Google Verbatim – what’s that?

Google has a verbatim search mode which looks for exactly what you type. Get it?  ver.ba.tim Adverb:In exactly the same words as were used originally: “recite the passage verbatim”; “verbatim quotes”.

Wait, isn’t all of Google search like that?   No way kids! Actually, Google used to have that functionality  with a well-known (but, they say, little used) “+” operator. And then they dropped it…..and then Twitter exploded!

As Wired told it “Google phased out the + operator yesterday, which means I now have to “quote” “every” “term” “like” “this”. Nobody else finds this annoying?” Many of us found it annoying, and Google seemed to end up agreeing.  Less than a month later Google has added a search option which makes the not-outrageous assumption that what you type is actually what you wanted to search the web for. “Verbatim” is not the default setting — so Google will still fix what it thinks is a spelling error, and search for that — unless you turn on verbatim search.

Your search query is just the starting point for Google’s searches. Sometimes Google fixes misspellings, replaces some of the keywords with synonyms or other related keywords, disambiguates your query using your search history.

Philip Bradley explains it all in detail, step by step.

You need to check this latest change (enhancement?) out, and be sure to pass this information on to all your students – young and old.

What is interesting is that in Chrome I can turn Google Instant on or off, and that there is a suggestion that Chrome will also soon include the same option for Verbatim.

As Google explains it as you start to type your search terms, Google Instant automatically shows results for a popular search that begins with those letters. If you don’t see the results you want, just keep typing and the results will dynamically update.

This very ‘dynamic’ nature of google instant is a smokescreen to make us feel successful. But since fast search doesn’t necessarily mean intelligent search, and since Google’s adjustment of my basic search is equally confusing at times, it just may be that turning off Google Instant and turning on Verbatim as the default for students can take us back to teaching the key elements of search – choice of the best search terms and strategies.

Oh wait!  Your institutition might not let you use Chrome?  Never mind – just be sure to update your integration of search strategies in your curriculum practices. On the other the sort of customisations that Chrome can offer for key things like ‘search’ might be just another reason to beg for Chrome deployment on your devices!


Top image: cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by Yersinia

Drop the act, and get Dropbox

Luckily, there are plenty of schools around the globe that are ‘up to speed’ with technology change, with good folk who share their knowledge and experiences.

Hello Dropbox – here I come :-)

What is Dropbox?

Put away your flash drive, and stop emailing yourself files, because once you get Dropbox, the ways you deal with moving, sharing and backing up your files will change forever.  Whether you are sharing things with your family, working on school projects, collaborating with colleagues, or just securing your own work, Dropbox is an amazing tool.

Drop Box it is a service that provides 2GB of free online file storage (with paid upgrades possible for heavy users).

What impresses me the most is the speed at which it backs things up.

Dropbox for Teachers

Jonathan Wylie has put together a Top Tips for Using Dropbox at School, explaining how it works for a busy teacher, expanding on the advantages for teachers. Did you know this includes being able to run a drop box for your students? DROPitTOme is a free service that works with Drop Box to allow people to upload files to your Drop Box account without giving them access to the contents of your Drop Box account.

Essentially though:

  • It’s free
  • It’s convenient
  • It saves you time
  • It synchronises your files across all your computers and devices.

Would you like to quickly access your Dropbox files while you’re browsing or using web apps in Chrome? You’ll need to head over to the DropBox extension page and add Dropbox to your Chrome browser.  You can pick up instructions on how to do this  by reading Access your Dropbox quickly in Google Chrome.

With the ‘Dropbox for Chrome’ extension, you can:

  • Browse all files in your DropBox account
  • Instantly download files from your account
  • View recent events (uploads, downloads, and file modifications)

But essentially, this extension allows you to peek into your dropbox on the fly, without further ado!  Neat!

If you are already using Dropbox, and are wondering what else you could be using it for, here are a few additional reads:

Is Dropbox and Google Docs Integration on the Way? That would be grand – but it seems that we’ll see Dropbox Rewind first. This will let you “hop to your Dropbox at any point in the past.” For its users, this could be the perfect defense against deleting files by accident and never remembering to make backups. Dropbox users can also expect to see file system usage analytics.

If you’re still on holidays and want a challenge – why not take part in the The Inaugural Dropbox Dropquest and win nice things like 50 Gb storage for life!

Finally – a handbook/guide from MakeUseOf: