Google image search

Google image search allows you to search an image’s URL (or upload an image) to find where that image appears online and to find similar images.

Beware that similar images may be visually similar but not necessarily related, as in this example:

image search example

Photographers can use image search to see if their photo is being used on other websites. Social media editors can use it to make sure a user-submitted photo of a news event isn’t actually an old image, and anyone can use it to find out where an image originated. (Click on the links in that previous paragraph for examples and for information about Tineye and other ways to do reverse image searches.)

How to do it:

Go to and click the camera icon in the search box. Paste the URL of an image on the web, or upload an image from your computer.

A browser extension for Google Chrome or Firefox lets you do an image search from any image on the web by right-clicking on it.


Visualize language trends with Google Ngram Viewer

Google Ngram Viewer displays graphs showing how often specified words or phrases show up in millions of books over selected years from 1500 to 2008. Read more about how it works here.

Some interesting examples of Ngram graphs are here.

A July 2011 TED Talk about Ngram Viewer is here.

Staying on top of it

Google Alerts are a quick and easy way to keep up with news, blogs, updates to company web sites — anything you can find with a Google search.

To set up an alert go to, type in a search, give your email address, and you’ll get an email whenever Google finds new results for that search.

You don’t have to have a Google account to use Google Alerts, but if you do have an account you can edit your alerts by tweaking the search and changing the frequency of the emails.

Advanced Google search features help make sure your alert doesn’t send you irrelevant stuff:

Use double quotes to search for a name or an exact phrase: “frank biden” won’t find Francis W. Biden, but it will eliminate results that list Joe Biden and some other guy named Frank

Search within a specific web site: “boynton beach” or “palm beach”

Use a wildcard to replace words: “* scott signed * bill finds Governor Scott signed a bill that would allow prayer and Rick Scott signed House Bill 1513.

More Google search tips here and here.

Web search tips

Gathered from the excellent IRE On the Road Watchdog Workshop led by Doug Haddix at The Palm Beach Post in June 2011:

Web searching tips

1. Don’t always rely on Google. Try Infospace to search Google, Bing and Yahoo simultaneously.

2. Use Google advanced search to specify file type (to search for .pdf files if you’re looking for a published report, for example) or to search a specific website ( or any .gov or .edu site, for example).

3. Use the “More search tools” link on the left rail of your Google results to narrow a search by date (past hour, 24 hours, week, month, year or custom range) or view results in a timeline.

4. Use * as a wildcard. It replaces any whole word.

5. Google doesn’t officially have proximity searching, but there is an undocumented AROUND operator that lets you search for one word within a specified number of words of another.

Add Google News to your website

From the Official Google Blog:

The world is a quickly changing place and it’s getting harder and harder to stay on top of the news. With this in mind, we’ve just released a Google News–based element for webmasters and developers. This makes it easy to integrate headlines and previews from Google News into any webpage, and for newspapers to reach new audiences across the web. Whether your visitors are interested in business, entertainment or fashion, you control the types of stories in your personal news show. You can input keywords like “Obama ” or “Superbowl” or broad topics like “world news” or “politics.” For more information, check out our post on the AJAX Search API Blog or get started with our wizard to automatically generate the code for you.

Google adds magazines to book search

Google is digitizing the archives of magazines. Search Google Books now to find issues of New York, Runner’s World, Baseball Digest, Popular Science, CIO, Ebony, Wedding, Jet, and Popular Mechanics. Not surprisingly, Google plans to add more:

Over time, as we scan more articles, you’ll see more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Eventually, we’ll also begin blending magazine results into our main search results, so you may begin finding magazines you didn’t even know you were looking for. For now you can restrict your search to magazines we’ve scanned by trying an advanced search.