Search engines on the World Wide Web are remotely accessible programs that let you do keyword searches for information on the Internet. There are several types of search engines and searches may cover titles of documents, URL’s, headers, or full text. Keep in mind that the results you get from one search engine may not match the results you get from another search engine. In fact, they are often different due to the way each search engine behaves. Therefore, it may actually be beneficial to use more than one search engine on a regular basis.
In this section, we briefly look at Google and Yahoo!. Web pages are often dynamic and can change at any time. As a result, you may find that if either site changes, your experience with JAWS may be different than what is described here.
When you first go to the Google web site there is a blinking cursor in the search edit box near the middle of the page. But you can also perform searches right from the address bar. To move to the address bar, just press ALT+D. Either way, as you begin typing, an autocomplete list may appear. You can press DOWN ARROW to move through the list and then ENTER to perform a search, or you can simply continue typing what you are searching for without using the list.
After you have typed in some text, press ENTER to activate the Search button. Results appear on the page below. We will discuss some techniques for finding the results on the page in a moment. But first, Google only returns web pages that contain all of the words in your query. If you find that you get too many “hits” or web pages that match your search, you can enter more words in your search query to narrow the choices.
Using good keywords gives you better results. Be as specific as you can. For example, a search for the keyword “musicians” will yield far more results than a search for the keywords “Elvis Presley.” You do not need to include “and” between terms, but the order in which you type your keywords will affect the search results. You can also search for a specific phrase by including words in quotation marks. Google searches are not case sensitive.
You can also use the following items within your keywords for Google searches:
- – (minus) sign. Causes Google to exclude a word from your search. For example, “JAWS” can refer to a screen reading software or a famous movie. You can exclude many of the movie-related hits by searching for “JAWS -movie.” (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign and no spaces between the minus sign and the word “movie.”) Searches for JAWS with different conditions yielded the following results:
- JAWS, about 1,690,000,000 results
- JAWS windows -movie, still yields about the same number of results, but you find much more information about JAWS screen reader and very little, if any, information about movies. There will most likely still be links to videos on YouTube or other sources.
- “JAWS screen reader” (in quotes), about 49,600 results
As you narrow your search and use better keywords, you get more relevant results. Putting a phrase into quotes tells Google to look for the exact words in that exact order.
Try typing different things such as names, phone numbers, and more to find people or things.
Try a search for Freedom Scientific. Use this link to go to the Google web site. On the results page, there are a couple of things you can do to get more information about the results of the search:
- The statistics of your search are typically placed between the search edit box and the search results. You can use the JAWS find command CTRL+F to look for the word “Results,” and then read that line. For example, when testing this, the search found, “About 203,000,000 results (0.80 seconds).” This can be useful if you need to narrow the search.
- Google uses a “main” region to guide you to the search results. You can press R to move from one region to another.
- The items found as a result of your search are placed on the page as both links and headings. You can press the navigation quick key H to move quickly among the headings that match your search. Since they are also links, you can press ENTER to activate them and move to those web pages of interest.
- Below each heading (and link) that match your search is a short synopsis of what that page is about. After pressing H to move to a heading (link), just press DOWN ARROW to read the text below it for more information.
- Remember, you can also press SHIFT+H to move backwards.
- There is also a good structure to the headings. The search results are typically listed after a heading level two. The matches found for the search are typically level three headings.