“1) Go to http://www.google.com/ and enter a search term and click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
2) Try your name, your local society, favorite genealogy terms, whatever you want. Do at least three, and as many as you want if you have time. Be creative! Have fun!
3) What did you learn from this exercise?
4) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, as a comment to this post, or as a Note or comment on Facebook.”
I started out by typing “missy corley” (w/o the quotes) and the result was my Twitter feed. Same result when I added quotes around the name. When I tried “melissa corley,” the result was a Melissa Corley on Facebook (but not me).
Typing in “bayside research services” brought me to my company homepage — yay!
Next, I typed in “corley genealogy,” which brought me to this page of a very distant relative (I’d found the page before when I first started researching my family.)
I then tried a similar search for “wild genealogy.” I really wondered if the term would be interpreted as an adjective and not a surname. To my surprise, it brought up a Cousin Connect page for the name. Good job, Google!
One interesting thing started happening as I continued different search terms. After the first few “Feeling Lucky” searches, I started hitting “Return” on my keypad rather than selecting “Feeling Lucky” on screen after I typed in each search term (force of habit). But Google must have figured out what I really meant to do, since it continued to bring up “Feeling Lucky” results rather than the traditional search results. Helpful, but kind of creepy at the same time.
I’m going to keep searching on some of the surnames in my family. As a librarian, we’re taught to shun Google for more trusted applications and search engines, but I don’t think it can or should be ignored completely, especially since it can help you connect with other real people searching on the same surnames. You just need to use a trained eye when reading the information they put on the web — is it sourced and credible? That’s the challenge with all things Google.