3 – Google Search


This powerful web search engine is often described as the only e-learning tool you’ll ever need!

Website: google.com
Cost: Free
Availability: Online

Rankings in the previous surveys:

2021: 3 2020: 3 2019: 2 2018: 3 2017: 2 2016: 2 2015: 3 2014: 5
2013: 4 2012: 4 2011: 15 2010: 11 2009: 8 2008: 6 2007: 3

Comments on Google Search in 2022

“I can source multiple perspectives/models/information/papers that I can then apply my own critical thinking to and work out what I want to pay attention to. By looking for multiples I often end up creating hybrid models or an alternate perspective.” Rebecca Slingo, General Manager Learning, Australia

“I create and share documents for work and at home with family almost daily. Google suite allows collaboration that makes my life a lot easier. I also use Google search all.the.time.” Erin Clarke, Learning and Development Manager, USA

“When I need to find something even more quickly than YouTube, perhaps. Whether it’s a fast way to find the name of a book title that’s on the tip of my tongue, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of it, but I can remember the author’s name. Or if it’s even something like how to create a Family Feud-style interaction using PowerPoint, Google typically has a step-by-step answer for me.” Brian Washburn, CEO Endurance Learning, USA

“Yawn. But you cannot do without it, you know it.” Gerald Peterson, Germany

Previous comments on Google Search 

“Frankly, I’m not sure what I’d do without this tool, as “googling” my questions and topics that I’m interested in learning more about has been so integral and engrained in both my academic past and my professional present.” Quality Assurance and Training Administrator, USA, 2021

“I can’t remember a time I have not used this tool. Anything and everything is a click away.” JP, E-Learning Specialist, Suriname, 2021

“Can literally find anything. Filters most relevant stuff.” Stefan Drenth, Content Creator, Netherlands, 2021

“Distills and helps to connect great ideas and easy to reference” Arun Pradhan, Australia, 2021

“who can live without it?” Jan Janssen, Educational projects manager, Netherlands, 2021

“Tried others like Bing and DuckDuckGo, but Google still Works better for me.” Practical Trainer, Netherlands, 2021

“Your modern encyclopedia” Roberto Galvez, Corporate Services Director, Indonesia, 2021

“A simply incredible tool for searching for information on the internet.” C. Tollenaar, Project Design Engineer, Netherlands, 2021

“Google just makes life easy, you can find anything you want.” Lili ten Berge, Animation Editor, Netherlands, 2021

“Staying current in my profession requires constant continuing education and staying current on the latest developments. Google Search allows me to find information very quickly, apply it immediately, and share it with colleagues and students.” Karen McKinney, Architect – Instructor, USA, 2020

“I can be specific about a topic or search for an overview. Results include a variety of formats (print, audio, video). For simple questions the answer will appear in bold at the top of search results without clicking an article. I can see the full web address to discount any that are obviously not useful.” Teacher, USA, 2020

“Starting point for virtually any kind of learning. Increasingly the primary search and retrieval tool used.” Ian Gardner, Online Learning and Development Coordinator, Switzerland, 2020

“this is another service that is often overlooked by others but with is an essential part of my online learning. While I do a lot of day-to-day content aggregation, and usually search my own stuff when I need to refer back, it’s Google search that I turn to first when I’m doing deeper research. Also noteworthy here are Google’s image search and Google Scholar for academic papers (even though it really should have an ‘open content only’ button).”  Stephen Downes, Canada, 2020

“I Google everything that I want to know. It is the first place where I go when I need to discovery more about something” Athais Fagundes, L&D Specialist, Brazil, 2020

“I would be lost without it for finding the things I need to check/learn at that particular moment” Business Systems Analyst, UK, 2020

“I can develop my knowledge and understanding through a search that provides me with access to a multitude of answers.” Steve Batchelder, Learning and Development Officer, UK

Quick Guide to Google Search

Here you will find some links to external resources on how to use Google Search for teaching, training, learning and development.

For individuals, in the workplace and in education Google is a powerful search engine; often described as the only e-learning tool one will ever need. But do you use Google optimally?  Do you use power searching techniques to reduce results to an effective number?

At the Google website, everyone knows that that all they need to do is type in a word or phrase and press the Google Search button and Google returns a page of results that shows many resources that match a search word or phrase. But are you getting too many results? You will need some power searching skills to reduce their results to an effective number.  Here are 5 basic things to remember:

  1. Search string: A group of search terms is called a string.  Build a search string one term at a time to narrow down the search. Just leave a space between the terms.
  2. Google ignores common or “stop” words, i.e. does not use them in a search. These include: the, a/an, in, where, how. To force them in to the search string, add + before each one.
  3. Phrase string: When looking for an exact phrase or quote, not just the occurrence of the words entered, use quotation marks around the words, e.g. “greenhouse effect”.
  4. Ranking: Google favours pages with words in phrases, close together and in the order typed. Compare the top ranking results for searches in Google for these sets of keywords: grass snake, snake grass, snake in the grass, snake +in +the grass, “snake in the grass”
  5. Operators: adding a minus sign (-) can narrow the search even further by eliminating words. For example:
    • a search for New York but not City would mean entering: New York –City
    • adding OR will look for one or more terms or strings, e.g. Kent OR Sussex, “global warming” OR “greenhouse effect”.

Creating a search string that uses a combination of specific terms, a phrase string and a negative term can reduce the number of search results from a few million to fewer than one hundred! So, it’s best to build one or two terms at a time, adding terms to a string as needed based on the results.

Further resources

Last updated: August 27, 2022 at 16:15 pm

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