Curiosity or the need to know? We are living in a world of quick fixes. We live in the world of Googling.
Father said, “Stop eating junk food! Build some immunity.” And son Googled, “best foods for immunity”.
A new CCTV system is installed in the shop and the father says, “Set it up, son!”
Son replies, “I don’t know, dad.”
“You have Google.”
On a family trip – Mom: “Where are we? Disgusting place!”
Daughter on Google, “washrooms near me.”
A little girl asks her father, “What is the diameter of the Sun?” Father Googled and then replied, “1.3927 million km”
Well, well, well, these stories of Googling are endless. We all have our own, and it all starts at the moment you start to apply the learnings in a textbook, or your life nudges you with a question: “Ask Google”. (It’s the first thought in the minds of most people.)
But does everyone get the answers that quench their curiosity or take it to the next question…every time? In fact, do you even know what exactly to type in the Google query box? If yes, is every search result trustworthy? How do you even know you are reading the right answer? Or are you like this confused gentlemen below?
Let’s ponder around. (You can search this phrase too in case …)
Thorough learning is about applying things and applying starts with questions. But you don’t have a scientist around to ask the circumference of the moon or an engineer to explain engine braking. Still, someone uploaded that info on a site for you to find on the internet. That’s the power of the internet. You can share the experience of ‘A Day In The Life Of A Doctor’ through a vlog on your phone.
So, then, it is obvious. Learning the art of Googling starts with knowing what question to ask.
Keywords that can get YOUR results when Googling
As the name suggests, you need to pick the KEY words i.e., important words of your question. The popular styles (even looked after by content creators) of keyword phrases include:
- The topic you wanna know about, or just the word you wanna find the meaning of. For example, ‘NFTs on Instagram’ or ‘demystification’.
- For action queries, “how do I …” or “how to …” such as “how to start online banking” or “how do I hold my breath while swimming”. You know what, there is Wikihow – a dedicated extension of Wikipedia to solve your problems around taking an action. You can even ask “how to think” or “how to love studying“.
- Then comes “WHYs” – the typical question when you start reasoning. “Why do I go to school” or “why doesn’t school come to me”. Or even questions like “why am I so obsessed with Netflix”. Google will get you an answer.
- Other than the Ws, you can ask specific questions like “effects of sleeping with your phone” or “exercises for strained back/neck”.
- In today’s friendly internet world, we have the most auxiliary questions like “can I eat bananas at night?” or “Is Australian education better than Indian?”, etc.
Now, these questions will help in your Googling efforts when you know what you want. But what if you simply don’t know what you’re looking for exactly?
The ‘confused’ question
Let’s get confused for a second.
Imagine: “I feel so weak today. I ate so much but still… I’m growing fat. I couldn’t do exercise today because I didn’t have the energy. I hate myself. No. Let’s do something…”
Now you wanna take the effort to ask questions to get into a better position for yourself. But what do you need right now? “fat reducing tips”, “exercises to stay fit”, “pep talk to feel better”, or “an energy diet”?
Lastly, you’re right. You need to calm down first and let your mind reach the solution. Yes, it’s a list of foods that can help you make slight changes in your diet to maintain energy and not get obese.
As you’ll scroll down different lists of foods, you’ll get an idea to specify your search to “low carb energy foods”. Now don’t expect Google to lead you on to this. You’ll need your own calm attention to catch the directions.
But what if you are simply clueless?
The ‘clueless’ quest of an under-confident Googling
What if you don’t remember the name of the song? You have never watched the video (what movie name and actors), and you don’t know the hook line! But it’s your favourite song from your favourite memory with a friend at school’s annual function. All you have is a sentence, “koi hai koi hai hi nahi“. Just type it on your browser. Google not only has autocorrect and autofill, but related keywords stored for your result also.
If you don’t even have this much, WAIT. Google won’t enter your mind to get a clue.
Other tips include,
- Voice-search or voice-type
- Autocorrect helps with English spellings (you may be better at vernacular searches yourself)
- Look at autofill suggestions
- Use common sense to create keywords
Cool. You’ll hopefully get through!
Yet, What if you were in the same situation a year back and you still don’t remember the name of the song, but you remember to have searched?
The art of BOOKMARKing
Well, you can always check or even search🔎 in your browser history (also on YouTube). But it always pays off to have it bookmarked, keeping the worthy retainable data separated from endless history.
