Search Engines

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Browsing cartoon

Did you realise that you can find all references to a particular word on specific site using Google and the format (e.g.)  'Site www.silverhairs.co.uk virus' ?

Dealing with changes ro your browser, search engine and Toolbars  See Help12.htm

Google have promised to let Chrome users know if your Chrome browser has been replaced. This is an increasing problem and can happen when you download things even from legitimate sites. Some are extremely difficult to shift.  It is all about hit rates, advertising and, inevitably about money.

Googling around.  Undoubtedly Google is the best way to find what you need.  See http://www.howtogeek.com/125101/14-special-google-searches-that-show-instant-answers/  for how to Google.  In spite of slight gains made by other search engines, such as Bing and Ask, Google still  commands 90% of the search traffic in the UK. I just wish Bing and Ask would not use their tactics of trying to change MY preferred search engine (Google) to theirs.  I constantly have to delete the other two, which I find much less useful.

 If you wish to turn on a more informative and adaptable Google than the standard page try www.google.co.uk/ig.  The will give you the chance to see other things besides the basic search box

Every page on the Internet has its own unique address, known as a URL. So if you know that address e.g. www.bbc.co.uk all you have to do is type that in the address space at the top of your Web Browser (whether it is Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or something like AOL) and press the Enter key to get to that address. You can even type something like Go holidays and it will find Holidays.com.  In fact Chrome allows you to just search on a word such as Silverhairs.

Google cartoon

n.b. If you wish to return to a previous site that you have just visited you can always use the back arrow at the top (left) of your browser screen. This will take you back along the trail which you have followed. Sometimes you will get a screen which indicates that a page in not available. Do not take this at face value. Yes, it is possible that a badly constructed site can lead you to a blind alley but frequently it is a problem with the site. It may be overwhelmed with callers or some other reason. When your Browser has tried to find a site for a limited time without success you it is likely to show the Not Available page, which is actually a file on your own machine. Try again later or use the back arrow and go back to the page after a few seconds before you give up on it. In Internet Explorer click on the down arrow to the right of the address bar and use one of the address recorded in the 'history' list of previous entries.

If you can master searching the web it is a wonderful tool. Some of the sites I have found are really amazing. They can now be seen on Help38 page

Google's Chrome scored another hit in a report which showed that it was more secure than Internet Explorer. Firefox came last with a poor or no 'sandbox'.  I know what a sandbox is supposed to do ( a test area for things before they are let loose to infect systems) but I am unable to find the origin of the word.  Any ideas ?

Personalised advertising.  Most people know that Google is the most used 'search engine'. To do this it 'spiders' the web to find and index everything that it can find, so you find what you want when you put a word or two into its search box.  Some people will be surprised that advertisements related to their searches and even related to the content of their emails appear, as if by magic, on their screens.  Google makes no secret about this and even makes it possible to block some adverts.  For a video on this subject and how you can change your preferences click here  https://www.google.com/settings/ads/preferences/?hl=en-GB

Browser wars
There is inevitable competition between the various browsers.  Although none of them charge there is still money to be made in various ways. While in 2011 Internet Explorer is still the top browser and Firefox comes a close second  but if you look at the graph you can see that Google's Chrome, was fast catching both of them. You don't have to stick to just one.  Every Windows user has Internet Explorer (it comes with the program) but you can download one or two more. I use Chrome as it is slim and fast but you may prefer some of the add-ons that you get with other browsers. By 2017 the battle had been won by Google.

Browser comparative graph

Since the is graph was published Google Chrome has far outdistanced all other browsers.  By 2017 about 50% of users were using variations of Chrome from versions 45 to 62. The latest Internet Explorer (V.11) managed just over 12% whilst other well known browsers such as Firefox and Apple's Safari managed about 2%. Microsoft's Edge (12) was hardly anywhere to be seen with less than half a percent..

Tip : Press the space bar to scroll down this page. To Find a specific word on a web page (including this one) press Ctl + F and type in the word.  To find the next occurrence on the page use Alt and F.

Contract cartoon

March 2011 Internet Explorer 9 is finally out (but won't work with XP) See http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/internet-explorer/products/ie/home  It has a much changed interface and lots of new features.  It is said to have caught up a little on speed but is still not as fast as Chrome, which is kept lean for this purpose. However, it is NOT designed to work with Windows XP.  Being on Vista I thought I would give it a go and, after the first foray, it was much faster than the old versions.  A nice touch is that it gives you the opportunity to stop a lot of add-ons that had accumulated with the previous version and some curious ones I didn't recognise.  I just left on Mcafee Site adviser and Google Toolbar

I have not had any problems with Internet Explorer 9.  The only problem I have heard of from a contact was that he when he accessed his bank account and they recommended he go back to version 8.  I suggested he just install version 9 until they got their act together. It has not affected my bank access.

