GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, Web Searches, June 15, 2016

GTT Vancouver Summary Notes
June 15, 2016

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind in partnership with Blind Beginnings

Web Searches

Present: 12 Members: Presenters Monty Lilburn and Matthew Alvernaz, and summary notes by Clement Chou.

-What searching is

– search engines and search tools have replaced libraries, and web browsers have become the equivalent of library cards to grant access
– a search engine is an indexed database of information which is broken down into sections

-different types of searching

– there are search engines which are more general such as google and others
– There are also more specialized search engines built into websites and applications EG: amazon, translink, etc
– any time there is a place to enter text and hitting a search button, it is essentially using a search engine

-tools used in searching
– bing
– wolfram alpha
– yahoo
– wikipedia
– siri
– social media; facebook, twitter

-search engines (how they work, why they exist, advertising ETC)
– two types of search engines: open source or free, developed by scientists for information gathering, or more specific search engines developed by companies for profit
– search engines exist to gather information on individuals in order to make money off advertising
– search engines acquire information by going through IP addresses in sequential numbers, and indexes all the data from every single link on every website
– on average, google pulls new information on a weekly basis, or in the case of more popular websites, more often
– google builds individual profiles by using digital information called a cookie
– deleting this information can make it hard to be tracked by search engines, but also may make it less convenient in areas such as logging into websites, clearing visitted links, etc
– if you remove cookies, search engines will attempt to track the same information using your IP address instead
– most search engines also have mobile versions of websites with less clutter for easier use with screen readers
– however these mobile websites may disappear due to Google’s mandate for all websites to be optomized for mobile devices
– screen reader users should make use of quick nav commands EG: h for headings in google search results, e for edit boxes, v for visited links, etc
– google will try and automatically complete your search for you, but it can be turned off by clicking on a link at the top of the page

-covering specific engines: (E.G Google, Bing, Translink ETC)
– google will try and automatically complete your search for you, but it can be turned off by clicking on a link at the top of the page
–, a subsection of wolfram alpha will attempt to identify visual images using computer scanning

-General search engine tips/tricks
– using google operators EG: quotes around a specific phrase, a – dash or minus to exclude a result, * or star as a wild card in case you are unsure of spelling
– not all operators work on all websites
– in modern browsers, you can also search from the same area where you would typically enter a web address
– you can search for information either from a website directly, or use the operator site: followed by the site address with a space, followed by your search terms

Search Engines and Fun
– you can use wolfram alpha to figure out fun things such as scrabble word point values, or how many marbles fit in a 747
– if you put hash tags with a topic, similar to facebook and twitter, they will also work

Live Search Examples
– if performing a google search, you can exclude smaller words such as a, the, or, only keywords are important

A good resource on Google searching operaters is:

During the July meeting we will have a presentation by Steve Barclay, COO of Aroga Technologies. He will demonstrate both low vision and blindness products that are new on the market, as well as several items we’ve come to know and use.

The next meeting is on the 3rd Wednesday, July 20, 2016 from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM at the Blind Beginnings office.