Google Search

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Searching the Internet

What we hope you’ll learn from this module:

What is a search engine?

A “search engine” searches the internet for something you ask it to find. Most people search using specific words, called keywords or search terms, and the search engine will search the internet for those words. Google is the most popular search engine, but there are many other kinds of search engines too!

How does it work?

Crawling and Indexing
A search engine uses robots to search all the websites on the internet. These robots are called spiders or bots,  and when they search it’s called crawling. Then the search engine organizes the information from the spiders. This is called indexing. When you search for something, the search engine looks through its indexes and gives you a list of all the websites that have what you searched for. This list is called your search results.
There are some rules about what spiders crawl – you can find out more about what Google indexes here :
Search Relevancy
Search results can be really long! This is why every search engine has its own way of deciding what you’ll want to see at the top of the list. This is called search relevance. Most search engines use an algorithm to figure it out.
You can find out more about Google’s algorithm here:
Google has also made a website to explain “How Search Works”:
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How can I use Google to find what I’m looking for?

Let’s try it out! Here is a video that explains how use Google to search:
Now it’s your turn!
Activity #1: Search!
Most Google searches are for a word or set of words, called keywords. Follow these steps to search Google using keywords:
Google search box
  1. Go to
  2. Type your keywords into the box in the middle. They can be anything! Do you have a favorite movie, holiday or kind of pet? Click on “Google search” and see what you get!  Your list of search results will be on the right.
  3. Reflect! Comment here about what you searched for and something interesting you found. To find out more about commenting, see How to Comment.
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What are some of the advanced things Google can do?

Now that you know how to do a Google search, let’s see what else Google can do! Here’s a video that will show you some of Google’s other tools: 
Now it’s your turn!
Activity #2: Google Images
Google can also search just images. This is really helpful if you’re looking for a picture, a chart, or anything you’d rather look at than read. You can even search by color!
  1. Go to
  2. Type your search terms in and click on “Google search.”
  3. Click on “Images” under the search box on your search results page.
  4. To sort by color, click on “Search tools” under the search box. Then click on “Any color” and pick the color you want to search by.
  5. Reflect! Comment here to talk about your favorite image that you found using Google Images. To find out more about commenting, see How to Comment.
Activity #3: Google Maps
Google can also search for locations and show you a map. This is really helpful if you want to learn more about where you are or want to get directions. Google will even tell you how long it will take to get there!
  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Maps” at the top of the screen.
  3. Type in a place you like to go. It can be your address, the name of your library, or your favorite place to eat dinner!
  4. Instead of a search results list, Google will show you this place on a map. Click on “Directions” on the left to figure out how to get there. Google can tell you how to get there by car, public transportation, walking or biking!
  5. Reflect! Comment here to talk about how you might use Google Maps. To find out more about commenting, see How to Comment.
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There’s more!

Now you know how to use Google to search for information, images and videos. But it can do a lot more! If you feel like exploring, here are some things you can try out:
  • Shopping: Click on “Shopping” to use Google to find out where to buy things online.
  • News: Click on “News” to find news about your keywords.
  • YouTube: Click on “YouTube” to find videos about your keywords. To learn more about YouTube, see the YouTube module!

Congratulations & Thank You!

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Fall of 2012.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by NAME for LIBRARY/GROUP. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.