Your Tech and Digital Questions Answered

Remember, Neutral Bay Community Centre Seniors Club provides one-on-one computer skills lessons for its members. Visit our Digital Know-How page for more information if you're interested in these lessons.

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. What is the difference between a "browser" and a "search engine"?

A browser or web browser is a piece of software (on a tablet or phone software is called often called an "app") that is used to look at websites. These can be any websites such as the Sydney Morning Herald or the ABC If you know the address (URL) of a website you can type it into the address bar at the top of the browser and go straight to your site. The most commonly used browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

If you don't know the address of a site or if you are researching a topic, you will use a search engine to generate a list of web addresses that may contain the information you are seeking. You use a web browser to look at a search engine. This Wikipedia article describes how search engines work.

The most commonly used search engine is Google. There are many other search engines such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, Dogpile to name a few. Some like Wolfram Alpha have a specialised use.

2. What Search Engines are Available?

The National Library of Australia has an excellent list of search engines and directories. See their page Searching the Internet. This Websearch article lists search engines by type.

The most commonly accessed search engines are Google and Bing. Many Library catalogues such as the State Library of NSW are also available for searching and may be more relevant for the type of information you are seeking. Libraries offer access to specialised (such as business and law) databases as well as their own catalogues.

3. What is Social Media?

Social media refers to a range of websites and apps that allow sharing of information and media (photos, videos etc) with family, friends, acquaintances, community groups and total strangers. Some examples of social media are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. This Wikipedia article explains social media.

4. How do I find out about scams? Where can I report a scam?

The Australian government has set up a website that explains the scams currently running and enables you to report a scam. Go to Scamwatch. You can also get help from this site. You can report a cybercrime and learn more about cybercrime from ACORN the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

5. How do I create a photo album in my photos app on my iPad?

We often want to store our photos in albums for ease of access on our iPads. The process of creating albums and moving photos is simple. This page from WikiHow shows you how (ignore the ads!).

6. What is "The Cloud"?

The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a Web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies offer dedicated mobile apps.

Some examples of cloud services include Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Netflix, Yahoo Mail, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.

The advantage of the cloud is that you can access your information on any device with an Internet connection. It’s what allows you to make edits to a file in Google Docs on your home computer, and then pick up where you left off when you get to the office. Colleagues can even collaborate on the same document.

But the cloud has its downfalls, too. Without an Internet connection — or with a slow one — you’re basically locked out of accessing your data. Also, because your information lives online, there’s always the risk of it getting into the wrong hands. All cloud companies have security measures in place to protect your data from hackers, but they’re not foolproof, so it’s always a good idea to be judicious about what you want stored in the cloud versus locally on your computer.

7. How do I use Google Drive?

Google Drive is a free cloud space available from Google. It is one of the many applications available to you when you have a Google gmail account. Google Drive offers you 15GB of free space to store and share files between devices, and with your family and friends. You can upload and download files from your tablet, phone, laptop or desktop to your Google drive. It is particularly useful for storing and sharing photos when you travel.

Similar products are Apple’s iCloud ( and Microsoft’s OneDrive (

These articles explain how to install and use Google Drive on your devices:

7. How to use Google Gmail?

Gmail is a free email service offered by Google. Since it is web based you can access your gmail account from any device with a web browser or gmail app.It is possible to have more than one gmail account. Separate gmail accounts can be used as logins to subscription services that you may wish to keep separate from your main email account (ie that provided by your internet service provider.)

This Wikipedia article describes Gmail in depth:

This support article from Google provides information on how to setup and use gmail: