Finding out anything online

Google uses “stemming technology” and will search not only for your search terms, but for words that are similar to some or all of those terms.

Google uses “stemming technology” and will search not only for your search terms, but for words that are similar to some or all of those terms.

The Internet is known as the information highway. There is not much you cannot find on it once you put your mind to it. I am sure that everyone has heard of or used Google. In my opinion, it is by far the most useful search site on the Internet. I will “Google” just about anything and see what it finds first. This site never ceases to amaze me with what it can do.

Doing a search on Google is easy. Simply type in one or more search terms in the search box and hit “enter” or the Google search button. You will then see a list of Web pages related to your search terms, with the most relevant page appearing first, then the next most relevant, and so on. Try to use multiple search terms and make the search terms as specific as you can. Google searches are not search sensitive. Google will ignore common words and characters such as “where” and “how,” as well as single digits and single letters. Google uses “stemming technology” and will search not only for your search terms, but for words that are similar to some or all of those terms.

In addition to providing access to more than 8 billion Web pages, Google has many special features: book search (searches full text of books), calculator (evaluates math expressions), currency conversion, definitions (glossary definitions from various sources), file searches (finds non-html file formats such as .pdf documents and others), froogle (online retail searching), “I’m feeling lucky” (bypasses all of the results and takes you directly to the first page returned on your query), local search (searches for businesses and services in your area), movies (reviews and show times), news headlines, phone book, stock quotes, street maps, travel information, Web page translation (into other languages), and who links to you (you can see what other sites link to a specific URL).

If Google is not your thing and you prefer to use search sites that are more subject specific, I have put together a list of sites that can be used in just this manner:

Reference Sites

www.fedstats.gov - government statistics
www.firstgov.gov - government portal site
www.hints-n-tips.com - an exchange center for practical information
www.infoplease.com - a great starting place for finding information
www.livemanuals.com - a place to find manuals for things you might own
www.refdesk.com - a great reference site
www.soyouwanna.com - teaches you how to do things
www.ehow.com - another how to site
www.about.com - a site loaded with information on just about any topic you might want
www.loc.gov - a site from the Library of Congress
www.lii.org - a librarian’s index to the Internet
www.answers.com - a good starting reference place
www.newspaperlinks.com/voyager.cfm - a site to find newspaper sites across the country

Computer Reference Sites

www.dll-files.com - a place to find those dll files for “couldn’t find ... dll” messages
www.dnsstuff.com - DNS and networking tools
www.fontface.com - place to find different fonts
www.cnet.com - reviews, tools, and more
www.zdnet.com - more reviews, tools, and more
www.computer.howstuffworks.com - how stuff works for computers
www.learnthenet.com - learn the Internet
www.pcmech.com - learn about computer hardware
www.annoyances.org - complaints about Windows
www.dougknox.com - tweaks and tips for Windows operating systems
www.tweakxp.com - tweaks and tips for Windows XP
www.answersthatwork.com - online self-help
www.webopedia.com - dictionary of computer/Internet terms

So, the next time you sit down in front of your computer to “find” something, I now expect you to be able to come up with all of the answers.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine, and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. Contact him by e-mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax at (314) 567-9047.

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