Beyond Simple Google: How to Improve Your Web Search and Avoid Fake Information


This day school is designed to benefit professional people who need reliable, authoritative, and up-to-date information, but are short of time and cannot afford to trail through thousands of often irrelevant or trivial results that characterise many present-day searches for material on the worldwide web.

The day is a revamped and updated version of one that has been run for several years, and has been particularly appreciated by medics, academics, librarians, local historians, and authors or researchers who need to check up on material for their work. The net result of attending is that participants locate better quality, and often out of the way, information on the web in a fraction of the time that was taken prior to the course.

You will learn of recent changes which will affect the representativeness and “neutrality” of your results on Google. You will also try your hand at simple techniques that allow you, if you wish, to escape the “filter bubble” into which Google puts some (but not all) of us. You will gain some insight into the 200-odd variables Google uses to decide which of the thousands or even millions of results Google finds for your search it will prioritise, and how likely it is that the nugget you are looking for will be in the first page …....or the hundredth page …...of results.

We will concentrate on ways to manage Google more effectively, including using the so-called “Advanced” option, which is in fact no more difficult than the “simple” Google that most of us use most of the time, but allows you to bypass results placed at the top by “sponsors” or because of the financial clout of the organisation behind the webpage. There are many options that Google does not publicise and which may be irrelevant when we’re simply looking for the nearest pizza-house, but which make all the difference when we’re researching something, especially if it’s a slightly “niche” subject.

Other Search Engines have stepped in to exploit the gaps which Google, with its broad-brush appeal, has left unfilled. DuckDuckGo has rapidly gained in market share because of its bullet-proof guarantee of your privacy. Exalead is the Search Engine of choice for the more discriminating searcher requiring greater rigour and logic in the search operation. Many of the new Similarity Engines were doing so well that Google has now stepped in to provide a rival service.

In short, we shall not only learn methods to gain considerably in the quality and speed of our results from Google, but we will also acquire experience with alternatives to Google which offer opportunities where Google’s undeniably popular approach does not offer the highest quality results for particular types of searches. As well as familiarising ourselves with state-of-the-art techniques, we shall assess known future developments.

“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.”

This day school will help you to see beforehand if a Google alley is likely to be blind.

Programme details


Google usually “improves” the terms you enter in the search-box – is this helpful?


How to escape the “filter bubble” into which Google has put you (but not your neighbour)

Search techniques that help you to retain control


Beyond Simple Google

Competitor search engines and their particular strengths


Meta-search engines that search the search engines

New and forthcoming developments in Google

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee (includes tea/coffee) £105.00
Baguette £6.10


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Sergei Gutnikov


Dr Sergei Gutnikov is a research associate at the Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, where he maintains the computer database for the OXVASC project and writes in-house software.

Sergei studied medicine at Vladivostok State Medical University (Russia), psychopharmacology in St. Petersburg and then physiological mechanisms of learning and memory at Oxford University, where he received his DPhil degree in 1995.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.