This session was a very organized and succinct look at the “Big 2” search engines, Google and Bing, and how to search more effectively. Things change every year, so there is never one way that will always work. Nancy described how search engines use all kinds of things – your ip address, previous purchases and searches, and other influences – NOT just your search words – to determine search results. She also explained that Google and Bing do algorithm changes constantly (in Google’s case, 500 times a year) so our search strategies change, too.
This session was informative and also made me more aware on a factual level of how our privacy can be compromised on the web. One of the biggest takeaways foe me is how pervasive Google is with its services beyond searching – including Google Plus. She gave us lots of search techniques (Small example: using site: can narrow a search; example: site: loc.gov to get into Library of Congress) and compared Bing to Google. I had not given much thought to synonymization until this class, and feel more empowered with some good tools.
Although efficient searching was the topic, this session made me think more deeply about the bigger ideas regarding the Internet - who controls the information, who is empowered to buy domain names, how much the Internet compromises our privacy (both overtly and surreptitiously), and how that information could be exploited. Yikes! These are huge issues for me, and my students are living in a world in which they need to know early on about protecting themselves and their private information. As a school librarian, I need to integrate these ideas more into my lessons on the Internet.