I don't know how many of you are at your computer 328 hours a day like I am. But being at the computer for that long can really make power go to your head.
I'm not saying I've actually tried to plug my iPod into my ear, hoping to recharge it. The power that comes with a computer is the fact that you have a gargantuan amount of information at your fingertips. It's just a matter of pressing the right buttons to access it.
Usually when I'm on a power trip, I'll visit Google. To me, it's still the best search engine. I've been using it since about 1973, when I wanted to find out what really happened in that basketball game at the Olympics. OK, maybe it just seems Google has been around that long. There are a handful of niceties about that search engine, most of which are listed on the Advanced Search. Here are my favorites:
- To search a specific site, start your search with "site: " then the domain name.
- To find the meaning of a word in (oftentimes numerous) reference places, type "define: " and then the word to look up.
- To spell a word correctly, just do a search on it, and if it's wrong, most of the time it will appear, just under the search field. I've had to spell "Iroquois" at least 10 times, but finally, I've got it figured out.
There are other search engines besides Google. Yahoo's and MSN's search sites look frighteningly similar to Google's, essentially with the same layout and features. They can contain paid search result spots at the top, to the right and in some cases, with Garth Brooks' friends, in low places, at the bottom.
Having trouble distinguishing between real search results and paid ones? You're not the only one. The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a survey that stated only 30 percent of search engine users are aware of the difference between the types of search results. That's good news for advertisers, but not necessarily good news for the public, who might be taken to an online store for a Garth Brooks CD, when all the person wanted was to find out what Garth changed his name to a few years ago (Chris Gaines, if you are curious).
There are plenty more search engines, but apparently, too many to count. The Wikipedia offers additional info about a few of the bigger ones, and SearchTools.com provides a list of searching products you can tie directly into your web browser and even your site.
What's scarier is that advances are continuing to be made in searching. The bigger sites also have cataloged news, newsgroups, shopping, images and even video. To this point, Yahoo is leading the charge to indexing video, as evidenced by its new search capabilities. While Yahoo appears to find different video formats on the Web, Google's video search deals mainly with TV news broadcasts. Many search sites are attempting to separate themselves from the pack (Yahoo's Y!Q, for instance) and take over Google's current Net presence.
But this is still text-based, dependent on adding keywords and phrases with the actual file to determine the categorization. What if there was a way to find an image, based on the colors of its pixels, and the total shape of the photo? Or what if you could submit a photo of a place, submit it and instantly find out anything you wanted to know about that particular place? Programmers and engineers are currently working on both of these things, but it appears there will be a little time involved before the public gets to utilize them.
That's OK, because there are plenty of search engine tools to try out in the meantime. Personally, I'm still looking for a way to generate more battery life on my machine by computing endless searches.