Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Google Tips and Tricks

Google is by far the easiest to use search engine, in my opinion. They have been relentlessly rolling out new features and I'd like to share some of them with my readers. Here are some useful tricks:

  • Use a wildcard - When searching Google, the asterisk symbol (*) can be used as a wildcard. For example, if you want to search for cancer medical, medicine, etc. You can type cancer med* and Google will return all entries -- cancer medicine, cancer medical treatments, cancer medicine centers, etc.
  • Find a movie - I love this one! I wanted to see what time a specific movie was playing at a nearby town. I went to Google and typed movie: Chicken Little Albany,GA. Here's Google's answer for me. It includes movie reviews, the play time, the rating, the movie theater, directions to the movie theater and the movie times. In the taskbar shows the words: Movie Showtimes and I can show the times tomorrow, Friday, Saturday -- up to several days out! Wow

    33 reviews
    Chicken Little
    1hr 21min - Rated G - Animation/Family - IMDb

    Carmike Wynnsong 16 - Albany
    2823 Nottingham Way, Albany, GA - Map
  • Restaurant menu finder - NOw, I'm really in the mood for ribs after the movie. I can click on the Map button shown beside the movie theater and it takes me to Google Local. NOw I have a map with the movie theater on it. I can click in front of the address in the search box and type rib restaurant near 2509 Nottingham Way, Albany GA (notice I just had to type rib restaurant near the address was already there. It found 5 restaurants near the movie theater and put them on the map for me. It also tells me the distance in miles from the theater and gives me the phone number and description. This is done through a very cool indexing of restaurant menus. This is great, particularly when you are traveling.
  • Search Number range - To search for a price range, you can use two dots (..). To search for an iPod between 100 and 300 you can Google iPod $100..300.
  • Google Calculator - Google has a built in calculator. This is much faster than opening up windows calculator (particularly if you've put a google box on your toolbar. You can do simple (10% of 5000, 10*70) or you can also do number conversions (10 miles in km).
  • Search a website - You can search websites that don't have search boxes. Say, I wanted to search my website -- Just type -- this works with most any website.
  • Search from your cellphone - This is cool but not for the faint of heart. You will text your query by typing in 46645 on your cellphone. (This stands for GOOGL). You can then type in the word. If I wanted to find Ribs in Albany I'd type in ribs.31779. OK, so my final text will look like this 46645 ribs.31779. I can also do 46645 weather.31779 for weather or phone numbers or addresses of businesses by saying 46645 Long Horn.31779. You will get text-message responses free of charge (depending on your text messaging plan) within seconds. Definitely cheaper than connect 411 services.
  • Track FedEx Shipments - Just type in the shipping number into Google. IT will offer you a tracking link. Click on it and you can find out a lot of information on your package! (This also works with UPC codes, patent numbers, other numbers )
  • Flight Information - When you google the names of two cities, Google will offer to search for flights. You can also indicate which service to search. This is a great, easy comparison tool.
  • Find the phone number - One of the most frustrating things to find is that toll free phone number for a business when you know you need technical support and you want to talk to a live person. My husband received a Sirius satellite radio for Christmas so if he needed tech support he can type in Sirius Customer Support, if that doesn't work (it didn't) you can type in Sirius Customer Support 800, (or try 888, 877, 866-- the other extensions. That last search returned the 800 number. No more searching!
  • Stock Quotes - This is the easiest. Type the ticker symbol into Google to get a plethora of information about your stock quote.
  • Define words - And if you don't know what a plethora is, just type define: plethora into Google and then you get definitions from several sources. My students love this. You can click on the definition and get synonyms and antonyms as well.
  • Find out the weather - Type weather: Camilla,GA to get the weather in my hometown. Try yours out!
  • Find books - You can find books! Google has indexed books and continues to add many daily. You can type in books about farming. The first entry is a listing of the first three books and a link to Books About Farming. Click there to see a complete listing.
  • For a complete listing go to Google Search Tips . Wow!

Google continues to be very cool and more than that -- useful and time saving. I believe we will be easily googling from our cell phones, portable devices and computers for years to come. I believe voice googling is just around the corner.

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