9:46 am

MacMost Now 540: Bypassing Search Engines

Learn how to find information on the web by bypassing search engines and going right to information-rich sites like WIkipedia, IMDB, AllMusic and Twitter. You can also use map searches and site-specific searches to find information.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at bypassing the search engines to find information on the internet. So, search engines are great for finding just about anything on the web, but, sometimes, it's best to bypass them and go directly to some websites to get to information.
So, probably the most obvious example is using Wikipedia to lookup information about people, places, or things. Wikipedia is great because it has tons of entries, many more than a traditional encyclopedia would have, a lot of detail, and very current topics. So, say, in my current episode I was talking about using https. What does that stand for? Well, you can type in a term like https into Wikipedia, and it'll take you right to an entry about that. And, you could read more, dig as deeply as you want to in the topic. It's also great for looking up history -- not just history like you might learn in school. But, for instance, you might want to find out more about 'wasn't there a cube shaped Mac at some point?' Well, yeah, you can lookup Mac cube here, and you can see that, sure enough, there's an entire entry here you wouldn't find in a regular encyclopedia about the Mac cube -- history, model lists, and all sorts of things. As a matter of fact you can find this kind of entry for just about any kind of Mac model that's been produced and, also, just about any major piece of Mac software.
Another great example of a site that kind of bypasses the search engines is Internet Movie Database -- IMDb.com. Now, you go here, you can look up any actor, any movie, or even any role in a movie, and you can find out all sorts of information about them. So, it's really easy to get to information here. I find I'm using this constantly when I'm looking at movies on television or deciding whether to go to a current movie -- even looking for information on movies that haven't come out yet.
The music equivalent to that is allmusic.com, which has been around almost as long. And, you can lookup groups, artist names, song names, album names here, get all sorts of information about the band and dig in to get more information and song samples as well.
Now, if we're finding local stuff, I find it's often easier to go to the maps portion of the search engine, either Google, or Yahoo, or Bing, and use that for searches. So, for instance, if I search for the Apple store when I'm already showing Denver, I can quickly jump to the location that I want and get more information about that location as well, including, you can see here, the phone number, address, and I can jump right to that page.
Now, also, many websites, including MacMost, have a search function that will just search that site. So, if you know the information you want is at the site, you can very easily it here. So, for instance, if you type garageband in the search field there, I get a list that shows me all the different videos, and also form entries -- anything at MacMost that has to do with GarageBand.
Now, you can also use a search engine to bypass the entire web and go right to a website. So, it's the same thing I showed you before, but you can do it for any website you want. So, I can do discussions.apple.com. If I do site: with no with no space and discussions.apple.com and then I type my search term, it will only give me results that are at that domain. So, for instance, I've just found a way to search the discussion forums at Apple without getting junk from the rest of the Apple site if you use the search box at Apple.com.
Now, here's another tip. Say you want to find out something about what's going on right now, something that's too new to appear in the search engines. Like, for instance, the other day I saw smoke on the horizon and I wanted to see 'is there some sort of fire going on?' So, I went to Twitter, and I simply typed in Denver fire, and I got some search results. Now, of course, that was a few days ago, and you won't see it here. But, I came out with the fact that there was a controlled burn going on in a wilderness area nearby. My question was answered. But, it wouldn't have found that by looking under any of the news sites or looking at any search engine results. Twitter gave me the answer.
So, there's a few ideas about how you can find things on the web without using your basic web search. Hope you found this useful. Till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 540: Bypassing Search Engines”

    4/13/11 @ 7:19 pm

    You can also install the opera browser. And add shortkeys in your address bar to search directly on certain sites. It autofills the adressbar directly if you only type one word. If you use more words or just a space it searches google. W for Wikipedia, A for Ask.com E for eBay and a space with your search term are preprogrammed. But you can add several more

    Andrew Murr
    4/14/11 @ 9:43 am

    Hi Gary

    Just to let you know, I have finaly got iWork installed. With instructions on the phone from an Apple Care technician. He told me to move the original iWork application to Trash, Shut down my computer, and start up again, and then installed the DVD, and viola, I’m up and running.

    Stan Kast
    4/14/11 @ 2:36 pm

    Still cannot get the videos to play! They used to come up as black screen and opened on the arrow.Now they have flash and before I can click on it changes to HD No. hit this and a bandwith an arrow says loading but noting happens. Most upsetting as I have found these videos most useful in the past.

      4/14/11 @ 2:45 pm

      All you can try is to re-install Flash. You can also subscribe to the podcast and get the videos that way.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8/20/11 @ 5:09 am

    Wikipedia is very good. Example- There was a series on TV about a Pope years ago,and it was quite controversial shown on the BBC. I think the Catholic Church bought the the rights so it would not be shown again. I thought they called him Borgia,but Wiki came up with everything. The house of Borgia,and the popes name was Pope Callixtus lll. He was bringing in prostitutes through the back door. The details that Wiki came up with were amazing. IDB is good as well. Yes Gary you are bang on.

Comments Closed.