What’s even better is to organize your bookmarks into topic-wise folders. You can directly search in that particular folder then.
But, is everything that matters to you (from the search) worth remembering, or even considering?
Authentic or Opinionated?
Google is by the people and for the people. As such, whatever the results may be of your Googling, it is from a human being. So, if in every case the information you get is from a human (published there on a site or site cum app), how do you differentiate between mere opinions and authorized knowledge on a subject matter?
You will have to analyze the profiles of people and websites—the speakers of the content.
- Is the website’s domain name on this dedicated topic?
- Is the website’s content specialized in this line of knowledge?
- Did a professional in the same field as the content writr the content?
- Is the writer experienced in the field?
- Is the content coming from the writer’s personal experience or professional practice?
These are just basic parameters that need or need not be fulfilled to deem authenticity. If you go about rankings on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), then please know that Google ranks the search results based on user behaviour around individual content and its SOP—No fact-checking.
Pro tip: Cross-check the content on various sites; have as many opinions to widen your lens and then see for yourself!
At the end of the day, it’s your instinct to call a source trustworthy or not. But know that there can always be loopholes or unpublicized findings that may greet you later. So, stay ready and be polite in any discussion. Whether you have something new to learn or you are actually right, you may need to go according to your human guides or have a hard time convincing them.
(But don’t worry, if you’ll stay polite, they may soon realize the other way too.)
When Googling doesn’t work
What if Googling doesn’t work and you really don’t get your answer? Or maybe you don’t get the exact answer to your detailed question. Perhaps you want an answer from a particular category of people or you don’t trust Google and want an answer from specified sources only. Or you just wanna save the hassle of analyzing profiles for every search result.
Well, there are other ways…
The disguised Search Engines
Yes. You read that right. A search engine is basically a system that can give you organized answers to your keywords typed onto the platform. If an app can do the same in its niched capacities, isn’t it a disguised Search Engine?
We think yes. The biggest one to do that is YouTube—a video search engine. Now that we all want to vlog our own experiences and little wisdom here and there, we have together created a YouTube video for almost every little confusion we have. Overtly, it’s the demo videos from How-Tos and Whys, academic and vocational education on simply everything, learning life skills, and news amidst the vast array of entertainment.
In fact, if you are a news person and wanna know what people are talking about, Twitter is seemingly the best place to be at.
And like Google Maps, Facebook (Meta) helps you locate friends and local places to go about along with a nice float into different cultures. Then there’s LinkedIn to locate professionals and companies.
But Instagram is for entertainment, right? Nope. Just type a hashtag on any subject or activity and you are onto a very creative page full of different ideas. From industrial reels to flowers and photography, it has everything.
Shall we say, creativity is synonymous with Pinterest— with a smart touch? Interior Design, Parenting, Vocabulary to Marketing and Entrepreneurship—Pins are as different as people.
Okay. Let’s come to real learning. For K-12 solutions and a discussion forum with teachers and peer students, you have Meritnation and Brainly. When it comes to case studies and research, you have SlideShare and Scribd. For books, audiobooks, and podcasts we all know Kindle, Google Play Books, Audible, etc. And then there are endless Edtech platforms like Skillshare that provide courses on almost everything.
Uncommonly, you can even search your feelings and thoughts on Quora. From healthy bytes, poetry, and nuanced stories of everyday life to extreme experiences of work, emotions and life—it is a place of the people. There are hundreds of categories and millions of topics discussed with genuine interest. But take note, personal experiences come from unique individual situations. So they may not be as relevant in your own situation.
We’d like you, the reader, to continue this disguised list in the comments.
Because these are just a sample of sources you can use as search engines. So don’t stop digging as per your individual interests. But know one thing: asking friends, family, teachers, relatives and strangers is more adventurous than the internet. Because you can expect the unexpected. As they are closer to you, they may be coming from a similar set of conditions to give you YOUR answer.
Now, you may realize that Google too uses similar sources to find a match for your keywords when similar demands are made. So why not save your time by having a unique source to go at for a unique set of queries?
The art is as distinct as the artist. Your Googling may be different than ours. But we hope you found something to go along your way and better your surfing experience. Our last piece of advice:
To be better at Googling, Google more; try to come up with more elaborate questions.
To be wiser, think more by yourself.