Google News Exercise, Level I


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I. Introduction

You are probably already familiar with many of the Web searching functions offered by the Google search engine. (If you wish, you can consult the other Google tutorials listed above) You may not know, however, that Google offers searching not only of Web pages and similar documents, but also of resources such as news stories. Google News synthesizes a range of news sources in various regions and language communities throughout the world, and allows you to browse breaking news and top stories and search news archives.


II. Getting ready

  1. Open the browser of your choice (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) by double-clicking on the icon on the desktop, or from the Start menu.
  2. Type the address of the Google home page (www.google.ca) into the address bar of the browser, or click on the link. The Google Web home page appears.


III. Searching Google News

  1. Click on the News link that appears near the top left-hand corner of the screen when you pass your mouse over it.

  2. The main news page displays a range of top stories around the world and in a specific region, in fields such as Business, Sports, Sci/Tech, Health and Entertainment. It also gives links to stories about people in the news and links to searches in news archives, advanced news searches, and a blog search.

  3. From the drop-down menu at the top of the page, choose the Canada English option (if it is not already selected). Take a look at the top stories displayed.

  4. From the drop-down menu, now choose the Canada Français option. Look at the stories that are displayed.

  1. Are some of the same topics discussed in both the French and English media?
  2. How can this kind of resource be useful to help you build bilingual vocabulary or find comparable texts?
  3. Can you think of any limitations of this resource for the kinds of research above?
  1. From the drop-down menu, now choose the France option. Compare the results to those from the Canada Français and the Canada English pages.
    1. What similarities do you see in the topics discussed? What differences?
    2. How can looking at different regional news sources help you as a translator? As a language learner?
  2. Return to the Canada English page. Click on the Advanced News Search link and look at the advanced searching options available.
  3. Note that these searches will retrieve only news stories from the last 30 days. To search for older stories, click on the archive search link that appears near the middle of the screen.
  4. In the search field at the top of the page, enter oil spill and click the Search Archives button. Look at some of the results of your search.
    1. What are some of the sources consulted by Google news? What information is given about each story?
    2. Look at the options available in the left-hand sidebar for displaying stories.How can these options be useful for you in doing research?
  5. In the grey bar at the top of the page, next to News Articles, you will see a link labeled Timeline. (If you have clicked on some of the display options in the left-hand sidebar, you may need to click the browser’s Back button until it is displayed.) Click on the Timeline link.
    1. Look at the timeline that is displayed for the search for “oil spill”. What does this tell you about the use of this term in the news? How could this kind of display be useful for you as a translator?
    2. Click on any section of the timeline to see an enlarged image of that section. In what specific years did peaks appear in the use of this term?
    3. Click on a year in which a peak occurred to see some news stories from that year. Can you identify any important events or themes from that time? Do you think this kind of information could help you as a translator?
  6. Click on the Advanced archive search link at the top of the page, next to the Search Archives button.
    1. What kinds of advanced search features are available for news archive searches? How do these options compare to other Google advanced search features you have seen?     


IV. Questions for reflection

  • What are your first impressions of the functions and functioning of Google News?
  • Google is not the only search engine available. Some other search engines are: Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com), Ask (www.ask.com) and Alta Vista (www.altavista.com). Take a look at one or all of these other search engines. Do they offer the same kinds of resources or searches?
  • Can you think of some examples of cases in which searching news stories could help you solve translation problems? If so, what are they, and how do you think news stories can help?
  • How reliable do you think the information you found online is, compared to what you found in other resources? How can you try to ensure that you evaluate the reliability of information properly?


Tutorial developed by Cheryl McBride and Elizabeth Marshman  (2008)