I’ve driven by the building once or twice. Drive-by sightseeing doesn’t really cut it though, does it? Not that I tried to make it stand in or stand up, make it more than it was. So when Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig emailed the invite, I said yes. Working out of the San Jose Mercury News newsroom meant it was mostly a straight shot over to Mountain View, barring the moment or two when I got turned around trying to actually find Highway 101.
And then I was there, pulling into the parking lot, dodging clouds of low-flying employees on those little baby-BMX bicycles and dashing over to the lobby of Building 43 to join members from the San Francisco Bay Area Black Journalists Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (Nor-Cal) and the Asian American Journalists Association (San Francisco Bay Area Chapter).
Then came forty-five minutes of tips and tricks about using Google more efficiently:
- Don’t worry about capitalization
- Remove results from your query by using a minus sign
- Use Control-F to find a phrase quickly (90% didn’t know to use function)
- Use quotations for specific phrase (“A Google A Day”)
- Search by file type (filetype:.doc, filetype:.pdf, filetype:.ppt) or site type (site:.gov, site:.au)
- Search within specific sites: site:apple.com, site:pizzahut.com
- Look for and use timing and location filters on left side of search-result page
- Currency conversion: “50 dollars in euros”
- Unit conversion: “500 kilometers in miles”
- Calculator: “194.43 + 73.17 + 20 + 3.25”
- Weather forecast for locations, local movie times, stock quotes
- Sort searches by relevance or by subject (size, color, type)
- Search by image (Google Goggles)
- Find academic and research documents in Scholar.google.com
- Google Translate (or the Translate app) for language tools — translated search, text, Web page
- Hit Google Trends and Google Insights for Search (seasonality of searches: “wedding planning” peaks in late December; regionality of searches; google.com/publicdata to search/visualize public data “unemployment rate”; Google Fusion Tables)
- Google Maps: directions, but also reporting to include visuals in stories
- Google Street View (parking, landmarks, screenshots of buildings “before” imagery — look for updates: followyourworld.appspot.com (asked about Google Earth layers)
- Visit YouTube (stats: 48+ hrs. of video every minute, 2 billion videos watched each day, #3 site in U.S., #2 search engine, 70% of traffic is international)
- Check out youtube.com/citizentube to highlight citizen news.
- Visit youtube.com/trends (most searched for name for pronunciation: “Kesha”)
- To embed a video at a certain point, use this formula at the end of the YouTube.com link (“#t=23m15s”) like so:
I kept taking notes, despite looking away every now and then to see stuff like this volleyball game outside.