Power Searching with Google
I recently enrolled in a course called “Power Searching with Google that was provided by Google to help Google users become stronger in using search. The course was hosted by Daniel Russell Senior Research Scientist, Google, Inc.
I think I was among the initial enrollment class for this course, and overall I’d say if Google does roll this course out again it is well worth your time to enroll and to see it through to the end.
If there is one metric by which to measure the success or failure of this course, it would have to be that after taking the course I am more rather than less excited about using Google search to help me in my own business and life journey.
About the Course
The entire course is broken out into six classes, each of which have a number of modules (usually 5 or 6).
Further, within each module there is:
- A video hosted by Dan, outlining a specific item
- An activity that allows students to re-enforce the subject of that particular module by doing
- A link pointing to additional materials/discussion on a dedicated classroom forum
In addition there was a mid-class assessment test and a final class assessment test, both of which were scored. Provided students reached a specific cumulative score, they were then awarded certificates of completion.
The course also required that students complete both the mid-class assessment and the final by specific dates in order to officially “pass.”
This entire course is very focused on learning by doing. This process was outlined in detail in one of the introductory modules. Going beyond straight learning, what was interesting about the process was that Google made a direct effort to communicate with users – something that is typically a bit more mysterious.
Going further, the class also hosted a few “hangouts” where students were allowed to ask direct questions and also where we, the users were provided with a few insights into how Google “thinks.”
The videos are very straight forward and well told, but the real activity happens inside of the activity sections where students are actively implementing the learning.
A Better Searching Framework
The course is really focused on trying to provide Google search users with a framework for how to better search.
Going further than simply showing users how to more effectively search, the Google team also encourages users to not simply trust a result only on the basis of showing up at the top. In fact there is an entire class dedicated to “checking your facts.”
In addition there is a nice emphasis placed on utilizing multiple search methodologies in order to fully realize the search answer you are looking for.
The course does a nice job of introducing a number of interesting search concepts. In particular the course does a great job of exposing students to the power of using image results in search.
Students are also introduced to a number of search operators that can further assist in search. Perhaps subsequent versions of the course will delve a bit further into this area as they really only scrape the tip of the iceberg here in terms of showing how powerful many of these operators can be.
The course also does a great job of outlining a wide array of other features within Google search including date searches, searching within specific categories (Books, Patents, Blogs and News for example), localized search, translated search and going further to search by country results but only offering translated results, and of course utilizing Google to access information quickly – things like the weather, movie screenings, currency as well as some really nice uses for Google Maps and how to ground these nice uses into everyday living.
Should You Take This Course?
Short answer is yes. Even if you consider yourself to be pretty strong in Google Search you will learn plenty.
Of course, if as you were reading the “Course Details” and you found yourself saying I had no idea Google Search did those things, then I’d say run rather than walk.
If you consider how many times we all head over to Google.com to search for things, and how much more often we will continue to search for things as Google, and other search engines get even “smarter” the lifetime value for this course is hard to qualify. But let’s safely say that if you can more efficiently search, and over your lifetime you are going to continue to use a search engine to help find information, and you conduct on average 1 search every day… The lifetime return is huge!
How Much Does this Cost?
Free. Thanks Google!
When can I sign up for this course?
I’m not sure when/if Google will run this course again, but hopefully even if they elect to not run it again, they will continue to allow the link to the classroom to stay live so that new students can learn at their own pace.
In addition to being very informative, another aspect that I really appreciated was the course did a great job of putting a human face to search. Dan Taylor did a very nice job of showcasing how committed Google is to really finding results that people really providing users with results that they want.
The humanizing experience was also further expanded on by the forums, which were heavily monitored by many Google Search moderators as well as the hangouts.
Yep. I took the course all the way through, and I’m happy to say I passed. Here is my certificate. : )
Thanks again Google – job well done!