Some baby boomers came to computers rather late. Some of us have been fully immersed in the computer and software world since early on. Either way, we can all always use a few tips to improve our skills and thus, make our computer time more efficient and enjoyable. So here a few tips you can use to get savvy about using Google’s fabulous search powers.
Did you know if you’re using Google’s Chrome web browser (free to download here) you can type your search terms directly into the browser address bar? No need to call up the Google search box.
Then – I love this one – when you need directions, don’t go through all the steps for Google maps. Instead just type into the browser or search bar “<start address to <ending address” and, voila, you get directions and drive times. Cool. eh?
Do you like to bake but hate converting measures? For some conversions you can just type into the bar “6 ounces to cups” and get the answer instantly – .75. For other conversions – like 1 cup to grams – you’ll still need to select from a list of sites that have conversion charts and look it up yourself.
Here’s another one I love. If you want to search for information just on a single website, do this. Type in the bar “site:sitename.com your term” and you’ll get all the references on that website to your term. For example, I’m searching for a good pedometer, and I trust the people at About.com for solid information. So I type in “site:about.com pedometers” and up comes a list of links to all the articles on pedometers that have appeared on About.com. Nifty.
For more tips, read the article on Google search on the Kitsap Sun website. (I had to look that up – Kitsap is a county near Seattle WA.)
And as for Gmail, isn’t it wonderful? Gets rid of almost all spam without you having to do anything. Autofills in the email addresses of previous correspondents. And here’s another trick that makes it much faster to get around in Gmail. It’s called keyboard shortcuts.
First, in your Gmail settings (click the gear-looking thing at the top right corner) and select “Settings.” Scroll down about halfway to “Keyboard Shortcuts” and click “keyboard shortcuts ON.” Don’t forget to click on “Save Changes” at the bottom.
Now come back out to your Gmail screen. Double-click an email to read it. Once you’re finished and don’t want to save it anymore, just hit the “Y” on your keyboard and – boom – that email disappears from your screen and you’re back at your list of emails. That email has been archived, not completely deleted. So if you should change your mind, you can still find it by searching your Google email. Or you can look for it manually in your “All Mail” box (a folder choice on the left side of your screen).
Now let’s say you’ve read an email and you do want to save it. When you’re finished reading it, just hit the letter “U” on your keyboard and you’ll be taken back to your Gmail listing, but the email you just read is still in there. You can go back and read it as often as you need to.
And now the capper, when you want to write a new email, instead of pushing your mouse all over to get to the “Compose” button and click it, you can simply hit “C” on your keyboard and a brand new email comes onscreen for you to fill in. It’s so much quicker and easier.
If you want to learn more shortcuts, click the “Learn more” in your Settings. But just knowing these three will make your time with your Gmail smoother and simpler.