Aug. 3, 2011 – We have all heard that the only thing constant is change. Technology and website functionality, prime examples of this point, continue to evolve – particularly with Google. Many Google changes are so seamless that the researcher may not even notice new or different features when they happen. For example, many people cannot remember when Google Instant launched. However, it’s second nature now, and people now expect the answer they seek before they finish typing the question.
Google continues to revolutionize the web search process by developing new tools and enhancing its current products. Google is the most-used search engine and, as a librarian, I encourage users to take advantage of its special search features. Likely, there are features available that you are not aware of, so click on the link and explore.
Recently, it seems that Google is modifying or eliminating features at a faster pace than in the past.
Find your missing features
“Advanced search” and “define” are two features that recently relocated.
Google’s advanced search option is an excellent tool to help refine and control your search results. Advanced search still exists, but now it is a bit more difficult to find. Until recently, accessing the advanced search option was a simple click of the “advanced search” button next to the main search box. Read a post by Mark Rosch of Internet for Lawyers about the disappearance of the “advanced search” option from the main search page and find out where it is.
Another recent search modification involves the Google “define” syntax. Researchers used to be able to type “define:” followed by a concept or word, into the main Google search box and instantly retrieve online definitions. Users can now access a sidebar search option entitled “dictionary.” Gary Price at INFOdocket summarizes the changes in a May post.
Some features simply go away
If you are looking for “wonder wheel,” Uncle Sam, and GOOG-411, look no more. They are gone and soon to follow are Google Health and Google Labs.
It is not a new phenomenon for Google to shut down products or incorporate them into new technologies. Larry Page once said, Google’s mantra is “…to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone.” While we do not know what new features Google has in development right now, we can safely assume they will make make a difference in how we do our work.
About the author
Bev Butula is the manager of library of services at Davis & Kuelthau, Milwaukee. She is a past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin. Butula has written articles and spoken to numerous groups on issues such as effective Internet research, evaluation of Web sites and legal research. Prior to obtaining her Master’s Degree in Library Science from UWM, Betula was a litigation paralegal.