Google Advanced Search, Images & Trends

Workshop with Elisabetta Tola


With over 3 billion Google searches a day, how can journalists use search engines to filter the noise and reduce searching time? The workshop “Google Advanced Search, Images & Trends” in collaboration with Google News Lab aimed to give an answer to this question. During the event, media trainer Elisabetta Tola explained how to use Google’s advanced search tools to conquer the information overload and verify sources.

“Many Google tools are not born directly for journalism, but can be adapted,” explains Elisabetta, “Google News Lab was born exactly with this idea, to facilitate the usage of these tools for journalists.”

Google News lab, a Google team specialized in supporting and interacting with newsrooms, intends to foster the role of Google tools in the production of news and empower innovation.

As devices evolved to consume different kinds of content, Google has kept adapting its search results. Since 1998, simple lists of links developed into comprehensive portfolios made of pictures, videos, news, data sheets, academic papers and much more. Google Search Refinements have progressively been introduced to filter websites, domains and file types, making it easier to target results.

During the workshop, Elisabetta looked at some functionalities of the popular Google Search, but focused also on some less-used tools. Google Scholar, for example, is a collection of scholarly papers that can be helpful in understanding who is an academic expert in a certain field.

Another tool for journalists is Google Alert, which is useful to receive updates when following a specific issue or search term. Google Images can help to define usage rights when looking for content, but also to verify the authenticity of a picture or a video’s screenshot. Google Street View can also be used to look back in time and show the “before and after” of a location. The BBC, for example, used it to show the different scenes in London before and after the 2011 riots. Google Public Data Explorer uses official datasets to create charts which are embeddable, engaging and easy to interact with.

The last tool presented was Google Trends, an index which allows journalists to compare terms to find how widely searched they are, which stories are trending and where. Time Magazine, for example, used Google Trends to build a timeline of the major events that happened throughout the year.

Biography of Elisabetta Tola

Elisabetta Tola ia a journalist and science communicator. She lectures in data journalism, science communication and multimedia at the Masters in Science Communication at Sissa, Trieste and other journalism schools.
Twitter: @elisabetta_tola

Martina Andretta