It’s safe to say that a serious amount of folks rely on Google.
Whether they’re involved in a heated debate, can’t remember the name of a movie or are simply trying to figure out where to get a bite to eat for dinner, most Internet-savvy individuals turn to Google for a little bit of help.
According to recent data, Google search dominates the market, with 67.5 percent of Internet users relying on the search engine to find the information they’re looking for. (Yahoo and Bing are next on the list, with 10.8 percent and 10.7 percent respectively.)
But there’s so much information on the Internet, though, that it can be challenging to find exactly what you’re looking for, particularly if your Google skills aren’t as strong as they could be.
There’s good news: Google search is an extremely powerful tool—perhaps even more powerful than you might think, thanks to the built-in shortcuts engineered into it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 tricks you can use on Google search to get precisely what you want out of the Internet—and quickly.
1. You can ask Google what time it is anywhere in the world.
Unless you’re a world traveler, figuring out what time it is on the other side of the globe can be tricky. So use Google to do it: Typing in “What time is it in France?” will give you the local time and date. Problem solved!
2. You can ask Google to convert between currencies.
Need to figure out how many U.S. dollars you need to pay your friend who spotted you ¥10,000? If you asked Google at the time of this writing (e.g. “how many US dollars is 10,000 yen”), that super genius search engine would tell you $83.52.
3. You can ask Google to search content within certain websites.
Since there are over 1 billion websites in the world, tracking down the precise information you’re looking for can be a bit tricky.
Google lets you narrow down your searches considerably by allowing you to direct your entire focus on a particular site if need be. For example, if you’re looking for an article that mentions Bill Murray on Knote, you can search like this: “site:knote.com Bill Murray”.
4. You can ask Google to figure out what you’re looking for via autocomplete.
Rather than using that dumb idiot human brain of yours to think about what precisely you’re searching for, you can use Google’s brain instead.
For example, if you know you were looking up some information on Donald Trump but weren’t exactly sure what, simply type his name into the search bar and see what pops up. Who knows? Google might very well remind you of what you were looking for.
5. You can ask Google to compare things you’re looking at.
Using operators like “better than”, “vs.” and “like”, for example, you can ask Google to help you track down the right services, products and information you’re looking for.
For example, maybe you’re sick and tired of Facebook. If so, head over to Google and search “social platforms better than Facebook” or some variation thereof. Chances are you’ll be inspired one way or another.
6. You can ask Google to look at archives.
Does your company block certain websites? Are you looking for a page that seems to have disappeared from the web altogether?
Here’s a Google trick: Begin your search with “cache:”, and then input the website’s name (e.g., “cache:knote.com”). You’ll see an archived version of the site, assuming Google tracks it.
7. You can ask Google to get all Boolean.
Unfamiliar with Boolean searches? If so, here’s a quick primer.
Essentially, you can modify your searches with words like AND, OR and NOT, and you can also use parentheses and quotation marks to narrow down even more directly on the topic you’re looking for. Here’s a quick example: (“productivity tools” AND “cloud”) NOT “Slack”
8. You can ask Google questions like it’s a human.
Thanks to a 2013 upgrade to Google’s algorithm (i.e., Hummingbird), you can now type questions into Google search as if you were talking to a human.
And now that search supports voice functionality, you can essentially have conversations with a robot. Ask Google what the capital of Egypt is, for example, and you’ll get this cheery response: “Cairo is the capitol of Egypt.”
You’ll probably want to avoid talking to your computer if you’re within earshot of anyone, though.
9. You can ask Google to track the status of a flight.
Whether you have a friend or family member trekking across the country to visit or you’re wondering whether your flight is on time, Google’s got you covered. By simply entering the name of a flight (e.g., “Delta 1109”), Google will tell you the status of the flight, how far along in the journey it is, corresponding terminal information and more.
10. You can ask Google to be silly and entertain you.
The Internet is a great tool in terms of finding information. But it also has a slew of entertainment purposes, too—and Google definitely understands that.
If you have some time to kill today—and your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder—run a quick Google image search for “Atari breakout.” But be warned: It’s pretty addicting.
Here are some other regular Google searches you might want to try out:
- “Do a barrel roll”
- “Google in 1998”
You may also want to head over to YouTube and search “do the Harlem shake.”
This list, of course, could go on and on. But we’ll stop there for now.
In your opinion, what tricks are missing? Chime in in the comments below.