As I was scanning the Google Search Blog today I came across something called A Google a Day. The user is given a question and using his or her own grasp of Google Search, the user races against the clock to find the answer and type it in as quickly as possible. Today’s example is below.
Having grown up in a house where my older brother and I raced to do everything, this was a welcome challenge. My brother and I would often demand our parents give us an obscure fact to find and then we would literally run to our respective computers to try and find the answer first. I was excited about A Google a Day, and yes, I OWNED today’s question.
It’s a strangely satisfying game and I’d recommend this if you feel like taking your Google Search skills for a spin. A Google a Day even explains the best way you should have found the answer. The questions range from easy to pretty tough and definitely point to the rising importance of search as a skill. With so much knowledge easily accessible it’s crucial to be able to navigate it quickly and effectively. The plane of digital literacy has been established and you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side.
Ok enough of the preaching. On to the old and simple ways that the Google Search bar can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Strange that more people don’t know about these Google search secrets…
10 Google Search Secrets You Should Already Know!
If you know what you’re looking for on a particular website but just can’t seem to find it, site searches are great. I generally use them to track down email addresses. Sometimes they’re hidden in counter-intuitive places so having a trick like site: up your sleeve can help you root them out.
ex: site:www.thedailymuse.com interview
For the above query, the search results are all articles from The Daily Muse–a fantastic resource of young businesswomen!–with just the articles pertaining to interviews. Nice!
This one’s pretty easy. Want to know the definition of a word? Just type define: with the word. Clever Google will understand and return a definition complete with a pronunciation guide. For example, define:brouhaha
word * word
This one is new to me, but it’s a good one! Sometimes you’re not exactly sure what the right keyword is, but you know at least some of them. Google Tips & Tricks uses “creative * writing” as an example which returns results for keyword phrases including “creative nonfiction writing,” “creative poetry writing,” “creative & practical writing,” etc.
This is a great search tool if there’s a very popular search term very close to the one you’d like to use that will likely skew the results away from what you’re looking for. Try this little comparison on your own, you’ll see that the first search is dominated by results for Hermione Granger, a more popular search than those looking for the Hermione from Greek mythology or any other Hermiones out there, and the second excludes those articles about the fictional literary character:
ex. hermione -granger
Hopefully this one goes without saying. By placing quotation marks around your search phrase (or phrases) you can find exact matches for them. While a search with no quotation marks will yield results that have your terms in any order, a search with the phrase in quotation marks will return sites that rank well for those words in that particular order.
You can either type in “weather” followed by a city or just weather followed by a zip code. Easy.
Another easy one. Rather than remember the name of the movie theater and track down the website, whip out your cell phone at the office, or–holding my breath–crack open a newspaper, just type “movies” and your zip code.
Just type in the airline and flight number to get information about the flight’s status.
+, -, *, /, % of
Don’t have a calculator? Embarrassed and need to figure out a basic function in a hurry? Just pop in your equation and Google will tell you the answer! On behalf of all Literature majors, thank you Google!
km to miles
I’ve definitely used this one a lot when I’m cooking (yes, Mom, I know what I do doesn’t really count as cooking) and it works with all units of measurement.
These have been around for ages, but they’re worth the refresher!
Post by Cricky Cicchetti