With all this practically infinite information available online, sometimes it's hard to find what we are looking for. As we all know, Google Search is the most popular search engine, and it can become a powerful tool in the right hands. If you wish to broaden your searching skills and become an expert on Google Search, you should consider Google's free online courses.
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The free Google Search Courses
We all have at least one friend that asks questions all the time, and completely ignores Google Search's existence.
For the rest of us though, how difficult can it be to search something with Google? You just type in the searching bar whatever you are looking for, and check the results on the first page. In times of desperation, we might even check the second page. Do we really need specialized courses to do such a simple task?
The truth is, several tips and tricks can help us improve our searching skills, to get results more relevant to what we want to find. Those tips can save us some time since we won't have to look further than the first few results.
Furthermore, there must have been at least one time when our search didn't come up with what we were looking. Chances are that the subject we wanted did exist, but we didn't use the proper techniques to find the information.
For these purposes, Google offers free online and self-paced courses with two levels of difficulty: the Power Searching course for average usage and the Advanced Power Searching for experts.
To start the first course and widen our searching skills, we need to visit Google's website.
From there, we can scroll down to Courses and hit "Start Now" on the Power Searching course, or follow this link.
In this program, we will learn about the advanced searching tools that Google provides, and how to find the right information when we need it.
At the bottom of this page, we have access to the course's Syllabus.
The only thing we have to do now is to start with the Pre-course assessment, which will evaluate our current Google-Fu.
Google won't grade our skills, so we shouldn't worry about the results, and we should definitely not use Google Search to look for the right answers.
So go ahead and answer based on your experience. Then press "Check Answers."
Our score was 3/4; apparently, we were too precise on Milwaukee's sunrise search.
After the assessment, we have to visit the first lesson's page manually.
On the left panel, we have access to all the available units and lessons. We can visit them as many times as we want and in whatever order we like; although it is better advised to start from the beginning.
The lessons are in video files. However, on the top right corner, we can find a text version as well.
When we are finished, we can click on the "Next Page" button at the bottom, or visit the next lesson from the side panel.
Finishing the course
As we already mentioned, the Google Search course is self-paced. Thus, we can take the lessons whenever we want, without worrying about time and schedules.
When we finish all units, we can take the Post-course assessments, to test the skills we've acquired.
From here on, we can move on to a higher difficulty with the second course, aka the Advanced Power Searching.
Advanced Power Searching
This time, the course has a different syllabus.
12 Labors of... Google Search
At the first part, we are presented with a course overview, in which we will find a sample challenge and how to solve it.
Now, in the second part, Google gives us 12 challenges - or should we say labors? - and we have to solve them to complete the course.
As we can see, the challenges are marked with a colored E (easy), M (medium), and H (hard), that designate the difficulty.
The Challenge Introduction part will explain the basics, so we'd better read it before we proceed.
Like in the Power Searching Course, the lessons include video and text.
When we finish with the introduction, we can move onto our first challenge.
We should mention that each problem works as a lesson and a test at the same time, so all challenges include three steps.
First of all, we are presented with the problem.
In the first step, we can explore the skills we will need to solve the challenge.
As we can see, there are video and text lessons, as well as examples that will help us learn new skills.
Once we feel comfortable with the new tricks we've learned, we can try to solve the challenge. Thus, we enter our answer in Step 2.
For hints, we click on the relevant button, while the "Show Answer" button will - of course - reveal the correct answer.
Last but not least, there is a section to check how others did with the challenge on Step 3, but as of this writing, no one seems to have commented.
If you start the lessons now, you can be the first to comment.
Did you become the next "Hercules" in Google Searching?
Google Search's courses are an excellent way to improve our searching skills. If you are like us and enjoy decent riddles, the 12 Challenges will keep you entertained, especially the hard ones.
Do you plan to start Google's free courses? Did you complete any of the challenges? Feel free to leave a comment below.
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