbox. We can keep it or delete it.

Manage labels is where we re-arrange labels, delete or re-name them.

Create new label is exactly what the name indicates. We want to create a label called C4S to store things related to computers4seniors so do that. The new label now appears with the other mailboxes.

If you have a webcam, Google supports video chats as well as instant messaging.




Once you have a Gmail account, Google expands the features offered to you.


Google Books


Google has placed the entire contents of over seven million books in an on-line library. These books are available for preview, search or purchase through links to major book merchants. For some books the entire content is available to read, for others, only sections are available to read. In both cases the entire content is searchable.

Sort of the ultimate card file. Think of the usefulness of such a tool in college. Google Books puts that power at your finger tips.

To access Google Books, go to any Google page, click More and Books. Categories are shown on the left. With a Google Account, you can create an on-line library.

We click on the first book Hunting and Fishing in Florida.

Google Books


The book is on the right. It helps to have a big screen with Google Books. You can browse through the book by using the scroll bar to the right of the book or searching the contents by clicking Contents at the top. You can buy the book by clicking on Buy or one of the retailers at the left.

A Book


Because most of the books are under copyright you can read them on-line but cannot copy the content. Google Books is ideal for browsing or searching. One can look at all the books on a particular subject and buy the one that is best suited for your needs. By using Google's powerful searching engine we can also search through all the books for information on a specific subject.

For example, if we are looking for something on Michelson interferometers and gravity, a very specific search. We would enter the search argument: +"michelson interferometer" +gravity. Google Books will search through the entire library of 7 million books and locate 639 with that search argument!

Google Books even tells the page where that search argument is found. That's a powerful tool.



If you like books, you will love Google Books. Go explore the library.


Google Checkout


Today there is no single financial organization to handle on-line check outs. There are a number of companies trying to fill that gap. Google is one of them.

Go to Google Checkout. You need an account at Google so go to Google Checkout and create and create an account if you don't already have one. You will need to give them a credit card number to use checkout. Google does have "world class" security so a credit card number is safe. See the C4S Shopping Online Computer Help topic for additional information.

Google Checkout


With an account you will see the merchants that accept Google for checkout. It is secure and easy.

Google Checkout


Now use Google with everything you have learned. Don't forget to explore the options we did not cover. We have covered less than half of what Google can do!!!