How-To Geek

14 Special Google Searches That Show Instant Answers

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.


Unit Conversions

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.


Currency Conversions

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.


Package Tracking

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.


Dictionary Definitions

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.


Flight Tracking

View the status of a flight by typing an airline name followed by a flight number.


Flight Schedules

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.


Movie Schedules

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.


Stock Information

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

Comments (55)

  1. Allen

    Nifty :)

  2. Sam

    I knew that you could do quick calculations, but when I read that you could check the status of flights in DC, and the weather in Nevada, my faith in my favorite search engine grew a lot!

  3. JT

    Very cool. Some of these I knew, some are new to me. Thanks!

  4. BrianA

    Check out the Google power search course here
    Starts 24 Sept so hurry!

  5. Nadia

    Excellent/helpful information.Thank you.

  6. StevenTorrey

    I’m still angry at Wolfram. Enter Big Bang Theory and you get a stupid television show and nothing about the cosmological event… Gimme a break!

  7. wepst

    I knew about some of these like the calculator and weather. Good to know about the rest.

  8. Cameron Hudson

    It also calculates holidays. Entering “thanksgiving 2012 will return its weekday and date.

  9. Jimmie

    I teach Beginning Windows and Email and Internet courses… this is definitely going into my curriculum! Thanks !!

  10. Ken Mytt


    You teach classes! Jmmie, where are you? I need you!

  11. ken Myatt

    See, I can’t even spell my own last name. I got it this time with no prbolem. (Just kidding.)

  12. pn2bade

    Steven, just put in big bang.

  13. JJ

    You can search sports teams for scores and what teams they are going to play against!

  14. De v

    Its total crap!

  15. peter rice


  16. Douglas

    Looks useful, but if I type in, say, “currency conversions”, I get the usual list of providers and not the specific Google answer as you indicate you will get? What am I not doing? Is there some form of prefix to define the request?

  17. Steven Shaffer

    Thanks! The calculator one will save me ton of time alone searching through my start menu. The ip addy one is also nice.

  18. Jeff

    How could you embed some of these tools into a web page? I’d love to have that converter tool (temperature, mass, etc.) appear on my company’s intranet site. Is this possible, do you think?

  19. David G

    You forgot searching for someone’s “bacon number”.
    Type in “bacon number ” and a celebrity’s name.

  20. Gopal

    Google has indeed raised its own bar on search capability !

  21. Ann

    Douglas in order to get google to convert currency you need to type in the “from” and “to” currencies as in the example above.

  22. MIke

    Also, search for “<> developer”, for example: arma developer and it will return the name of the developer :P

  23. bobro

    @David G

    Have you ever made it giv you more than 2??

  24. nonosh

    Woohoo, My Uncle Rafael is in the movies list!

  25. Dark Reality

    Something interesting I saw on Reddit:

    Go on Bing and start typing “How to commit suicide”. Apparently Bing will start auto-correcting halfway through suicide with relevant information on how to kill yourself efficiently and painlessly. Google on the other hand will make you type it all the way out, and put a direct link to the national suicide prevention hotline at the top.

    Not sure if it’s true (I don’t want that in my history, for reasons) but I do know if you Google “what is my name” it will basically search for amnesia. I think that’s pretty neat. I mean, there are a lot of things like that that Google does that makes it above and beyond a basic search. Bing won four out of five on the blind test with me, but I like Google’s spirit (for want of a better word, perhaps) more, and it’s what I’ve been using for so long.

  26. mehul

    Hey thanks for such a useful information. This post has increase my knowledge. I am looking forward for another useful information like these..Thanks Again!!!!!

  27. ND

    Got a 3! Alfred Abel (Metropolis)

  28. Bo

    Love this list! Very useful, especially to use as a calculator, so I don’t need to go searching. also the flights to and from.

  29. Joseph

    16c to f is even shorter AND it works. How’s that for shorthand? GOOGLE I love you.

  30. Joseph

    Shorthand for currency conversion:
    USD to CAD
    usd to cad
    and any other conversion will work WITHOUT the word ‘from’

  31. Dennis O'Neil

    “Google didn’t build dat!”.

  32. Janet

    Google has always been my ONLY choice search engine, It has never failed me yet. Thanks Google.

  33. MoMo

    Control F on PC or Command F on Mac allows you to search long docs for a word you wish to find. Saves hunting through pages and pages of text,

  34. Dave

    Google is great. You just have to think logically sometimes. Other times it corrects me. An amazing engine.

  35. spike

    awesome list, thanks :)

  36. Darren

    Try this one for size …… deeeeeeep google …..find anything you ever wanted

    in google search box type or copy and paste

    ?intitle:index.of? mp3 janet jackson


  37. ofer

    For some reason it doesn’t display any of the above tables – no graphic calculator, flights table, stock graph, nothing, just plane search results, and with calculator it displays the result. Any idea anyone?

  38. juvy

    I tried the calculater, tried to convert currency and km to miles…….
    NONE of them worked… they all just brought me to “ask”….. not good :(

  39. sirius

    Really, StevenTorrey? That makes you angry? Are you kidding? Is everything in your life so full of sweetness and joy that something as inconsequential as that causes you such rage and despair? Have you ever heard of keeping things in perspective? I’m sure you deliberately searched for “Big Bang Theory” knowing, or at least expecting, that the TV series would be listed first, so perhaps you can lift that weight off your shoulders and rejoice in the fact that it met your expectations and proved you right. There now, feel better yet?

  40. Fe

    Nice!! Package tracking, Flight tracking, Calculators; I wish they also had an instant inspirational message to help me get up and resolve the problem with my system. No wonder Google are so profitable!!!

  41. loxionchild

    some of these don’t work in South Africa

  42. Skip

    Steve, Thanks for this great info!

  43. Casey

    “The answer to life, the universe, and everything”

    Hitchhiker’s guide reference. Brings up calculator.

  44. Phil

    whichever way I type it – usd to bps, or bps to usd – it tells me what a dollar is worth, not what a pound sterling is worth. Sure it’s cultural bias, but I can’t decide whether I’m flattered or insulted! [ie ‘the pound is the basic worth and doesn’t need to be translated’ – or – ‘who’s interested in what the pound is worth’]

  45. Mr. X

    very very usefull tips, awesome…..HTG

  46. Citrus Rain

    Paypal kept opening my tracking number for a package on the UPS website. Was not working.
    Eventually I pasted it into google. Turns out it was a USPS tracking number.

    Anyways, I think these are just basically the underlying tricks to using Google Now on android.

  47. Alejandro S.

    Google can also graph search for this

  48. Pradeep Bangalore

    Google can come up with instant distance & travel time between two places when you type names of city & its state. Ex: Memphis TN to Indianapolis IN.

  49. Mike

    Oh, wow, looks like you might have accidently missed one.

    Type in:

    the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything

  50. unbk

    Very useful :)

  51. Ade H

    Never knew any of that – thanks for posting, and for all the other cool info and tips on this great site!

  52. Artemis

    You can also graph functions, including f(x,y). For a fun demonstration:

  53. Deepak

    wow can you plz, mob. No.1234567890 Sand me I want talk to you.

  54. Connie

    love you people
    can i reply with a question? then i am gonna go try all that stuff on google sweet
    why does my hourglass stay on all the time? thgis is when playing farmville via chrome. can you tell me what plugins r needed while using chrome java 64 bit hey thanks, connie

  55. ron

    I cain’t finger it 0ut.

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