Thursday, April 30, 2009

A few Google tips and tricks

Why do I write this? Last week I saw a tweet by Howard Bowling ( @howard74 ) on Twitter asking “Anyone else ever use Google for a quickie spell check.” Wow, I thought it was only me that did that. I replied that I do it all the time and that Google is also a nice dictionary when you put define: before the word. This is just a few other Google features or tips and tricks that I use or know.

Spell checker
Not exactly sure how to spell that word? Type how you thinks it should be spelled in the search box and Google will ask “Did you mean: [correct spelling]?”

For those words that you don't know the meaning use “define: word” for example “define: ululations” ( without the “ ) You will get a list of different definitions for word. You can also use it without : in which case you will get usually get a longer list of results. Try both and see which one you like best.

Very useful in our online world. Enter “time city” in the search box en you will get the time in that city.

If you enter “time country” you will get the different timezones if the country have more than one.

Works basically the same as time. Enter “weather city” to see weather in that city.

You can even use Google as a calculator. Do basic calculations like +, -, *, / or combinations. You also do more advanced calculations for example “8*9+(sqrt 10)^5=”

You can do currency conversions for example “100 USD in ZAR”

You can also do unit conversions between many different units of measurement of height, weight, and volume etc. Just enter your conversion into the search box and Google will do the rest for example convert 15 inches in cm.

Stock Quotes
You can also use Google to see current market data for a given company or fund just type the ticker symbol into the search box.

Looking for a map of a city? Type in the name of the city ( or US zip code ) and "map" and Google will show a of that location. If you click on the map you will get a larger version in Google Maps.

Search within a specific website
You can specify that your search results must come from a specific website by using “site:website” for example searching for “steve hofmeyr” will give you pages about Steve Hofmeyr but only from

You can also use “site:” to search specific domains for example “archives” to get result about archives from the domains.

Double quotes
In the one example above I used double quotes around a set of words. If you want to search for a specific phrase put the phrase in double quotes for example “steve hofmeyr” By doing that Google will give you result with the exact words in that exact order.

Wild cards
You include * within a query and Google will try to use the star as a placeholder for any unknown terms. For example “edison invented *” will give you results about Edison's inventions. Test it for yourself by searching for “Google” and “Google *” The first one will give you result about Google and the second will give you result about Google's products .

One of the other things that I sometimes do is type a whole question in the search block for example “why is the sky blue?” Google usually ignore words like the, a, for, etc. but I found that by typing the whole question most of the time I get better results.

That's it for now. Do you have any other tips and tricks for using Google?


Post a Comment