One of the security features introduced with Internet Explorer 8 was a Smart Screen  'phishing' and malware Filter If it is turned on it will

Most search engines now have advanced search facilities.  In Google click on Advanced to the right of the search box.  This allows narrowing down by things such as language, date of the page, where words appear (in title, body etc) exact words, words to be excluded and much more. When entering a word - say a town - you can click on weather, images, websites.

Opera is another powerful browser, which has just been updated.

YouTube is phasing out support for "older browsers" and is encouraging people to upgrade to Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome or IE8.I will have another go at IE 8 and see if it is still causing me hassle. I notice that my Mcafee Site adviser no longer works with V 7

I use Google Chrome for preference. But people don't like the big picturesque tabs showing previously visited pages.  Personally I have settled on a basic page with the Google search box showing.  So mine looks like this :

My Chrome Page

If YOU would like Chrome to open with a specific page click the spinner symbol, top right, click Options in the drop down menu and make sure that it opens with the website that you prefer e.g.http://www.google.co.uk/

Safari, Apple's contribution to the Browser market is said to be 8 times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and 5 times faster than my current favourite, Chrome.

 Microsoft is fed up with everyone Googling, so have brought out a new Search Engine called Bing.  It does include some new features.  See HERE for Bob  Rankin's expert opinion

An internet search system, Wolfram Alpha, takes the first step towards what many consider to be the internet's Holy Grail – a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does. It is very much a work in progress and for some questions Google does a better job. But don't underestimate the brilliant British born instigator, Stephen Wolfram.  People are saying this could be bigger than Google (and you can't get much bigger than that)

In May 09  Internet Explorer 8 was announced and it is the last version of IE for Windows XP.  It has better security features than earlier versions, such as :
The optional SmartScreen Filter, pops up a screen with a warning when you visit a site that may contain malware or a phishing attack. It will also notify you if you attempt to download software that may not be safe. Earlier versions are now much less secure and should be updated
The Cross Site Scripting Filter enables IE8 to detect malicious code running on rogue or compromised websites. This feature helps to protect you from attacks which can steal account information, identity theft, and other hazards.
Data Execution Prevention is an IE8 security feature that can block viruses and other security threats from running on your machine.

In that Mcafee Site adviser seems a little suspect or weak on occasions anything that prevents you getting 'Drive-By viruses' can only be a good/

In a recent exercise it was found that Google searches got the best results when trying to find answers to certain computer problems.  The results looked like this

Web searches comparison

I don't know if it is just my setup but Internet Explorer has been very slow and crashing (not responding). I finally got rid of a host of add-ons and it seems to work better, now.

Of several browsers currently available, Safari has captured only 48 million users, equaling about 3.4 percent of the market -- as against Firefox's 227 million and IE's 1.1 billion, encompassing 16.1 percent and 78.3 percent of the market respectively. However, a recent study showed that many people are still using comparatively unsafe versions of IE and that Firefox was far more safe overall

If you are partially sighted, and use Firefox as your browser, take a look at http://www.firevox.clcworld.net/about.html, the developer of Fire Vox, the screen reader for Firefox. Mind you it wouldn't work for me.

Apple have developed a cool looking Browser  (instead of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera , Flock etc) for Windows and Apple users called Safari.

Think it is all up to Google ? See a list of (almost) all the search engines at http://www.craigball.com/searchcentral.html
Mind you, if you look at www.simply-google.com you will see what an innovative bunch they are.  No wonder Microsoft is worried

Five Things You Didn't Know Google Could Do
Google has many hidden functions, and most accessible from the main search box. This article describes a few of these.

However, Google has several built in functions that help you to make your searches more successful, and to enable you to spend less time searching! The following is a list of 5 functions, all accessible from the main Google search box, which will help you find that snippet of information you are looking for.

1. Removing Unwanted Pages
Ever searched for something before, and had a whole list of completely irrelevant web pages come up? This is annoying at the best of times, as it takes time to check and read through the list of sites and find the one you actually want.

For example, if you were looking for a review of the book "Eragon", and you typed into Google “Eragon review”, many of the links listed are reviews of the movie, not the book. Because you are not looking for a review of the movie, you can remove all pages relevant to the movie by adding “-movie” to the end of your search terms.This will now display all the pages relevant to "eragon review", but not relevant to "movie".

2. Calculator
Google can be used as a calculator, answering anything from the simplest math to the most complex equation. Just enter your math question, such as 8+7*2 and Google will display the answer. + is used to add terms, to subtract terms, to multiply terms, and to divide terms. Besides these basic operators, you can use ^ to work out something to the power of something (for example, “2^4” would be 2 to the power of 4), and "sqrt" to calculate the square root of a number (for example, “sqrt 4” would be the square root of 4).

