Use Google

Google may be synonymous with searching the Internet, but the services they offer are far broader than simple searching. From email to document creation, calendars to music, Google products can be used for almost every aspect of life online. Follow this guide to not only get the most relevant search results, but also get the most use out of all of the products Google offers.


Sending and Receiving Mail with Gmail

  1. Log in with your Google account. You can access the Gmail homepage from the menu bar at the top of the Google search engine. You will need to sign in with your Google account in order to access your Gmail inbox.
  2. Browse your emails. Your inbox is automatically sorted into tabs. The default tabs are Primary, Social, and Promotions. You can add Updates and Forums tabs to further sort your email.
    • Primary are your personal emails between people.
    • Social are emails from social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter.
    • Promotions are emails that you receive from marketing that you have signed up for.
  3. View email conversations. Any replies to an email are grouped together into a single conversation. The most recent reply will be shown first, and previous emails in the conversation can be expanded with the Expand icon.
  4. Archive old messages. You can send older messages to the Archive to store them but keep them from cluttering up your inbox. Archived mail can be found in the All Mail label in the left menu.
    • If someone replies to an archived mail, the conversation will be moved back to your inbox.
  5. Delete email you don’t need. Although Google provides a lot of free storage, you may want to delete messages to free up some space. Select the messages that you want to delete and click the Trash Can item. These emails will be permanently deleted after 30 days.
  6. Star important emails. You can add a Star to emails that you want to remember for later. This will mark the email with a Star icon, and you can use the left menu to browse only your Starred emails. Use this to mark emails that you need to replay to later, or emails that you don’t want to have to dig for.
    • You can add more icons by clicking the Gear menu and selecting Settings. In the General tab, look for the Stars section. Drag icons to In Use that you want to add. Once they’ve been added, click the Star icon multiple times on an email to scroll through the available icons.
  7. Use labels to sort your mail. In the Settings menu, click the Labels tab. Here you can browse through the preexisting labels, which will be listed in the left menu of Gmail. Click the “Create new label” button to create a new label.
    • Click the Filters button to create a rule that will sort incoming mail into the labels you’ve created. Click the “Create a new filter” link to set up a new rule.
      • You can have a filter set by who the email is from, who it is to, words in the subject, and words in the body. Once you have designated your filter, click “Create filter with this search”.
    • Apply a rule to the filter. Once you have set the filter, check the “Apply the label:” box and select the label that you want. If you want it to go straight into the label and not appear in your inbox, check the “Skip Inbox” box.
  8. Compose an email. To write an email, click the red Compose button at the top of the left menu. A New Message window will open. Enter the address into the “To” field. If you have the person saved as a contact, you can enter their name and select them from the dropdown menu that appears.
    • “Cc” will send a copy to another recipient. “Bcc” will send a copy to another recipient without any of the other recipients knowing.
    • If you have multiple accounts linked to your Gmail account, you can choose which one you want to send the message from by clicking the arrow next to your address in the “From” field.
    • You can change the formatting of your text by clicking on the “A” button next to the send button. This will open a small menu that allows you to change the font, size, color, as well as create lists and indents.
    • You can attach a file to the email by clicking the paperclip icon. This will open a window that will allow you to browse your computer for a file to attach. There is a 25MB file size limit for attached files.
    • You can send money using Google Wallet by hovering over the + sign and clicking the $ icon. Google will ask you to verify your identity if you have not already.
    • You can insert images and Google Drive documents into your email by hovering over the + sign as well.

