Saturday, December 14, 2013

Productivity Tips: Winning at Searching

Possibly one of the most important skills in the web 2.0 era: searching. As a student, a researcher, even a programmer, searching is as critical as reading and writing. Did you know that programmers use Google to debug codes a lot? They search the error messages constantly. It's actually considered a part of the process! So, searching on Google isn't unprofessional or illegitimate.

Here are some tips to be more productive at searching.

Search Operators
Use search operators. Almost all search engines support search operators like AND OR + -
Here's a list of Google search operators

Say you are searching for celebrity: Amazing Joe (made up name), but Amazing just had an accident, or a tabloid feature, you can't find any valuable material to write a legit essay. You can search "amazing joe" -accident 

It will take out some of the unnecessary search results.

Check out this example of excluding movie from the search results will show mostly Ender's Game book and literature results rather than the most recent box office results.

Gmail Search
Have inbox-to-zero problems? When you go to your Gmail you can see a search bar. Gmail really wants you to use it. Go ahead, use some advanced search (the down arrow) and notice how the search box changed? Yes, no more clicking everywhere. You can search your inbox without clicking

Search a particular sender?

Search a particular subject with attachments?
subject:test has:attachment

Using labels that are too hard to use (collapsed on the left nav)?
label:yourLabelName yourKeyword

See the full list of Gmail search operators here

Use ... rewards!
Okay, let's use Bing! Why? It isn't the most amazing experience, but it gets simple tasks done: basic search, trip search, obvious sites like Yelp ... You can try it out on Bing It On testing.  I think the whole marketing value is that: Bing doesn't suck like you expect it would.

I really use Bing for the rewards: a month's search can turn into Amazon $5 gift cards. Here's a list of the rewards Set any gold you want, earn bonus points, and make progress towards your goal (me love gamified everything). You can join the program on your own, if you feel kind, you can use my referral code . I get some bonus points, and you should do the same to spread the love.

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