There was a time where finding what you want online was more of an art than a science. There was a multitude of search engines, all of which indexed different websites. Finding what you were looking for was hard. These days, on a daily basis we are blown away by Google search. It’s amazing that we can type in “MuTechgysu Tchetlks” and it knows we really mean, “My Tech Guys Tech Talks” without fail.

Beyond that little trick, Google search is just plain great as all of us rarely have trouble finding what we are looking for. Therein lies the problem. As we start to trust Googles search results, ads are displayed among the websites we want. There is a fly doing the backstroke in our digital soup, and to the untrained eye, it looks just like the potatoes and leeks we want (I think writing this article before lunch was a mistake). Due to this, I wanted to give our readers a brief overview of how best to avoid these “fake” and often dangerous results masquerading as organic search results.

Let’s focus on a specific example. If you have just taken home a new HP printer and plugged it in to your computer, you may or may not know that it is correct to install a program or “driver” that tells your computer how to use the hardware. Now the printer should come with it’s own drivers on a disc in the box but what if your computer doesn’t have a DVD drive, you want the latest drivers or cannot find the DVD, you may search google.

The results

 

As you can see, searching generally for “HP drivers” provides two results. The second result is what we are looking for. The first result is an AD and will prompt you to download an unnecessary program, possibly even allowing unknown entities to connect to your computer and will result in a bill of $50 – $500 and usually, a printer which still does not work.

The key to avoiding these ads when using google search boil down to the following:

Avoiding the green Ad marking

Google does amazing things when deciding what information to show you. It takes into account your location and what people similar to you are searching for and generally displays the best results at the top. The Ads do not follow this pattern as they have paid to appear on the front page above other results. These results can often be hoaxes, Spam and usually not what you are looking for.

Read the website address

In the above example of the HP printer driver, the website address of the ad is:
download.driversupport.com/windows7/drivers

Whereas the correct website address listed is:
https:/support.hp.com/ca-en/drivers

It may not be immediately apparent which of better but the fact that it mentions HP before the .com or .ca is important. As well as any website that gets an https designation. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. HTTPS is often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms.

Be wary of costs and remote connections

As a general rule if you did not expect to pay but now you are being asked for money, be wary. Also, if someone is trying to remotely connect to your computer and you do not know them, then they are likely scammers. Really only trust people you know and My Tech Guys to remote in as remote access is like having the “keys to the city” of your computer. A very very common scam right now prompts the user to call a number, and then to allow remote access to the scammers. The people on the other end of the phone are very persuasive and usually extort payment of around $300 USD. We commonly get one person in the store a day who has fallen foul to this scam.

Like anything if you are unsure, ask for their number, say you will call them back and call us on 250-890-1065 to check in! 

Want more tech advice? Come to our upcoming Tech Talk series or call us now to book a 1-on-1 lesson to get you up to speed. Our doors are always open so come see us in Courtenay or Comox!

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