Google It. Every Time.

Have you ever needed to verify something and turned to the Internet? Did you turn to Google? I bet you did! Google has become a behemoth of a resource for all of us, from citizens to journalists and even government officials. We all Google all the time.

Simply put: Google has singlehandedly transformed the way we collect and verify information.

Google has figured out how to utilize its wealth of tools to verify and provide information that can best illustrate the world around us. We use Google’s search engine to look for universal results yielding all kind of data.

Whether looking to verify a business or person, you might not realize that by searching for that name you are utilizing features of Google+. As Neil Walker says in this article, when someone verifies their information on the Google+ platform “the result is potential social interaction with your audience on a local scale as well as the side benefit of potentially appearing in the local listings within the Universal search results as well as on maps and even the carousel.

Google Earth is one of my favorite tools to use every day. I just love being able to see what the world around me looks like and the distance in between places. However, Google Earth is especially useful for journalists because it allows them to verify whether or not images and videos are in fact from a particular place and event. The way that this is done is through visiting the area on Google Earth and looking for topographical elements such as buildings (especially landmarks), signs, structures, and geographic elements like mountains or rivers. Here is a video tutorial on using Google Earth like a pro, check it out!

italianquakeAn example of using Google Earth for photo verification purposes can be found in one of my previous blog posts on an Italian earthquake. Here, there are before and after images of the town of Amatrice.

Step 1: Locate Amatrice Italy

Step 2: Locate area of clock tower

Step 3: Identify architectural elements

Step 4: Compare images

If you look at the images like this one above, you can see that the local landmarks such as the clock tower are no longer standing but that the elements surrounding where it should have been still match.

Photo verified.

Thanks again, Google!