Google Search Tricks

October 13, 2010 at 2:00 am 5 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

Google is an amazing search engine. Most of us use it to find websites with information, but it can do so much more than show you websites with answers. There are hundreds of built in features that can give you the information directly, without having to go to another site.

Movies Times

Enter “movies” followed by your town/city/postal or zip code and you’ll see some movie times for a couple popular movies along with a link to get the full list of movie times for your area.

Track Packages

Just type in a FedEx, UPS or USPS tracking number and Google will give you a link to see the shipping details.

Track Flights

Enter the airline and flight number and search. No more clicks, the info will be right there.

Find the Best Price

Enter the model name or number of a product you’d like to buy. Then click the “shopping” link at the top and Google will show prices at online retailers. To ensure you get the lowest price, you can sort by price (including shipping). There will likely be some retailers that you’ve never heard of, so you can read retailer reviews and sort by their rating as well.

Define a Word

Lets say some fancy pants uses the word “noetic” and you don’t know what it means. You could go to your favorite dictionary site, or you could type “define:noetic” into Google search. It’ll give you a list of definitions from various sites.

Unit Conversion

Whether you need to convert cups to gallons or go between metric and imperial units, Google’s conversion engine can help.

Currency Conversion

Just type in the value and the currency to convert from and to, example: 100 Euros in Australian dollars

Time

You think you’re doing a nice thing, calling somebody far away to make sure they’re well and give them a familiar voice to talk to. Then they answer the phone as if you woke them up in the middle of the afternoon, but you forgot that’s 4am in Tokyo. You can easily avoid this by checking the local time before calling.

Weather

Should you pack shorts or pants for your weekend getaway? Get a 5 day forecast in seconds (and easily switch between F/C).

Stock Quotes

Just enter the stock symbol and search.

There are many more of these features and I’ll be sure to share more later.

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Search a Specific Site

Some websites do not have good search functions on them. Sometimes I’ll read something on a site and then I go back to find it later and the site search is horrible. Otherwise, you might use google as your homepage, so it could be easier to initiate the search from there.

For example, you may remember reading why some knives have serrated blades on BrokenSecrets.com. But, you want to read it again or send the link to someone who was interested in it. You can type in google, “serrated site:brokensecrets.com” and it will only show results from BrokenSecrets.com.

Using Google as a Time Machine

Because Google’s spiders are constantly crawling the web, storing pages of data so they can resolve accurate and timely information for your search requests. Google actually lets you view the last set of data that was captured.

This information is helpful is a website cannot be reached, but you still want information from it. It’s also useful if information has changed, moved or been removed, you can potentially look at a previous version of the information.

Entry filed under: Computers and Internet, ProTips. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elbyron  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    One of my favorite Google features is the site search. Just enter the word “site” followed by a colon and then the domain of the website you want to search (with no space after the colon). Then enter your search criteria. For example, to find user reviews or comparisons of digital cameras from experienced photographers, I might search:
    site:forums.dpreview.com canon sx30is panasonic dmc-fz100

    Or to search the whole site instead of just the forums, leave off the subdomain:
    site:dpreview.com canon sx30is review

    For other Canadians out there, a great way to find the “going price” on a used item is to search Kijiji for all cities at once:
    site:kijiji.ca canon sx10is
    and then use the “cached” link so that you can see the ad even if it was already removed! Ignore the results that begin with the name of a city – those aren’t the actual ads.

    Reply
    • 2. Elbyron  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      I should also mention that “site:” also works with the minus operator (in case you didn’t already know, preceding a word with the minus sign will exclude pages that contain that word). So if you’re searching and find that a lot of your results are coming from an unwanted site, you can just exclude it. Say you want to find the syntax for creating a database table but don’t want to see results from oracle.com, you would query like this:

      sql table syntax -site:oracle.com

      Reply
  • 3. Jim  |  October 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    The define function works better if you use a colon.
    ex. define:noetic
    Also, you used my city for the movie one lol

    Reply
    • 4. Chad Upton  |  October 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Ya, that’s a good point. I originally had the colon because that’s how I use it, but I removed it because google’s official documentation for this feature suggests using a space. I’ll change it back though, because the space is not the better option.

      Google’s documentation:
      http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html

      Reply
  • 5. Samantha Tew  |  February 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Try typing in “Barrel Roll” :-)

    Reply

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