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Conducting basic searches

From: Computer Literacy for Windows

Video: Conducting basic searches

To perform a basic web search, you first have to visit a search engine through your web browser. As I previously mentioned, most web browsers these days have access to the most popular search engines like Google and Bing built directly in. For example, here in Safari I could just type my search terms into the search field to perform a Google search, but for this example, I'm actually going to go to google.com. The technical term for performing a search is a query. Basically, when you perform a query, you're asking the search engine to provide information relevant to the word or phrases you searched for.

Conducting basic searches

To perform a basic web search, you first have to visit a search engine through your web browser. As I previously mentioned, most web browsers these days have access to the most popular search engines like Google and Bing built directly in. For example, here in Safari I could just type my search terms into the search field to perform a Google search, but for this example, I'm actually going to go to google.com. The technical term for performing a search is a query. Basically, when you perform a query, you're asking the search engine to provide information relevant to the word or phrases you searched for.

Most people just call it Googling these days though, which shows you how popular Google is as a search engine. To perform your search, just type a word or a phrase. Let's say I'm looking for information on repairing a hard drive. Start by clicking in the Search field and typing the word repairing, and you can see that even before I finish typing, Google is constantly offering some suggestions of what it thinks I might be looking for. These are based on the popularity of what other people have searched for. Nothing here really matches what I need so I'll continue typing, and right there is repairing hard drive.

So without having to type out the rest, I can either click it or use the arrow keys on my keyboard to select it and I can press Return or Enter on my keyboard to do my search. And in less than a second, I see what Google considers the top results for that search term. You can see that it's actually found 864,000 results, but Google and all search engines try to give you the most relevant results first. And as you can see, Google not only found web pages, but it also found a couple of videos on repairing hard drives. In fact, in Google you can click more in the left-hand column and sort the results from Videos, Images, Blogs and so on.

I'll go back and click Everything again. Now one of the keys to a successful search is to try and think of what words might appear on the kind of page you're looking for. For example, if I'm trying to find a fix or explanation for a specific problem I'm having with a hard drive, I'll imagine how I would describe it to a live person and try to distill it down to a short phrase that includes the important and relevant words. So if my hard drive is making clicking noises, I might type hard drive clicking. And search for that. Or I might type hard drive won't mount.

What you want to avoid is using words that might make your search either too broad or too narrow. For example, don't type something like 'documentation of hard drive repair techniques.' Instead boil it down to the words that will most likely appear on the page you are looking for, like hard drive repair tips. In most cases brevity is going to be the key to finding a good range of search results. Now some people will use quotes around their words when searching for phrases, but you should only use quotes if you want the results for the words within those quotes appearing in that specific order. For example, I'll type repairing hard drive without quotes around the words, and notice that in many of the results, the words hard drive and repairing are not all together as a single contiguous phrase.

Now if I only want search results for web pages in which repairing hard drives are all together in a row, I put quotes around it. And you can see that in all the results repairing hard drives appears as a phrase. Notice that also reduces the number of results to 345,000. Previously for just repairing hard drive had 864,000 results. Using quotes is also a great computer troubleshooting technique. If you ever have a dialog box show up and you're not quite sure what it means, try typing the words from the dialog box in quotes into Google.

More often than not, you're sure to find pages in which others have come across that same message and you will probably find an explanation. So those are some tips to performing basic searches, and of course once your search results appear, just click on any of the results to be taken to that particular web page.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Computer Literacy for Windows
Computer Literacy for Windows

55 video lessons · 19676 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 2s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 53s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 48s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 52s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 27s
  3. 17m 29s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding your Home (User) folder
      3m 9s
    4. Using your desktop
      2m 46s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      1m 45s
    6. The right click
      2m 8s
  4. 25m 38s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 36s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 3s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 37s
    4. How to learn any application
      4m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      7m 29s
  5. 35m 26s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 33s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 36s
    3. Printing your documents
      3m 52s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 8s
    5. Scanning a document
      5m 59s
    6. Setting up a projector or a second monitor
      6m 17s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 55s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 23s
  6. 20m 46s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired networks
      2m 47s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      5m 0s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      5m 49s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      4m 12s
  7. 23m 24s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      3m 50s
    4. Composing new email messages
      7m 4s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 12s
    6. Dealing with spam
      3m 52s
  8. 8m 22s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 44s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 14s
  9. 27m 15s
    1. Introduction to word processors
      4m 46s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 57s
    3. Introduction to spreadsheets
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      8m 13s
    5. Formatting a data table
      2m 19s
  10. 28m 52s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      7m 57s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      4m 28s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      9m 17s
    4. Tagging images
      4m 56s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 12m 46s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      6m 4s
    3. Compressing files
      5m 5s
  12. 1m 4s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 4s

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