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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).

Google for journalists

Google for journalists

Before the presentation

Before the presentation

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.

Volleyball

Michelle Fitzhugh Craig

Michelle Fitzhugh Craig

Group shot at evening's end

Group shot at evening’s end

Amphitheatre Parkway

Amphitheatre Parkway

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