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Garrett Wasny: Google offers much more than most know

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Garrett Wasny: Google offers much more than most know

  1. 1. The Bottom Line February 2011 13 FOCUS Google offers much more than most know By GARRETT WASNY track of publications and topics and LAWRENCE WONG specif ied by the user — and hile search engines like Google Sidebar, which appears on W Google have created a revolution by putting oceans of information at the fin- the left side of the screen during a Google search. Sidebar allows people to easily refine their search gertips of people all over the in a number of ways so it’s better world, the sad truth is that most filtered and the optimal informa- people don’t know how to really tion rises to the top of the list. use them to their full potential. Keep in mind that, while For most, using a search engine Google is good, it’s not the only is limited to typing in a word or search engine out there. For two in the search box on the home example, Bing, Microsoft’s search page, hitting ‘enter’ and seeing engine, and Yahoo! often bring dif- what pops up. That approach uses ferent results for the same search a small fraction — just one per terms. And few people seem to cent — of Google’s full capabili- know that the second biggest ties. It often misses what the search engine is actually YouTube. searcher is looking for or buries it It’s not just for funny clips and ZZ way down a list of responses gen- Top videos from the 1980s. Many erated by a query that was not tai- businesses are posting everything lored to get the best result. from tutorials and product infor- If a person types in chartered mation to visual annual reports accountant at Google.ca, without and public meetings on YouTube. quotation marks, over three mil- That makes it a very important lion results appear. Type in “char- resource. tered accountant” with quotes Professionals should also be around it and that number goes to aware of vertical search engines about two million. Just putting For most, using a search engine is limited to typing in a that focus on a specific industry, words in quotations narrows a function or issue. For example, too search by only bringing back word or two in the search box on the home page, hitting few accountants seem to know responses where the two words are ‘enter’ and seeing what pops up. That approach uses a small about www.ifacnet.com, a search used side by side, thereby elimi- engine website powered by nating responses linked to docu- fraction — just one per cent — of Google’s full capabilities. Google. On the site, it explains ments that might have an irrele- that ifacnet.com is a “one-stop vant sentence like: “After Garret Wasny and Lawrence Wong access to high-quality resources consulting an accountant fishing and information developed by the buddy, he chartered a boat.” appears at least three times will unknowns; that is to say we know Further tailoring can take alerts International Federation of To really start honing a search, appear. there are some things we do not from looking at everything on the Accountants (IFAC) and other it’s best to use the TPL method, Go to different national ver- know. But there are also unknown net to focusing on news sites, leading accountancy organizations which stands for time, place, lingo. sions of Google — like Canada’s unknowns — the ones we don’t blogs or videos. Using the TPL from around the world. This search Treat a Google query as if it were a Google.ca as opposed to know we don’t know.” method creates ‘super alerts’ that engine, powered by Google, pro- human reference librarian. If Google.com — and searches give In fact, Rumsfeld’s statement, avoid filling a person’s inbox with vides access to a wide range of rel- someone were seeking a forensic more prominence to local content. while a bit convoluted, makes per- irrelevant material. Those with evant materials to assist profes- accountant currently operating in People looking for a type of fect sense, especially for busy pro- unique names may be able to get sional accountants in business, Toronto, would it really be best to document in a particular format fessionals. Which accountant away with a simple search of their small- and medium-sized practi- go to a librarian and say: can narrow their search by speci- wouldn’t want to keep constant name, however the John Smiths of tioners, auditors, accounting aca- “accountant”? Searching ‘forensic fying the type of file. A search of track of what is being said about the world are going to want to demics, and others in their day-to- accountant Toronto 2011’ on f iletype:ppt “chartered existing or potential clients, their narrow things a little with some- day operations.” Google.ca gets about 65,500 Professionals, like accountants, results, while ‘accountant’ gets who aren’t using the Internet to its more than 30 million. Poor search techniques put the average fullest potential risk falling behind Adding context and details to a the competition. After all, if query brings better results. Search curious person or eager student at a knowledge is your business, who “House” and Google will report can really know too much? back on everything from dwellings disadvantage and are inexcusable for and parliaments to curling and Garrett Wasny, MA, CMC, places of worship. Type “House” business professionals. CITP, is known as the ‘Internet “TV” and the results will focus guy’ and ‘Google guru’ who WASNY more on the Hugh Laurie drama, Garret Wasny and Lawrence Wong advises accountants and other albeit with a lot of home improve- professional service providers on ment shows thrown in for good accountant” is confined to Power- firm or, most importantly, them? how to improve their online search measure. Point f iles on the net and f ile- Can anyone afford to wait until skills, increase their web produc- This type of search refinement type:xls “chartered accountant” they’re aware the information tivity and transform how they use is merely the tip of the iceberg. limits the search to Excel spread- exists to search for it when they the web in their business, career Little changes to a search bring sheet files. can actually arrange to get it sent and life. He conducts a seminar on different results. Make a term Poor search techniques put the to them automatically in advance? Advanced Internet Research Tech- plural — chartered accountants — average curious person or eager One of best products out there is niques for Accountants for the and the search gets a different student at a disadvantage and are Google Alerts, which seems sadly Institute of Chartered Accountants result. Using American versus inexcusable for business profes- under-utilized even though it’s both of Ontario. His website is British spellings — center versus sionals. free and very effective. Google thing like “John Smith” “chartered www.garrettwasny.com and can be centre, for example — also Former U.S. Secretary of Alerts allows people to set up auto- accountant” “Toronto.” easily found by Google. delivers different results. Type a Defense Donald Rumsfeld was matic searches for as many and any Used properly, Google Alerts term twice in the search box to get once widely ridiculed for saying: terms they can come up with. are part of the GARS search tech- Lawrence Wong, CA, is asso- results where the phrase is used “There are known knowns; there Those searches can be customized nique that encompasses alerts, ciate director, professional devel- twice. Type it three times and only are things we know we know. We to bring results weekly, daily or as plus Google Reader — an easy to opment at the Institute of Char- links to items where the phrase also know there are known the term appears in real time. use RSS aggregator that will keep tered Accountants of Ontario.

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