3. Dictionary Definitions By typing “define:” before a word, Google will retrieve and display a list of dictionary definitions for that word. e.g. define:evolution

4. Search A Single Website
If you type "site:" and then a website after a search term, Google will search for your term(s) in only the site dictated. For example, the following search will search Oxford University's Website for the term "prospectus."  Prospectus site: www.ox.ac.uk

5. Search for A Specific File Type
As I am sure you are aware, there are many files hosted on the internet besides the standard html websites. Therefore, searching for a specific type of file could make your search a lot easier. For example, if you were looking for a PDF version of the iPhone manual, you could use the following search, which would produce more accurate (and less) results. ....iphone manual filetype : pdf

Here the "filetype:" tool is making Google search the web for PDF files only, therefore eliminating any pages that we didn't want to see.

These are just 5 useful functions that Google can perform, there are many more for you to discover, and they can all be mixed and matched! ****************

See a list of the top 500 sites accessed from the UK  Here

The ubiquitous Google is introducing a Universal Search feature which integrates results from news, books, video, local searches and images. So, if you use it to search for a local restaurant it may also display a map and show what other people thought about the menu ! It has also introduced searching 'on the fly', whereby it starts to look for suitable sites with every letter you type in the Google search box.

The Firefox (2) alternative to Internet Explorer is said to be less vulnerable and has not come in for the criticisms being levelled at Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). You can use either or both programs.  The latest version is out now. Click on the above logo to download it. Computer Active gives the Firefox2 five stars - (quote " It's hard to improve on a winning product") - Internet Explorer 7 only four. Firefox asks you if you want to make it your default Browser.  I use it in preference to Internet Explorer with Vista.

What if you want to return to Internet Explorer ? Open Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet Options, Programs and check " Internet Explorer should check.. " etc.,  Click Apply and restart Internet Explorer.

Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 ,8 and 9 have 'phishing' controls and will warn you if they think a site is a phishing site (e.g. a spoof bank asking you to fill in your account details). In the case of IE 7 it checks with Microsoft every time you go to a website.  This could account for why people complain that their PC has suddenly become slow. Firefox downloads a list of Phishing sites to your computer now and again.  Whilst this may cause a slight delay when you are on line it should be quicker than IE because it is retrieving the data locally.  You can turn the facility off in either browser if you feel confident that you can spot the 'phishermen'.  A third browser, Opera, also provides the facility but, in that case, it has to be turned on.

There are a number of new ways to search the net. Personally, I have Google (www.google.com) as my startup page (right click Internet Explorer, Properties and enter www.google.com as your home page). Google is the premier search engine with 8 billion internet pages indexed, including all of mine.  I know that I can find anything through their search engine.  If I want to search for more than one word together just put inverted commas round them. That is all there is to searching the web these days. If you think the answer is more likely to be in the UK just click the UK Only spot.  Once you have done that you will find a list of sites with links (usually blue underlined words like the ones below), with a note as to how many sites contain what you searched for. If it is very many you may wish to narrow the search down in some way but it is likely that the most relevant sites will be at the top of the list, including some who may have paid for the privilege.

When searching there is no need to bother about capital letters or even plurals. Keep it simple. You can search on your surname, or even the type number of a special battery or computer.  One of the most common problems is with an Outlook Express error code 0x800ccc0d. Just put it in Google and see the answers you get.  

Google can even be used as a dictionary by typing Define and then a word e.g. Define megabyte.  If it is a phrase then enclose it in inverted commas e.g. Define "wildcat strike".

Bear in mind that the order of words you enter may give different results with the earlier words given greater importance

You can also use the word OR in a search. So you might enter a search which is say "Dylan Thomas"play OR plays OR Theatre.  Note that, whilst the search words can be capitals or lower case the OR must be capitals. For people who remember the use of NOT to exclude specific words it may seem strange that the equivalent in Google is a minus sign. So it might be "Dylan Thomas"play OR plays -"Under Milk Wood".

It is possible in Google searches to restrict the search to a title of an article e.g. entitled:"Dylan Thomas".

Not many people know this but Google also provide specialist searches. Try http://froogle.google.com for price comparisons (mainly USA still); http://images.google.com for pictures; http://groups.google.com for Interest groups and even an additional Toolbar at  http://toolbar.google.com. For a small fee they will even do your research for you. Try http://answers.google.com. You may even find a free answer there. And the latest is  http://books.google.co.uk, which will search for the text you enter and tell you where it appears in a list of books

But if you want to try Microsoft's Bing search engine click  http://search.msn.com. The new MSN engine is claimed to be better than Google - and that is saying something.  


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