We search a wide variety of stuff on the web. It could range from definitions, images to maps and sometimes, even the most widely used search engine in the world may not be able to answer all our queries.
No wait, or is there a problem with our search skills or knowledge? (You’ll know the answer after browsing through the list)
Google is more than just the search box that we type into. There are several simple techniques or tools that can significantly improve your Google search experience. Don’t be surprised if there is stuff that you don’t know. For instance, using Google as a calculator is something new to me. Catch the list below. Some of them might be common, but definitely worth the mention.
1. Google Goggles
Wonder what’s this picture is about? Snap and Google goggle it on your mobile phone. Google will do a picture identity search for you.
2. 3D Warehouse
You get nothing when you search for ‘3D Taj Maha’ on the search. But you get loads of options when you search it through Google’s 3D Warehouse.
3. Google public data
If you’re looking for data plotted against time, Google’s public data explorer can be of great help. It has a range of useful data from retail sales volume (below) to unemployment rates.
Control-F helps you search for keywords within a webpage. According to Dan Russell’s statistics, 90 percent of US users do not know how to use control-f (n = 2,219) and 50 percent teachers don’t know about this.
5. Google book search
If you’re searching for a book, go straight to Google Books. You will get more relevant results compared to the default search engine.
6. Define: _______
To many of us, Google acts like a dictionary. We normally end up in Wikipedia or dictionary.com to find out more on its explanation. But it could be a tiring process if we need information quickly. To make search precise, add “define:” at the front of your keywords. For example “define:recalcitrant”.
7. Google Maps
Google Map helps you to search for places and directions better. I usually rely on Google Map on my iPhone to find my way.
8. Google Images
Image search can be customized by size, type and color. The screenshot below surfaces search results that are ‘medium in size’, ‘face type’ and in ‘black and white’. To ensure you’re able to use the image for your own work, go to advance search to surface images that can be reused.
This shortcut allows you to search for keywords within a specific site. Say “Google site:penn-olson.com”
Filetype helps to fish out the specific file type you need: pdf, doc, txt, ppt etc. It is useful when you’re looking for a template to work on. For example, assuming someone who doesn’t know how to write a resume. Searching for resume filetype:doc would surface resumes in doc format. He or she can then easily follow the format.
11. + and –
Plus and minus signs instruct Google to include or omit keywords. For example homer –simpson means Google will search for homer, but not simpson. While +mango will surface exact words results with no synonyms or plurals.
12. “Set of Words”
This is helpful when searching for an exact phrase like “I have a dream”.
Google also acts as a calculator. ‘+’, ‘-‘, ‘*’, ‘/’ mean to add, substract, multiply and divide respectively. E.g 10+5. Other functions include ‘% of ()’, ‘cos()’, and convertion say 50 km to miles.
14. Other Info
Google also provides information such weather, movies and flight status. Singapore is pretty cloudy today and I guess it’s a good time to catch a movie.
Feel free to include your Google search tips via comments below.