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Google’s top 10 hidden features - with Google Chrome

10. April 2017 13:06 by sirclesadmin in Internet, Popular Sites, Online Multimedia
Google’s top 10 hidden tricks If you’re only using Google to search the web, you’r

Google’s top 10 hidden features

If you’re only using Google to search the web then you are missing out on quite a bit. Have a look at these tips to get the most from the world’s most popular search engine.

We all know that Google is the world’s most advanced search engine, but did you know there are a host of hidden features that make it even more effective to use?

 

1: The easy way to convert currency

Do you want to find out how much money is in a different currency? Don’t go searching for a dedicated currency converter; you can do it through the Google search box. Just type out your amount – 100 euros, say – followed by ‘in’ and the currency you’d like to change it to, and hey presto, it’ll convert it for you. You can also do the same with number conversions like miles to kilometres and ounces to litres etc., and even translate short phrases from one language into another.

 

2: Make calculations

Pretty much every computer and mobile device has a calculator built in, but thanks to Google you don’t need to go searching for it. Just type the sum into the Google search bar, and it will perform the calculation for you.

 

3: See news results

If you are researching something, and want the most up-to-date info available, click the News tab at the top of the results page. This will show recent news articles featuring your search term.

 

4: Find out what an image is of...

You may know you can search for images online, so if you always wanted to see what someone looks like, now’s your chance. But did you know you can find out what an image is of as well?

Stumble across an interesting picture online, and you can find out more about it by going to images.google.com and clicking the camera icon in the search bar. This brings up two options: either paste the url of the image you’ve found (i.e. what’s in the address bar when the image is the only thing on the screen), or upload an image from your computer to find out what it is.

 

5: Search a site from Google

Some websites’ own search functions are terrible, but don’t worry, you can also search them direct from the Google home page. Type your search term followed by “site:” and then the address of the website you want to search, so ‘flood warning site:bbc.co.uk’ for example. Then only results from the website you include will show up.

 

6: Search by file type

Similarly, you can search by the type of file you’re looking for, which is perfect if you’re searching for a specific PowerPoint presentation or PDF. Just type the name of the file, followed by ‘filetype:’ and then the document’s extension, so ‘pptx’ for PowerPoint, ‘docx’ for Word document or xlsx for Excel.

 

7: Google Doodles

Google regularly changes its logo on its home page to tie in with an occasion. Often to commemerate a famous person, a notable anniversary or a national holiday. Whatever it is, Google always manages to work its logo into the image.

This one pictured celebrates the birth of French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, but they’re always varied, sometimes taking the form of animated films or even playable games. You can find a full archive here and even buy merchandise featuring your favourite doodle.

 

8: Get results in your locality...

If you choose to let Google know your whereabouts, you can find results in your area without having to specify where you are. Click Search Tools under the search bar and your location is listed on the right, if you are going somewhere new and need to find something, simply enter it on the right.

Search for ‘pizza restaurant’, for example, and it’ll show a list of nearby pizzerias, without you having to enter your postcode. Which is handy if you’re hungry.

 

9: Search using your voice

What if you don't fancy typing out a search query? No problem – you can just say it. You’ll need to launch Google’s Chrome browser on your computer, then go to google.co.uk and click the microphone icon in the search bar. Say what you want to find, and it’ll speak back to you with the results.

 

10:  Check flight times

If you’re planning a trip, just go to Google, type ‘flights to’ or ‘flights from’ and the name of your city or airport or three letter airport code. You will see a list of flights complete with flight times, prices, and everything else you could need to know. It’s the only way to fly.

 

travelinformation.co.uk - a suggestive case study...

We are currently looking at some of our domain catalogue as a resource to be invested in rather than

We are currently looking at some of our domain catalogue as a resource to be invested in rather than hyped up and sold on, and this is where an internet domain name is not so akin to real estate, but more like owning a port, or an exclusive trading agreement. A domain does not suffer from a limited number of rooms or a limited amount of land, and it is always a unique resource, no matter how many other domains are similar (and there are more and more obviously) but in this case we are going to examine a fairly sought after domain in the UK market, and although it is not a single word domain, it is a single phrase which is essentially a single keyword in its own right. 

Travel Information (a co.uk domain in this case) is something that everyone requires whether they are trying to go on holiday, return safely from a business trip, or just point their car in the right direction to get home. In all of these cases there is one phrase that is being seacrehd for on every device in every airport or jam or port- 'travel information.'

Now with all websites there is, of course, the question of content. This is a very important question as content is what your site has to offer and without it no one is going to hang around and so the search engines will quickly evaluate you as pointless. This means that we will have to invest heavily in a great site UI and fill it with huge amounts of information doesn't it? Well possibly that is a good solution but perhaps there is another way to look at this problem before we call the bank manager.

The thing about travel and travel information is that people are always looking for a single source where they can be reading about all sorts of different options rather than swimming around the internet in search of the best options and generally doing all of the work. Perhaps then we can find a way to offer sources of information a chance to publish their material on the site and when there are a reasonable number of guide books and maps etc. included it can be unleashed on the web users. Hopefully they will begin to find it useful.

