I help library patrons use the internet on a regular basis. Many times, they just don’t know how to turn the printer on, but sometimes, it is more complex. Sometimes, they need help searching for a particular website or idea and it occurred to me that I search differently than a lot of people.
For example, when you want to visit a particular store’s website, how do you go about finding the site if you don’t already know the address? Do you go to Google and type in the name of the store? Of course this will work every time, but it is one extra step that you might not need to take. If you haven’t noticed, most stores use their entire name in their website. If it is an American company, then the site will usually end in .com and if it is Canadian, it will end in .ca more often than not. I’m thinking of things like canadiantire.ca or walmart.com. So the next time you are looking for a site, why not just type in the name of the company and add .com right in your location bar. It will take you right to the site without having to navigate through a search engine. (Where is your location bar? It is the long white bar at the top of your browser that starts with http:// )
Now, if you use Firefox as a browser, did you know that Mozilla incorporated a Google search bar right into your location bar? (Again, the location bar is the spot where everything happens!) So, you can actually just type in a subject or word into that location bar and if it is really specific, Google will take you right to the website, or if it is more general, then it will bring you right to your Google search results.
What if you use Internet Explorer? Well, IE has done something similar with Yahoo and made the location bar a search engine. Again, just type in your word and you’ll have some instant results.
I no longer take the extra steps and travel to Google or some other search engine and I encourage people who are searching online to just try typing in the website or keyword themselves. Try it, you’ll feel really smart!