Google Explore

Friday, December 16th 2016

If you remember, a few months ago Google Docs had a wonderful feature called "Research". It was a way to search the web, pull websites in, and cite sources from directly inside of Google Docs. This little known feature was tucked away under the Tools tab and was very useful. When I was teaching a session on advanced features within Google Docs, I was planning on touch on this very tool. I made sure that I left myself sometime to go over this very powerful tool. As I clicked on the Tools tab and analysed the drop down I was questioning myself. Did I forget where this tool was located? No, it must be under a different tab, I told myself. My class was patiently waiting to see this tool in action. I insured my class that it was there and that we were going to find it. I continued to search until I realized that it wasn't there. I did a quick Google Search and found that the tool had been removed. I promised my class that I was not crazy…


I know that Google had a reason for removing the tool but I didn’t find any research about what was happening. Sure, you can download add ons and figure out a different way to search within Google but the “already built in” Research function was pretty nice. Well, it has only been a few months and now we have a new feature to replace the old one. It is called Explore and it is located in the bottom right hand corner of Google Docs and other applications. We will focus on the Google Docs version of the tool but the functions are very different across all the other applications. Slides will allow you to use Explore for design and other features, including the search features. Sheets will allow you to access help for different functions as well as search.

As you can see from the screenshot, you can search for many things from the web. Not only can you search the web like you would in a regular Google Search, insert pictures, and search your personal Google Drive, but now you can cite sources right from the side bar. All you have to do is open the Explore button and search the Web, Images, or Drive. All it takes is one click from the right panel to add a footnote to your Doc. This is a wonderful feature for students writing papers in class or for a teacher looking to set a good example with citing sources in lesson plans or on papers.


Be sure to select the proper citation format by selecting the 3 dots in the right corner of the results tab. Here you can select the option you would like. To cite, simply select the quotation mark button and it will automatically put a footnote in as well as a subscript wherever your cursor is.


For more information on this top please feel free to contact JC at NEOnet or do a Google Search.