Internet Basics Lesson 4: How to Use a Search Engine to Search the Internet

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Introduction

You do not always have to know a website’s address in order to use the Internet. It is important to know how to search for information. One of the best methods to search is to use a search engine. A search engine is a software system on the Internet that will conduct a search of its own database of websites based on terms you have entered. As a result, you will be shown a list of web addresses that contain the term you were looking to find. An example of a popular search engine is www.google.com.

How to Use Google

First you will need to open Internet Explorer then enter www.google.com in the address bar. Here is what www.google.com looks like:

Google 

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To conduct the search, point and click your mouse in the search textbox. Type in the textbox the words or words you would like to search. Then point and click your mouse on the Google Search button below the search textbox.

Google Search Box

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As an example, the word ‘flowers’ was entered into the Google textbox and after clicking on the Google Search button these are the results:

Google Search Results

Every phrase in either blue with an underline may be clicked on to visit that particular site. These are hyperlinks to websites. The websites deemed most fitting for the search are found at the near the top of the list. There are also paid sponsors found at the top (shaded) and to the right of the screen that you may visit if you wish. You can see actual web addresses in green text.

In addition, notice the results area:

number of search results

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These results are found on the top right of the page. 233,000,000 would be impossible to go through therefore you will need to learn ways to reduce the amount of results. To continue reviewing the search results pages, scroll to the bottom of the Google webpage until you see:

 Paging system in Google 

Click on the number 2 or on the blue arrow to the right to continue through the search results.

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Important!

You may not always get the results you are looking for so you will need to play with searchable terms. Using more words in combination, and especially more specific words will help.  Be aware that not all websites that are found in the results are appropriate to your search. Read the blurb under the result name on the list before you click. In addition, do not click on anything that seems inappropriate, too good to be true, or dangerous. Use your gut instinct before you click. There are many websites out there on the Internet that will mislead and try to take advantage of beginners. Use caution.

Interesting Tidbit

  1. The more specific your query is, the more success you're likely to have.
  2. Use more than one search engine.
  3. The longer you spend time searching for something, the more frustrated you can get!
  4. Use quotation marks around the terms when searching for a specific phrase.

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Vocabulary and Glossary

Address Bar
A horizontal area at the top of the browser window where you enter the web address of the website that you would like to visit.
Browser
A browser is a software program used to access and navigate the Internet. It is used to enable users to view web pages.
Search Engine
A software system on the Internet that will conduct a search of its own database of websites based on terms you have entered.
Hyperlink
A word, button, and/or image that when clicked will go to another webpage either within the same website or to another web address.
Internet

The Internet is an information system connecting computers globally. It is an electronic communications pathway. It includes all the physical telephones lines and other cables that link computer s to computers.

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More Information

Internet Safety
http://www.onguardonline.gov/

Google Cheat Sheet for Searching the Internet
http://www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html

To visit the previous websites, place your mouse over the underlined link above then click. You must be connected to the internet in order for the link to work.

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