So what would this site actually take to put up - emails sent out to councils and the national trust, region by region, until you have a number of attractions to visit in Britain and then you can begin assembling information from your readers rather than having to go out and find it. an important part of the site will be to continue to ask readers to point out any errors or overlooked places to visit.

Now what is going to actually persuade the National Trust and friends that the site is worth corresponding with? Well the domain name travelinformation.co.uk itself is a real seller here. The correspondence will have to have a very nicely assembled email and/or written letter with great presentation all-round, as well as a really good 'under-construction' page that may need to heralded as more of a re-design. Either way the prowess of the site is far from proveable at first and so these first impressions are important. Most of the councils/attractions etc. will happily give permission for their leaflets to be reproduced as advertising is what the leaflets were for in the first place. Some sort of OCR software will be needed to give the website search engine readability rather than images being postered all over the pages but this is a tiny detail.

So once we have a small audience then we can encourage by making high-quality, relevant offers to who are hitting certain pages then we can start to build an audience. There is no room for capitlisation at the start - the deals must remain as good as we can make them otherwise we will never begin to have any buying power with our suppliers, and so never build our site. Once we can get 3% where other buyers cannot then we can make a percent on give a percent to the buyer and start to recover our losses so far with that last percent. The most important thing is that our site remains a good place for our small client base to exchange information and look through deals to purchase travel deals.

Do web users know the difference between PPC and Organic results? Are there any search results anymore anyway?

As Google continues to avoid being 'evil' there is nontheless a trend to move away from the original

As Google continues to avoid being 'evil' there is nonetheless a trend to move away from the original organic results we remember fondly, to the multi-page, PPC dominated Google shopping offer we face now. And there is good cause for this - Google has shareholders and as soon as you sell your company to the public then the accountants make sure that their interests come first. This does, however, impact on the ethos of a company whose original mantra was entirely based on sorting the internet information in a manner that is best for the use. Those days are long gone no matter what the Google bumph blurbs out. Nowadays the organic results for a product that has nothing directly to do with Google are not just down the list, but almost undetectable from paid and partnered results that are clearly an advert rather than a result:

Googe SERP for Sony Playstation

As you can see from this example the results come in waves - there are no organic results at the top, only Google shopping which is another form of AdWords these days (just like the map has become.)

The organic results come below so presumably the Google shopping ads are a much better earner for a product as popular as this and so normal AdWords ads are not even shown. The playstation.com website is obviously one of the most popular in the world and I haven't actually mentioned I wanted to buy one anyway. Not so surfer friendly anymore is it?

Finally we have 'in the news' section which is again a way of adding value to a select partner group of websites. Now this is good for the web user in some ways as the Google partners shown here are going to be heavily monitored to ensure that the content is first-class but it still has nothing to do with popularity or organic search results - it is in fact internet search result hogging to keep a certain network of California media tyrants in everyone's face. I never even mentioned that I have an iPad and I'm not using one to search in this case.

Let us try another example to see what sort of results we get when searching for a keyword we might have a chance to compete on organically...



Googe SERP for Solicitors near me
Here we are looking at a search that will be hotly contested in many towns in many countries all over the world. I have tried to include as much of the page as possible - certainly as much as your average reader is going to scroll through before deciding to click. In other words, definitely as far as most of us SEO companies are claiming we can place you within. And herein lies the problem. At the top of this page there are so many companies contesting over the keyword that there are only adverts available as an option, there is quite literally no alternative. Below that we see the Google maps offering - what has become known as 'AdWords Express' which is just another set of adverts which is not even labelled as such.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now if I had typed in 'local SEO companies,' how many adverts would have been promising to get me 'on the front page of Google' without using pay-per-click PPC? In this case that is obviously not possible.

So is there a future in organic search? It may be time for us SEO people to rethink the value of organic search vs PPC. If every result has a small green 'Ad' square next to it then does the average user even notice it exists anymore?

OK these are hotly contested examples, I understand that of course, but as populations rise, competitions rises, and ever search term will arrive at this point.

Is PPC the only way or is it time it find a new search engine? And will this article be relegated to the pit of internet ignorance because I am posing this question? Well Google is a first-class company full of the best people in the business and there is no chance of that changing anytime soon. This is evidence, however, of a need for them to rethink their current strategy as when I search for something, I do expect some search results!

The results we have been examining remind me of those free papers that come through the post where everything is just an ad and it holds no value for anyone except the publisher and their friends.

Are you a giver or a taker?

14. January 2016 12:56 by sirclesadmin in Online Multimedia, SEO, Copy Writing
When it comes to t web, the simple truth is that we are all both at some time or another. Whether yo

When it comes to the web, the simple truth is that we are all both at some time or another. Whether you are posting updates on Facebook or photos to Instagram you are adding to the information stored online. And when you are checking your LinkedIn updates on your iPad after work you are taking in information from the Web. And here is a simple truth, the number of people adding meaningful to the web in text form tend to still be doing so using a keyboard and mouse. I am, for instance, at a desk typing this article rather than using an iPad without a keyboard. Apple are, of course, addressing this issue as are many other wireless keyboard manufacturers, but the Lion's share of text is still composed sitting at a traditional keyboard.

