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Insider tips for maximizing your investigative power with Google

By Danielle Kirsh

There are many Google tricks and methods that can make research much easier. Daniel Russell studies the way people search using Google. He offered a few tips for people who want to get the most out of their Google searches.


Search by image

Search by image is a tool that allows you to search using a picture. Google will process that image and give you image results similar to your query. However, sometimes a picture is too ambiguous. To get more accurate results in an image search you have to include key terms along with the image. Other times, the photo might be too large. If this is the case, the photo can be cropped down to a particular section, which can help narrow down the search.

Let’s say you have a picture of a business where a crime took place, but you don’t have an address. There’s no name on the building, but there is a large logo. You can crop the image to just the logo and use that in Images search. You may be able to get the address in the matter of seconds based on the custom logo and your cropping.


Google Alerts

Google Alerts is useful for when you want to be alerted about certain words or phrases that are used in articles. After setting up a Google Alert, you will be emailed every time your designated word or phrase is mentioned in any media.


Google Trends

Google Trends shows how often people are searching a particular subject and which queries are the most popular at the moment. Although the default view is global trends, you can also set it to any designated location.


Other Googles and Google Translate

These are Google extensions that are for certain languages and countries. You can use these extensions to check out news tied to a specific country and language.

Google Translate is a service that Russell says is constantly improving. Right now the best translations are the romance-to-romance translations, he said.

Using Google extensions and language translations can be helpful because there differences in searches across languages and cultures. Russell explained that the Italian Wikipedia article for Leonardo da Vinci has twice as many words as the English version.


Google can be an extremely useful tool in the world of journalism. How we choose to utilize it can make or break our research. If you are ever unsure or stuck on something, Russell offers some great advice: “When in doubt, search it out.”


Danielle Kirsh is the current editor for the Spartan Echo at Norfolk State University and will be the online/managing editor in the fall semester. She hopes to be a photojournalist abroad. She is a 2014 IRE Conference Knight Scholar.

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