5 Simple Ways to be a better Googler
You probably spend a lot time Yahoo-ing with IE8. Just kidding. These are your family members, your older relatives, and your one friend. If you are faced with a difficult support issue, you will likely follow a process similar to xkcd’s Tech Support Cheat Sheet. Unfortunately, it has not been incorporated into Network+ or CCNA.
What if your end users could learn the same thing? Although you don’t want people messing around with their computers, it is something you secretly long for: they could Google simple problems.
These are some simple tips and tricks that will make you (and them) the best possible Googler. This stuff is probably already known, but we have made it easy for you.
Start Broad, Go Narrow
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You can add words until you find the answer to your question. Filtering techniques can be used to narrow down your search if more words don’t help.
Pro tip: Using the minus operator (-), next to a word, will help you exclude undesirable results. Using quotation marks, however, will return only those exact words in that order.
For example, you might search for printer Kill spooling-pc. This string searches for webpages that include the terms “printer” or “Kill” as well as “spooling” (in this order) and “pc”.
You can also search for “cbtnuggets”, or “printer Kills” to find CompTIA A+ training.
Use Natural Language
Are you unsure where to start? You can type the question as if you were asking Jeeves. (By the by, Ask Jeeves still exists as http://ask.com/. Google responds well when you search in natural language.
Major search engines have made significant efforts to improve natural language search results in recent years. This will help your searches return more relevant and faster results.
This will allow you to not have to search for the right keywords or memorize the search operators. If you’re studying CompTIA Network+, for example, you could use “maximum Distance of Cat6a” or “Port 23.”
Searching for Error codes
This one is probably not important to your end users. Except for 404. They should be able to identify that one.
Unless you have a very special talent, you won’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of every software and hardware problem. It’s also quite unnecessary, given the rise of search engines.
Chrome to its full potential
Many of us are more selective about our browser selection than we are about our search engine choice. Chrome may not be your first choice. Google Chrome is a great way to maximize your Google superpowers.
Have you ever tried to use an older relative’s computer and found that the browser search bar went to Yahoo, Bing, McAfee, or McAfee? It’s bewildering. We know. It’d be equally bizarre to see their browser default to Duck Duck Go. (“Grandma! Why are you using Tor?”
If you’ve used Chrome for a while you’ll be able to see that the address bar at top is your search engine.
Pro tip: Get rid of the poor on-site search bar. You can search an entire domain on Google by simply typing the URL (or copying it) into the search bar, and then pressing the spacebar. Next, type your search term.
For instance, you could search the entire SPOTO blog by typing “blog.cbtnuggets.com/” followed by a space, and search away!
You can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate Chrome. Here are the hotkeys to perform your most common actions.
Have some fun
Google offers many more lighthearted features than can be found on the web.