The other side of this point is that the majority of receiving information is through tablets, phones and TVs and that the concept of a website itself is becoming outdated. Now media has to move and come with audio because reading is simply more work than watching a video. So where does all of this leave the copywriter in 2016?

The obvious answer is that the copywriter has to write copy for all mediums, they are fast becoming scriptwriters rather than just specialists that can make text live and breathe. Our very identity as website makers and copywriters is under glass and this comes as no surprise. Google has had a growing number of categories at the top of the SERP for many years now and although web text (all although the presence of other categories suggests this may be a misnomer) is still the first in line, many people are clicking onto images or video immediately as their chosen preference. Most web users these days often prefer to watch a documentary on something rather than to read about it. This point should not go unnoticed because it means that all new ideas have a knock-on type effect as a good idea will invariably appear in text first simply because this is the quickest medium to post. Video will come later because it takes more time to produce and a video requires experience and knowledge that many people researching ground-breaking subjects often do not have - a bad video is quite simply the worst kind of PR. So if you are a good video producer you can keep scouring Flipboard in order to make the first decent video of up and coming technologies or news. If you are a copywriter then on Flipboard you are simply reading what another copywriter has already published.

So is there a simple way of writing good copy from your tablet or phone whilst waiting for the bus? Well if it is not too noisy and no one is listening in, does voice recognition offer a reasonable alternative yet? Well if you haven't tried it I would advise that you do. The fact that I am dictating this text now does prove that voice recognition is a viable alternative. The noise surrounding you is obviously going to be a factor with any voice recognition software but if you do have a quiet moment then it is definitely worth giving it a try. The built-in iPad voice recognition feature definitely struggles with some words and requires you to be close to the tablet, but on the whole it's surprisingly effective straight out of the box. The biggest difficulty I have found is that you simply speak different words to those that you would write. If you are to keep writing the ideas that come to mind and only have a phone with you then this could be the solution.

But what about generating the other media that Google and the contemporary web users are interested in, images, music and video? Well of course generating video from a smartphone is not a very difficult task. You can record HD video on pretty much all new phones - you just have to be somewhere worth filming when it is worth filming. And herein perhaps lies a lesson on the creation of successful websites in the modern day. If you can be somewhere interesting then you can get followers on Twitter and Facebook and therefore have a popular website. If I have footage of Daisy Ridley walking down the street then people will link to it because she is a new star that everyone wants to see in normal everyday life. This will mean that Google comes and has a look and finds that people are staying with the site long enough to watch the video and that people are sharing the video on social media and so I will climb up rankings and also people will advertise my site for me for free.  So the modern day paparazzi are even more annoying than ever as they can publish what they film on any website and they will get traffic until someone copies it onto YouTube or they publish it on YouTube themselves. Of course Google video does point to other pages apart from YouTube seamlessly so there are still good opportunities for traffic. Google images follows broadly the same rules as the video - if you can get interesting images with relevant titles you will find people accessing those images through Google but not necessarily seeing the rest of your site as Google will often proxy the image onto their database and simply link to the file itself. Music is not a category on the Google search engine as Google did not manage to usurp the copyright of that industry by buying a website early enough and so having the momentum to become effectively unstoppable by the copyright sensors. A rare of case when the copyrights people had to ask for a share of Google profits rather than managing to rip down the whole site. The simple truth is that any website on which you allow individuals to self-publish on that scale is impossible to police and so is a law unto its own. As we all know pretty much any professional video is discoverable there somewhere at least in part(s).

So the givers are often on professional workstations and the takers on smartphones and we all swap around all of the time in order to share the world with each other?  It would seem, then, that the internet (or whatever it has become) is encouraging us all to live more interesting lives. If I decide to buy an olive farm in Italy and write a blog with pictures as I try to reclaim it from bankruptcy I will get a stream of visitors. If I try and row around the world in a rubber dinghy with a satellite phone and a box of sandwiches I will most likely get a lot as everyone will be waiting to see if I drown. And the latter is definitely a more interesting life, even if it is a shorter one. People enjoy endeavour and I was recommending to an insolvency practitioner today that she write a blog of the obstacles she meets as she starts up her new business. At the very least other IPs will read to see if they think their own start-up is a good idea. A good blog on any matter is a great learning tool for others as the mistakes that are made can be learned from without the hassle of making them for yourself. People are still suckers for the truth and a good blog is one-hundred percent truth. Video blogs are of course even better but they need to be planned and take practice to present well. I always recommend running a video blog of your day for a fortnight in advance of any challenge or project you plan to video blog if you have not done so before. This helps you forget about how you look and whether the light is correct etc. when you are making the video blog for real which can often make people appear less professional or accomplished. In general a good video blog is one where the film maker has a lot more to worry about than making the blog. Pick a good challenge that you are excited about and making the blog will come naturally. Just make sure you make the video when you are feeling the emotion of what has happened that day whether it be depression or joy, either way it is great media.