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 images.google.com 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.

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 (palmbeachpost.com 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.

The next generation of data searching

Google’s public data search “makes it easy to find and compare public data.” Unemployment and population data (national, state and local) are available now, with promises of more to come. Google “population” or “unemployment” to see what it looks like.

Wolfram|Alpha, launching in May, promises to be even more cool:

What can it do? It can describe places, like Lexington, Mass., by its vital statistics, like location, population, weather, etc. It can compare Lexington with Moscow. If you type “LDL 180,” it will tell you the percentile of the population with higher or lower cholesterol and show you the answer on a chart. If you tell “LDL 180 male 45,” it will adjust the chart for gender and age group. It can chart the life expectancy of a male age 40 in Italy or tell you who was president of Brazil in 1928.

Ten things every journalist should know in 2009

10 things, with links to more information about those things. Examples:

2. How to use RSS feeds to gather news and manage them using filtering techniques (basic or advanced).

7. You do not have to own, or even host, the technology to innovate in journalism and engage your readers. There is a plethora of free or cheap tools available online, so there is no excuse for not experimenting with them.

10. Learn more about privacy. You can find a lot of information about people online, especially via social networking sites, but think carefully about the consequences. And bear in mind that it cuts both ways, if you do not do it carefully, your online research could compromise your sources.

And 7 more really useful things.