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Like many of you, I use the Google search engine to find information on the web. It’s quite amazing to me how easy Google makes it to look through millions of pages of online information and then direct me to pages that likely have the information I’m looking for. I take the process for granted. I also realize that I am only using a small fraction of the capability available to me through Google search.
I’m always looking for shortcuts and hidden tips and tricks that will help do my research quicker and easier. Listed below are some additional Google search capabilities that I include as a reminder or as a new way to accelerate your search for just the information you need. I hope you find some of these useful.
1. Perform Quick Calculations
While I often pull out my phone and use the included calculator, if I’m standing at my desk, it is usually quicker to use Google’s calculator function. You can type an equation into the browser address bar, and Google will immediately show the result in the search suggestions.
You can also access calculators directly in Google’s search results. Search for “calculator,” “tip calculator,” or “mortgage calculator” to get the calculator you need to appear at the top of the search results. Google also has available advanced calculators that can graph functions such as sin and cos — or solve geometry problems such as the area of circle with radius of 6.
This certainly would have made my mathematical economics class easier in college.
2. Perform Quick Currency Conversions
Going on a trip or need to convert currency? You can do that in both the search window and search results. To perform the calculation in the search window, use this formula: [value of first unit] to [second unit].
You can also type “currency converter” to access the converter in the search results window that lists dozens of convertible currencies. You can even use the tool to convert a few cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Assuming you know what those are.
3. See What Time It Is Anywhere in the World
This can be especially useful for setting up calls with overseas outsourcing firms. You can search for “time in [city]” to see what time it is in another city right now, or you can search for [city] to [city] time to know the time difference between where you live and somewhere else.
4. Get Customer Support Information
Have you been ever been frustrated trying to find a customer support number for a company? You can search for a company’s name plus customer service to get the company’s customer service phone number.
5. Get Word Definitions and Etymologies
I use this search often for words I don’t know, or words I’m unsure of the proper spelling. If you add “define” before a word or phrase, you will get a definition of it. If you want to dig a bit further, you can add “etymology” before a word to see its origins.
6. Get an Update on a Flight Status
Want to see if a flight is on time? Find the status of a flight by searching for the flight number. Bonus: If anyone’s emailed you about the flight, it’ll populate with that information too.
7. Filter Search Results by Type of Information
At the top of every Google search results page, you’ll find tabs to refine your search by category: All, Images, Videos, News, Books and, under More, Maps, Shopping, Flights, and Finance.
8. Narrow Down Search Results by Publish Date
Just below the search bar on the default Google Search results page, you’ll see a tab titled Tools. If you click the Tools tab, the navigation bar will expand to display two additional dropdown features: Any time and All results. Using the Any time tab, you can filter results by when the content was published or updated. I use this often when I am looking for more recent material. Several options are available including Past Year, Past Month, and Past Week.
UPDATE: A few people are having a hard time finding this filer. Above is a screenshot of my Google screen. I hope this helps.
9. Only Show Results from a Specific Website
A common search tool is to use the search operator “site:” When used with a specific website, Google will only show you the results from that website. To use the site: search operator, type site:[website address], but don’t include http://, https://, or www in the website address.
You can also add search terms after the website address to look for specific information on that website.
10. Use Very Long Search Queries
Most people understand how to modify their search terms to help find the best information. If you are looking for very specific information, you might try to be very long-winded in your search.
Often, we use shorthand when we search on Google or type a few words explaining what we’re looking for. And Google is good at interpreting what you need in most cases. But when you’re looking for something very specific that’s probably not searched for very often, one of the best ways to find what you’re looking for is to be long-winded when searching. When you’re searching for something really specific, the more information you give Google, the more likely Google will be to find results that contain the information you’re looking for.
As I said, I hope that a few of these search tips will be new and help you more quickly find the best information.
What other Google search tips have you found useful?