FallenTree2What does this look like? A problem? An annoyance? An opportunity? When this tree came down in my backyard in high winds a few days ago I realized how much I depend on a critical online tool…the SEARCH function. Fortunately I was in the market to purchase my first chainsaw anyway so the downed tree was my first application. But search was a huge help as I studied  the various types of chainsaws and their features.

Next, I carefully studied a number of the many online tutorials for safe chainsaw operation and learned lots of new vocabulary (and techniques) like felling, bucking, and limbing. I have a skilled chainsaw-using neighbor so I had the double benefit of learning online before I marched out to the backyard with saw in hand to learn even more from him.

But, I still don’t get why search is so overlooked. And I don’t mean the searching that people do when they are playing Trivial Pursuit, trying to remember an Academy Award winning movie of 1978, the Vice President of Ecuador, or a cash crop of North Dakota. (Actually, using search to find these answers is pretty interesting too!)

What about searches when you really need to find out how to fix your refrigerator? Or your dog has eaten something she shouldn’t have and it is after hours and you don’t want to call the emergency vet? Or you wonder about the compatibility of two different kinds of plants in a small space?

Here are several ways I use search to find information quickly and easily. Nothing fancy about any of these, but they are useful. Use the Google Search Box to (1)  Find current flight status by simply typing in the airline and flight number; (2) Check on driving distance by writing in the two locations, like “Detroit to Chicago”; (3) When baking and you need some conversion help just type in “one cup = ___ ounces”; and (4) Calculate by writing in a math problem like “32 x 46 =”.

There are many other search tools beyond Google. We’ll talk about some specialized search tools in another post but for now I recommend the Google Power Searching class that I took a while ago. Amazing and very, very useful!

One more story about the usefulness of SEARCH. Recently, a friend just home from knee replacement surgery and her husband was having difficulty helping her put on compression stockings. A simple search found written descriptions but better yet, a host of YouTube videos where the proper technique was demonstrated. Problem solved!

When you have a question to answer, want to know how something is done, or just plain curious, fire up your device and get it done.