Sunday, March 23, 2008

Google Undercover:

Google has been the dominate search engine on the Internet for several years now, but there are many, many things you can do with Google that most people don't know about. Many of these hidden gems inside of Google add some tools that help you become a search engine pro. Many of you know about and use the 'link' and 'site' searches that you can use in Google, I cover these in depth in many of the presentations I do, specifically in the 'World Wide Literacy' presentation I have done at the CLMS Statewide Conference and at CUE in Palm Springs, when I pinch hit for Chris Dede. The two videos below cover many of these Google functions, that the advanced user uses regularly.

These are some lesser known tools that are deeply undercover, but can re
ally help you if you need to validate or track information that has mysteriously disappeared.

FileType Search: The filetype search is the one piece of this post that many people know about, but I included it because I think it is one that most teachers don't know about and probably should. Why? In many schools, the school subscribes to a service to check student work for plagiarism using or some other like service. These services do a great job comparing text passages with the written work of other authors, but typically will not index PowerPoint presentations. If you are having students use PowerPoint to present their work, you should know about how to use the filetype search to find PowerPoint presentations posted on the Internet.

Page History: Ever want to find a page that has mysteriously disappeared from the Internet? There are many ways to do this, but it all depends on whether you anticipate the page disappearing in the first place. If that is the case, most bookmarking services, like and will actually index or cache the page when you save it, so you can go back at anytime and see the page as it existed when you bookmarked it. Many of you know and use the 'Wayback Machine' at which will show you the entire history of many pages on the Internet. I frequently use this tool with students because of it's ease and simplicity. But there is a little known function within Google that will do the same thing, it is the 'cached' link that is part of every Google search. In the graphic below, I circled the 'cached' link to the copy of the page that Google has in its own cache.

Similar Pages: Some people don't see this as a thing of value, but I like to use it to validate the information on any page. If I can document that the same information is coming from two or more domains with different 'owners' (easywhois search) it goes a long way toward validating the information on the page.

Page Translation: You can use Google Translation to read pages from other languages, but there are three different ways to do this. First, use Google Language Tools, which will search the Google database for pages in the language you specify and translate them to the language you want to read them in. Second, you can use the search string to look for sites in one language and have them automatically translated into another language. Third, you can use the link provided in the Google Search Results to translate the page. (see graphic below)

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