Creating and Sharing Files with Google Drive

  1. Open Google Drive. You can access it from the top menu bar above Google sites. Google Drive replaced Google Docs, but shares much of the same functionality. You can create, edit, and share documents, as well as store files from your computer to be accessed anywhere.
    • You will need to log in with your Google account. Google Drive is free with all Google accounts.
  2. Create a new document. Click the red Create button to start a new document. A list will open, allowing you to choose from a word processing document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or a drawing.
    • You can add more functionality by clicking the “Connect more apps” button at the bottom of the list. You can browse other add-ons from Google as well as third-party developers.
  3. Edit your new document. Once you’ve chosen your format, you can start editing your document. Click on the title at the top to change it. Use the toolbar to make formatting adjustments.
    • The toolbar options will change depending on the type of file that you are creating.
    • All changes are saved automatically as you work.
  4. Download the document. If you want to download your document to your computer, click File and then select “Download as”. You will be given an option of file formats. Pick the one that matches the programs that you use.
  5. Share the document. You can share the document with other Google Drive users by clicking File and the selecting “Share…” This will open the Sharing Settings. Here you can add people to the list of collaborators, as well as link to the document using popular services such as Facebook and Twitter.
  6. Upload files from your computer. You can upload files that you want to backup from your computer to Google Drive. Click the red Upload button next to the Create button. You can choose to upload individual files or entire folders.
    • Any file type can be uploaded to Google Drive. Certain files, such as Word documents, can be converted into Google documents by clicking the Settings menu in the Upload window. Your uploaded documents will be added to your Google Drive list.
    • You can download the Google Drive program for your computer that will allow you to create a shared folder that syncs with Drive automatically. Click the “Connect Drive to your desktop” button to download it.
    • All free Google Drive accounts come with 15 GB of storage (shared across all of your Google services). If you run out of space, delete unwanted files and emails, or purchase more storage from Google for a monthly fee.
  7. Create folders to sort your files. Click the Add Folder button at the top of Google Drive to create a custom folder. You can then drag and drop files into the folder, cleaning up your Drive interface.

Searching the Web with Google

  1. Go to the Google homepage and type your search. Formatting your search in different ways will affect the results that you receive. Try to keep your search terms simple to get the best results. Search using the important words, and leave out the question. The “I'm Feeling Lucky” button will take you directly to the first search result.
    • Try to use words that the websites that you are looking for will use. For example, if your tooth is hurting, search “toothache” as opposed to “my tooth hurts”. This will result in more informative websites.
    • If you need a precise result for your search, put quotations mark around it. This will make Google only search for the exact word or phrase in the quotes.
      • For example, if you entered chocolate cookies, without quotes, Google would find any pages containing the word “chocolate” or the word “cookies” (but pages with both words do end up higher in the results). If you put “chocolate cookies” in the search it would search only for pages that contain that exact phrase.
    • Exclude a word from a search by using a dash. Put the dash in front of the word that you want to exclude. This will allow you to remove unwanted search result.
    • Enter equations to see the calculated result as the first entry. This will open the calculator tool in Google, which you can use to enter new equations.
    • Enter units to be converted to have Google tell you the conversion. For example, enter 1 cup = ounces and the conversion will be displayed before website search results. You can then use the pull-down menus to change units.
    • Most punctuation is ignored during a Google search.
  2. Sort your search results. Once you’ve entered your search, you can narrow down the results by clicking on the tabs at the top of the results list.
    • Web shows websites. This is the default tab.
    • Images shows a list of images that correspond to your search. If your search result matches a lot of images, the most popular ones will be displayed as a search result in the Web tab.
    • Maps shows your search result on a map. Usually when you enter a location into the search, a map will appear in the Web tab.
    • The shopping tab will show products available in your area or online that relate to your search.
    • Blogs will show any blog posts that relate to your search.
    • You can click the More tab to search through other Google services, such as the Play Store, Recipes, and more.
  3. Refine your search. You can add specific parameters to your search by opening the Advanced Search tool. You can open this by scrolling to the bottom of the search results and clicking the Advanced Search link.
    • In the “Find pages with…” section, you can specify exactly how you want Google to search for your terms. These can be achieved through the regular search box as well, and the instructions are listed beside each entry.
    • In the “Then narrow your results by…” section, you can add filters that will hide results that aren’t relevant to you. You can set the desired language, region, update date, specific site, and more. For example, you could search for only French YouTube videos uploaded this year.
  4. Sign in to your Google account. Click the red Sign In button in the top-right corner to sign in with your Google account. This will help tailor searches to you as well as allow you to save your searching preferences. If you see your name and picture in the top-right corner, you are successfully signed in.
    • Your Google account is the same across all Google products, including Gmail, Drive, Maps, YouTube, and more.
  5. Set your search settings. After performing a search, click the Gear icon in the top-right corner of the results page. Select Search Settings from the menu.
    • You can choose to filter explicit results, show instant searches while typing, adjust the number of search results displayed per page, and more.
    • These settings will not be saved when you exit Google unless you are signed in with your Google account.

