Google can do more than display lists of websites – Google will give you quick answers to many special searches. While Google isn’t quite as advanced as Wolfram Alpha, it has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.
We’ve also covered searching Google like a pro by learning the Google search operators – if you want to master Google, be sure to learn those.
You can use Google as a calculator – just type in a quick calculation and Google will provide an answer. Google now offers a clickable calculator tool when you search for a calculation, so you can use Google like you’d use a calculator application on your desktop or smartphone.
Google can also convert between a variety of units. Just type a search in the form X unit to unit. For example, 40 degrees f to c converts 40 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius.
As with the calculator, the unit conversion tool is clickable.
You can also combine unit conversations and math. For example, the search two miles plus 500 yards in kilometers will return a valid answer.
Google can also do currency conversions for you. You can do a search such as usd to cad to see the exchange rate between two currencies, or do a search such as 500 usd to cad to see how much a certain amount of currency is worth in another currency.
Your IP Address
You can determine your current public IP address by typing what is my ip into Google – or just search for my ip.
To see the weather in a specific location, search for weather location – for example, search for weather new york to see a weather forecast for New York. If you enter weather without a location, Google will show you the weather for your current area.
Sunrise and Sunset
You can also view the sunrise or sunset times for a location by typing sunrise location or sunset location. Like with the weather search, searching for sunrise or sunset without a location will show you the sunrise or sunset times for your current location.
View the current time for a location by typing time location – for example, searching for time paris will show you the current time in Paris, France. Like with the weather searches, searching for time without a location will show you the current time where you are.
If you want to track a package, you can enter a UPS, USPS, or Fedex tracking number directly in the Google search box. Google will link you to the appropriate package-tracking page.
To view the dictionary definition for a word, search for define word – Google will show you the definition of the word, along with a button you can click to hear the word pronounced aloud.
View the status of a flight by typing an airline name followed by a flight number.
Search for available flights by searching for flights from city to city. Google will show you a list of available flights along with their prices, durations, and airlines – you can enter your dates and locate flights right from the search page.
Want to see a movie in a theater? Search for movies followed by your postal code to view a list of movies playing near you.
You can view many types of data for different cities and countries, such as the population and unemployment rate, by searching for them. For example, searching for population location will show you the population of that location, whether it’s a city, state, or country.
View about a stock, including its price and a graph of its price history, by searching for any stock symbol on Google.
Do you know any other useful tricks that we didn’t mention? Leave a comment and share them!
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 09/23/12