The Right Tool

Traditional search engines work incredibly well if you want “everything”.  Head off to Bing or Yahoo! or Google or any other utility and perform your search and you’ll get more information than you could ever imagine.  Using the advanced features of these utilities will enable you to narrow your search further to help you find just what you need.

When you want to know what’s happening right now, then you may wish to turn to other places.  Twitter provides a terrific forum if you want to get results as soon as they’re posted.  To that end, Twitter itself provides its own search here.  One of the topics in the news this morning deals with flooding worldwide.  In the capture below, I’ve done a search and the results show below.  What’s interesting to note, though, is that between the time that I did the search and scanned them, more results had appeared.

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But, there may be times where you want a bit of both.  A little Twitter and a little search results for historical research data.  If that’s the case, check out Twoogle.  It’s a little small in the image below, but the search term is entered into Twoogle and a request for information is sent and results returned from both Twitter and Google via a split screen.  Now, you can get both the quality results from realtime search along with the power of a major search engine for additional resources.

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But, you say, I don’t use Google.  I’m a Bing or Yahoo! or both type of user.  There’s another alternative that will let you roll your own.  Create your own Google Custom Search Engine.  Log in to your Google account and head over to create your own Custom Search Engine.  In its simplest, it’s just a wizard to step you through the process.

At one point, you’ll be asked to choose the sites that you wish to include in your custom search engine.  Just add where you’d like to search and you’re ready to go.

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Later on in the process, you’ll have the chance to further customize your search, add colours, etc. and eventually, you’ll “Get The Code”.  That’s your cue to highlight it all and copy it for pasting purpose in your own webpage or in your wiki.  Now, you’ve got the best of all worlds.

You’re searching Twitter and anything else you want to get a nice amalgam of resources.

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Being a smart digital citizen means choosing the right tool for the project.  And, if it doesn’t exist, make your own!

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