Verbatim at Google

Tara Calishain has discovered that Google’s search feature – verbatim – (find this under Tools > All results) – the one by which Google is expected to look for each word exactly and return only those pages with those words – doesn’t conform.

Google Has a Weird Definition of Verbatim, Research Buzz (Jan 2)

She wrote – “Google’s Help page explains the Verbatim option very simply: ” Search for exact words or phrases.” I had always taken that to mean that if you search for a particular set of keywords, a Verbatim search will search for all those keywords in the way you’ve expressed them.” That’s what I thought too – but Google takes liberties with the search query and will drop a term if it can’t be found. I am once again disappointed in Google but not surprised.

Searching for Emojis

Dan Russell at SearchResearch had a series of challenges on finding emoji and unicode characters –  what they are, how to do it, and why you would want to.

  1. The background – #900 – A note about how to search for emojis and other Unicode characters
  2. The challenge – Finding interesting uses for unicode/emoji search?
  3. The answer – Answer: Finding interesting uses for emoji/Unicode search?

All interesting.

Genealogy and Google’s Advanced Search

Genealogy researchers need to use advanced search techniques. Blogging gurus in this field sometimes offer guidance in using search operators. Dick Eastman has posted (+) Boolean Basics – Part #2 in which he shows the use of the NOT operator ( – sign) to exclude, and quotation marks to look for phrases. He illustrates with several well developed queries showing OR and AND (although Google defaults to ANDing terms).

Please note: The use of + to require a term no longer applies – does not work – can accomplish the same thing by putting the word inside quotation marks, otherwise use Verbatim found under Search Tools > All Results.

As well, there is the number range operator which is extremely useful when  looking for events between dates. Format is nn..nn. Example: immigration “canada west” 1843..1853″ – to get pages that talk about immigration to Canada West and have a date within the range of 1843 to 1853. Since Upper Canada was also still being used in reference, could form the query as immigration (“canada west” OR “upper canada”) 1843..1853″

Google – two indexes

This doesn’t sound good for the information professional working at a desktop – Google will have two indexes: one for mobile users for quick response, and a desktop version that will be less current.

Within months, Google to divide its index, giving mobile users better & fresher content Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Oct 13)

“Google is going to create a separate mobile index within months, one that will be the main or “primary” index that the search engine uses to respond to queries. A separate desktop index will be maintained, one that will not be as up-to-date as the mobile index.”

Maybe it would be a good idea to break the habit of searching Google all the time.

Google Ranking Algorithms

Although Google has denied that ranking of search results is influenced by a user’s social connections, Google is certainly extremely interested in the methods and the possibilities.

Exploring a newly-granted Google patent around social signals, Dave Davies, Search Engine Land (Oct 7)

After considerable analysis of the patent, Davies concludes, “In short, according to this patent, what people you’re connected to recommend, like and engage with could be used to impact your rankings.” If Google is doing, the source of information isn’t clear – yet.

Also of great interest:

Another aspect of Google search that we need to be constantly aware of is that RankBrain now applies to all queries. Essentially, this means that artificial intelligence (AI) is interpreting all queries to some degree. While at this time the AI implementation revolves more around using machine learning to understand the nature of the query (and likely type of content and format being sought), its rollout to all queries and the promotion of John Giannandrea to Head of Search at Google marks the push into AI control over larger portions of the Google algorithm.

Lisa Louise Cooke Search Tip

Lisa Louise Cooke has a new tech-tip video for genealogists – Speak Google’s Language: Google Search Operator Basics. Many will know these two tips – using quotation marks and using OR – but Cooke’s explanations are elegantly simple and enjoyable. Where I would have been tempted to talk about building up concepts, she keeps it very simple by showing how to use OR to search on two formats for a person’s name.   The book she mentions (in her store) is one of the best guides to using Google I have ever come across.

Less well known Google features

Lots to try out in 21 {Awesome} Google Tips & Tricks Series by Daniel Futerman (ongoing)

This guide to features in Google tools is useful, but features do disappear – especially at Google. Has something on Youtube, Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Alerts;  Chrome; ads – Google Adsense, Adwords – plus more.

The first item is the very interesting — Google Search: Your personal search trends. It mentions that Google provides statistics on your Google searches – but I could find no trace. I did, however, find the new look to Google’s search history – now called Google My Activity – shows search terms and visited pages. Can filter by date and by Google product (images, video etc), and do a keyword search – very good.

Travel with Google

Travellers can have at their fingertips a new app from Google – Google Trips, and they can plan their trips on the desktop now (as well as mobile) with Google Destinations.

See more, plan less – try Google Trips, Google Blog (Sep 19)

“Google Trips is a personalized tour guide in your pocket. Each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more, so you have everything you need at your fingertips.”

Google Destinations, Now for Desktop, Google Operating System (Sep 14)

“Search for a continent, a country or state you’d like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a “plan a trip” section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events”