Google is the premiere search engine on the Internet for finding information. Go online and type “www.google.com”
(no quotes) in your Web browser then press the Enter key and you will see a rather austere Web page appear for
Google. The box with the blinking cursor is where you type your search information. After you type in your
information click the Google Search button. The search page will quickly appear with the results. Notice that
Google also has ads (sponsored links) that appear at the top and right side of the page so don’t confuse those
with the results of your search which are on the left side of the page. The page will list 10 “hits” and if your
search information was accurate your results will be on the first page. If not, scroll down to the bottom of the
page and click on “Next”. This leads you to the next 10 hits and so on. Good results come from a combination of
using the right amount and selection of words. Typically 3 – 6 words work well. Don’t over describe what you are
searching for. Are you looking for a winter vacation spot in Naples Florida? Type in rental naples fl. Once you
get results that are on track you may further refine your search. For example you may want a 4 bedroom rental. A
refined search would read 4 bedroom rental naples fl. Each “hit” gives you about 2 lines of basic information. If
the information you are looking for is in the 2 lines, click the line above the information. This will redirect
you to that particular Web site for more details. Next to the Google Search button is the “I’m Feeling Lucky”
button. This simply takes you to the first Web page that Google finds using your search terms.
What I have described so far is Google’s main feature – finding information for the user. However, Google has
much more to offer. Click the “More” link at the top of the page and in the drop down menu find additional
features of Google. One of my favorites is “Products”. Clicking that brings up a Google page that is similar
to the main Google page. Type in what product you are looking for and click “Search Products”. Your results
will be displayed and you can further refine the results by clicking the down arrow in the “Sort by relevance”
field and list the results by price. Also in the drop down menu check the “Labs”. There are some interesting
items in this category. Other items, such as the “Calendar” and “Photos” may require you to create a Google
account for access.
Also at the top of the main page are additional links. “Images” is where you can search for specific pictures,
“Video” for video clips similar to YouTube, “News” shows a very good news headline page for different categories,
“Maps” is a good page for charting your travel destination similar to MapQuest, and Gmail is an e-mail program
using the Web.
Another Google program called Google Earth is separate from the Google search page. This fun program can be
downloaded at “http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html” (no quotes). Google Earth combines the power of
Google Search with astronomy, satellite imagery, maps, terrain, and 3D buildings to put the world’s
astro/geographic information at your fingertips. You should have a Broadband Internet connection to download
and use this program. It works with Windows XP, Vista, and MAC computers. Double click the download file to
install Google Earth. After installation and while on-line, click the Google Earth Desktop icon and after it
initializes use the positioning compass control in the upper right corner of the screen to position the display
over the area you want to see. Then use the vertical slider bar next to the control to zoom in or out. The
horizontal slider above the compass control changes the view between vertical and horizontal. To use the slider
move the mouse arrow over the center of the slider and hold down the left mouse key and drag it. It will take
some practice to get the feel of using these tools. I did notice when zooming in on Hershey’s Mill the image
started getting blurry below 2000 feet. You may not see your individual home but you can see your cluster. Newly
added is the astronomy feature. Click the “Switch between Sky and Earth” icon at the top of the page to switch.
There are some fascinating detailed pictures of the constellations.
To get answers to your questions about overall computer use and other information, please come to the PC Club
meeting. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Community Center.