Getting Around with Google Maps

  1. Open Google Maps. Maps can be accessed from the top menu bar on any Google site. By default, Maps should open showing your current location, or a close approximation.
  2. Enter a map search. You can search for businesses, landmarks, cities, addresses, map coordinates, and more in the map search. Google will attempt to provide the most relevant results, which will be listed in the left frame.
  3. Navigate the map. Use your mouse and keyboard to move around the map.
    • You can zoom in and out of the map by dragging the slider, or by scrolling your mouse wheel up and down. The + and – keys on the keyboard will also some the map.
    • Click and drag the map to move it around, or use the arrow keys to scroll. You can also click the four-directional button in the top corner to scroll around the map.
  4. Find out what’s nearby. Right-click on a location of the map and select “What’s Here” from the menu. This will place a pin on the map, and nearby listed businesses and locations will appear in the left frame.
    • Click the “Search nearby” link to search for other locations near the pin that you placed.
  5. Get directions. Click on any location in the map to pull up its information. From the Information window, click on the Directions link to open the navigation interface. In the left menu, you can designate your starting point, and choose your method of transportation. When you click “Get directions” turn by turn directions will be displayed, and the route will appear on the main map.
    • Estimated travel time, adjusted for current traffic, will be displayed next to each suggested route.
    • You can adjust your route by clicking and dragging on any part of it. The route will be recalculated to go as close to the new point as possible.
    • Alternatively, you can right-click anywhere on the map and select “Directions to here” to open the navigation interface.

Getting the Most from Google Services

  1. Get Google Play Music. Music allows you to upload music files from your computer as well as browse Google’s extensive digital music library.
  2. Create your Google+ profile. Google+ is Google’s social networking service. Use it to create an online presence, follow trends and people, and connect with your friends.
  3. Sort out your life with Google Calendar. Use the Calendar to sync all of your important dates across Google’s services. You can share your calendars and events with others, and create multiple calendars for different aspects of your life.
  4. Use Google Scholar. Google Scholar will provide search results from peer-reviewed journals and articles. You can use these for research papers and presentations.
  5. Join some Google Groups. Google Groups are collections of people that share similar interests. Use the Groups to post and read information relevant to you.
  6. Personalize Google News. Google News allows you to create a personalized news feed with the latest stories from every major and minor news source.

Google Tips and Tricks

Doc:Google Tips and Tricks


  • With Google, you can also search for images and audio/video results using the same box. Instead of using the Google search, click on the appropriate tab for the type of media you want.
  • If you have McAfee Site Advisor installed on your computer, there will either be a green check mark, a yellow "!", or a red X next to the search result. Make sure you click on a search result that has a green check mark on it.
  • Try to use the simplest form of the word possible. For example, instead of ships, use ship. Instead of John's bar, use John bar.
  • Google Scholar gives more accurate, research-based information.
  • For faster Google searching, install the Google search toolbar, which is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It is found here.
  • Clicking on Advanced Search will sometimes return better results.


  • For search controls with pictures, click on the tab on the top of the Images page that reads SafeSearch.
  • Make sure to look over the information before clicking on any search result. Use your best judgment when you're using certain sources.

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