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Are you one of those internet users who is addicted to Yahoo and will only use Google if you can’t find it on Yahoo? Well, I know a quite a few people like that but after showing them all that you can do with Google, they were very quick and eager to switch.

A lot of people complain about Google but you have to give them credit, their search functions are some of the best around right now. So, since there’s so much that you can do with Google Search, I decided to share a few shortcuts with you that I’m sure will come in handy.

Package Tracking

When tracking packages, most people head straight to the shipping site such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS to see details. But did you know that now you can enter tracking numbers right into the Google search box?

First you’ll need the tracking number of your order, which you can get from the actual site/company that you ordered from. Second you’ll need to know how it’s being shipped (via FedEx, UPS, or USPS). That’s it.

If your package is being shipped by FedEx, you would enter “fedex 121212121212” into the Google search box. If your package is being shipped by UPS, you would enter “ups 121212121212” into the Google search box. If your package is being shipped by USPS, you would enter “usps 121212121212” into the Google search box. Of course, in all three cases you would use your actual tracking number in place of “121212121212”.

Below I’ve entered the tracking number of a USPS order I want to track. If the tracking number is valid, you’ll see an image of a package show up with a link to view the tracking information for your order. Clicking on it will then take you to the site (in this case USPS) in order to see the full details.

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Google package tracking.

Flight Tracking

You can look up information on any flight by simply typing the airline name or code followed by a space and flight number into the Google search box.

Below I’ve entered the name of an airline and the flight number that I’d like information on. If the flight information you enter is valid, you’ll see an image of an airplane along with brief stats of the flight. You’re also given a link that you can click on to see more detailed information from the actual site the stats were taken from.

Google flight tracking.

Calculations & Conversions

Do you often find yourself reaching for a calculator to figure out simple calculations? I don’t know about you but I do not keep a calculator handy and I often go through at least 3 steps to open up the Windows calculator. Well there’s no need to do either when you have Google handy.

To use Google’s built-in calculator functions, you simply enter the calculations that you’d like solved right in the search box. You can even do more advanced math functions such as geometry and trigonometry. If you don’t remember what all the advanced math functions are don’t worry about it, there’s a very handy Google Quick Reference Cheat Sheet that you can use. This Cheat Sheet shows you all of the things that you can type into the Google Search Box in order to calculate basic or advanced math functions.

The Cheat Sheets also has a list of Units of Measures and Conversions that can be used to converts units and currency. In order to calculate conversions you would type in things like: three quarters of a cup in teaspoons; 130 lbs in kg; 65 mph in kph; 1500 in hex; 64 in binary; etc.

Weather

Finding out the weather in Google is pretty easy. You simply type the word “weather” followed by the city and state, zip code, or city and country. So, below I searched for the weather in Fort Riley, Kansas and Google gave me the current weather along with a forecast for the next 4 days.

Google weather lookup.

Time

If you have family or friends in other parts of the world, you can easily find out what time it is in their area. You simply type the word “time” followed by the name of the city or country and Google will show you the time, day, and time zone for that location. Personally, this really comes in handy for me since I have a husband that will be deployed soon and all of my family and friends are in 2 different time zones from myself.

Dictionary

This is definitely something that comes in handy for me a lot as well. You can see the definition for any word or phrase by simply typing “definition” followed by a space and then the actual word(s) that you wanted defined. If you want to see a list of definitions from various resources across the Web, type “define:” followed by a space and the word(s). As you can see below, you’re given multiple definitions along with the website from where they were taken from.

Google word definitions.

Movies

Google allows you to quickly find show times for movies playing in your area. You can do this by simply typing in the word “movies” or the film title followed by your zip code in the Google search box. You will then get a list of up to two theaters; if there are more than two theaters listed, you can click the “More theaters” link to see the rest. This is definitely a lot quicker and more convenient than calling the theater and listening to a 5 minute lineup – especially if the movie you want to see is at the end of the lineup.

UPC Codes

This is definitely one of the more unique Google Search shortcuts that I’ve seen. You can find information about any item by simply typing in the UPC Code of the item into the Google search box. If you don’t know, the UPC Code for an item appears at the bottom of the item’s bar code.

Below I’ve entered the UPC Code of a random item I found in my house. If the UPC Code you enter is valid, you’ll see an image of a bar code along with a link to view more information about the item.

Google UPC Code.

Phone Book & Residential Listings

If you need to look up a US residence phone number or address you can do that as well. Simply enter the person’s name along with a city, state, or zip code in the Google search box. If that person is listed in the phone book, you’ll see an image of a telephone along with their name, phone number and address. Google lists up to three matching results for you to see; to see more, simply click on the “Phone book results for” link. Google also gives you the option to see a residential map for that person.

So, as you can see, Google really makes a lot of useful functions easier and more convenient. Do you know of any other cool Google Search shortcuts? If so, feel free to share by posting them in the comments.

Charnita is a social media addict & Internet junkie. She blogs about internet & blog tools, website & blog promotion, web 2.0 & social media at her Social Web Tools blog.

  1. solicitor in bulgaria
    September 19, 2008 at 1:09 am

    I love Google. :]

    The UPC thing is crazy. Maybe useless, but crazy.

  2. Zrii
    September 3, 2008 at 3:43 am

    Those are great uses, some of them I didn't know...

    For the marketers out there, Google also has a GREAT tool for doing market research:
    http://www.google.com/insights/search/#

  3. Se7en
    September 3, 2008 at 12:20 am

    You can actually track packages by just entering the tracking number no need to enter the shipping company google does a good job figuring that out.

  4. Mocona
    September 2, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Is my comment moderated? maybe you should use a plugin that show it the user comment is moderated.. instead the page refresh and show nothing change...

    • Aibek
      September 3, 2008 at 5:10 am

      Thanks for the feedback, we are going to add this soon.

  5. Mocona
    September 2, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I just read that you can translate from google by typing translate friends to chinese and it will show you the translation... I've tried it in Real Google and it work, but it's not working with localized Indonesian google

  6. Mackenzie Morgan
    September 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    For the phonebook, just preface your search with "phonebook:" to go directly to it.

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