The word “googlear” (“to google” in English) is already being considered by the Royal Spanish Academy, and it’s already virtually a daily activity.
“Google” has become a frequently used verb, but do you question the content you find? Do you really know how to identify fake news? Do you know of other tools that tell you how to google?
For example, when using the key words: “vegetarian recipes”, “weight loss exercises”, “how to assemble a piece of furniture yourself”, “places to eat seafood in Mexico City”, etc. In this way, you can use the tool as a very intuitive source, but if you want to optimize your searches, here are some basic tips on how to take advantage of the most famous search engine.
It’s one of the most recommended tools. The importance of this tool is that Google allows you to find websites, videos, and images with the full and accurate phrase you put inside quotes.
If you don’t use quotes, more results come up, but the more results there are the lower the quality of the information you find and vice versa.
For example, using quotes in the expression “recipes to make corn bread” will take you to websites or videos with that exact phrase and not to many other sites that contain recipes (which can be quite a few and quite varied), bread (which can be different types and classes), or corn (which can be sites related to that food product).
At this point, you should be careful when typing the words inside the quotes, because if you type them wrong, for example with a misspelling, Google’s search engine will produce the results containing the misspelled word.
As you may have noticed in searches you’ve done, Google always gives a recommendation for how to spell the word correctly. And it does this, not because it’s an expert in languages or linguistics, but because it’s based on the most popular and common searches. So, it concludes that the thing most people search for is “corn” and not “korn”.
In addition to the powerful tool of using quotes, you can use the (+) sign to join two types of words or expressions.
If you type “how to make corn bread”, you can add the expression “Mexico” to specify that your searches are exclusively about the way this delicious bread is made in Mexico, so your search becomes: “how to make corn bread” + “Mexico”.
This way you’ll save time from having to search pages in other countries, where there will surely be other styles of bread as well, but you’ve made it clear to Google that you’re interested in the way it’s made in Mexico.
The plus sign (+) differs from quotes (“ “), which are for exact phrases. Instead, the conjunction or (+) is for searching for words that are separated or far apart. Using the (+) achieves results that meet the conditions separated by the sign.
In contrast to the plus sign (+) indicating conjunction, the hyphen or minus sign (-) allows you to exclude a word or expression so that those terms are ignored in your searches.
That is, the specific description of: “how to make corn bread” (-) “Mexico” will result in websites, videos, or images that don’t contain Mexico, so the links you’ll get will have corn bread recipes in other parts of the world.
This is another useful tool for doing a search when your interest is in finding sites that have either one or both parts of a phrase or all parts of the expressions.
If you put “mechatronic engineering careers” OR “Querétaro”, it will result in the engineering careers indicated in conjunction with the aforementioned city.
You should keep in mind that in this kind of search you run the risk of the search engine giving you generalities about the city Querétaro since it sees it as an independent expression, so Google could interpret that we want general information about that word.
So, if you want to look for mechatronics careers in Querétaro, you’d ideally write “mechatronic engineering careers in Querétaro”. You’ll need to tell the search engine precisely what key words you want to join and what you want the search to give you with the OR.
This symbol tells Google to add more alternatives. Writing “how to make corn bread *” + “Mexico” in the search engine will give you recipes for this bread, but will add topics its algorithm finds relevant to your search, for example, making it without flour, without baking, or with eggnog.
In addition to the symbols (“ “), (+), (-), (OR), or (*), you can also use some words that will allow you to locate content more easily.
This helps you search for pages that have your key words in their title. An Intitle for “how to make corn bread” will show you the web pages or videos whose title begins with that expression.
Another useful phrase to search with is Filetype, which allows you to access a file type for the phrases you’re looking for.
Therefore, a “how to make corn bread” Filetype: PPT will give you PowerPoint presentations on the recipe you’re looking for, or if you place Filetype: PDF, it will give you documents in this format. The latter is very useful if you want to find scientific or academic articles.
Have you noticed that when you search, just below the field where you type expressions you see terms like “All,” “Videos,” “Images,” “News,” “Shopping,” and other terms where you can filter down your searched expressions?
You may not have noticed that there are also the terms “Settings” and “Tools” so that you can further customize your results.
Under “Settings”, you can select the language of your choice, hide certain results, view the history of your searches, change the region, etc.
In addition, there’s the “Advanced Search” section, where you can select several of the features that we’ve already mentioned, but all at the same time.
An interesting option is “Any time” under “Tools”, where you can choose how recent the results are, whether you want them to be the most recent, from the last 24 hours, from the last month or year, etc.
An important topic when finding search results on Google is whether what you find comes from reliable sources and therefore whether the information your browser gives you is reliable, especially if you want to share with others.
Google leaves that up to its users, so the search engine has no alerts for this type of malicious news.
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— Google (@Google) March 11, 2021
Photos altered with Photoshop are also part of fake news. When you find images, Google has an option for you to upload them and find out where they come from.
Let’s explain: In the field where you type your search, you can see the image of a camera. You can click on it and then it gives you the option to upload an image. When uploaded, it’ll take you to the website where it was first published, along with others where it’s been published.
With this, you can check if the photo’s title, photographer, original website, and date are genuine. As the result of a tendency for altering images, original faces in the photos can be changed to create false narratives of events that never happened.
In the case of videos, you also need to look at them with a magnifying glass. Before sharing them, check details such as the location, what people are wearing, and idioms to give you an idea if they correspond to your country. Now, with the pandemic, you can check whether people are wearing face masks to see if videos were made during the past year. You can also do another search to find out the date and context in which they were taken.
Staying on the topic of news, the Secure Ethics page of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for New Latin American Journalism gives us the following instructions:
Other recommendations for a so-called Fast Check to prevent fake news are the following: