Friday, August 13, 2010

Handy Google Search Tips

Mostly I skimmed this article on Huffington Post from Catharine Smith and David Vines, but toward the end there were things I hadn't heard about before. Here's the full list in the article:

  • Weather: Typing weather and a zip code will show you the weather for that zip code.
  • Music: Searching an artist will allow you to listen to some of their songs.
  • Calculator: Put in simple math problems and Google will solve 'em. Use * for multiplication, / to divide, and + and - to, well... you know.
  • Convert Measurements: What's 5 litres in gallons (1.32086026), how far is 56 miles in kilometres (90.123264), that sort of thing.
  • Dictionary: Define works like a dictionary. (Like define: lagomorph)
  • Specific Site Search: You can get Google to only search a certain site by including after your search terms.
  • Directions: Not just driving! Also walking, public transportation, and biking.
  • Time: Time in places you aren't at. Just type time: city, country-province-state-whatever .
  • Area Codes: Type in any three-digit area code and Google will tell you where it's from.
  • Feeling Lucky: Go immediately to the first result of your search, skipping the result list. I consider this one vaguely dangerous. There are things you cannot unsee.
  • Convert Currency: Dollars to Euros! US dollars to Canadian dollars!
  • Sports Stats: Search new york mets and get the stats for the Mets.
  • Search with exclusions: Perhaps you want information on oil spills, but not the BP oil spill. Type oil spill -bp.
  • Numerical Ranges: Now we're getting into stuff I didn't know about. Use like: canadian prime ministers 1934..1956.
  • Document Types: PowerPoint presentations on whales? Search whales filetype:ppt. Neat!
  • Stocks: Type in the stock's name, like GOOG for Google or AAPL for Apple, get stock information.
  • Cached Pages: Google often has cached versions of pages stored when you look at your result list - older versions. Apparently helpful to get around employer-blocked sites and times when a site's current contents may not be available.
  • Addresses: Don't bother going to Google Maps, just type the address into your search bar.
  • Related Terms: A tilde (~). This shows you things related to the word you're searching, like ~scissors will call up results for the word scissors, but also the words clippers and shears.
  • Traffic Forecast: You must go to the live traffic page, where you can change the traffic from current to forecast, complete with day and time (like Monday 8AM).
  • Phrase Search: Put a phrase in double quotes and the results will be for the exact words in that order. Like looking for "upon the gears and upon the levers" will bring up the rest of that famous speech I couldn't remember last night. This is also helpful when you need to ID a song - I will try to remember a line or two from the song to look it up later. That works best by attaching the term lyrics to the "quoted search".
  • Tracking Packages: UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Just put in the tracking number.
  • Translation: allows you to translate cut and pasted text, upload documents, or put in a web page URL.
  • News Archives: There's a timeline option to narrow your news results.


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