Are You SURE You Know How to Use Google?

google search tips 300   Are You SURE You Know How to Use Google?Most of you are probably thinking “you bet!” or “what’s there to KNOW?” right about now. I believe you. The truth is, if you know how to enter a query and hit enter, you know how to use Google. At least in its basic form. And if you search often, you’ve probably also encountered Google’s OneBox results once or twice before.

What are these OneBox results? While you may not have heard the name before, OneBox results have been around for years now, and have been helping you get focused and clearer results for your search queries. Have you ever searched for the local weather and got a small widget on top showing you what the weather is like today? That’s a great example of OneBox results. This is not to be confused with Knowledge Graph results, which appear to the right of the page. Knowledge Graph results were added less than a year ago.

The new and slick Knowledge Graph aside, there are still dozens of useful things you can find out from OneBox results. All you need to know is the right syntax to activate them, and you’re into a whole new world of Google results. This could take you all day to read if I try to mention them all, but here are some you definitely don’t want to miss. Looking for more useful tips on how to use Google? Check out our Google Search cheat sheet.

Entertainment

When it comes to movies, books, music, etc., Google is full of useful surprises. Want to explore the full discography or filmography of an artist? Look for [artist] movies or [artist] albums. This yields a visual display of all movies/albums, complete with covers, names and release dates. Click on any album/movie to read more about it in Knowledge Graph.

This works just as well with authors: search for [author] books. You can get the roster for any sports team in the same fashion by looking for [sports team] roster.

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You can also search for [artist] latest album to quickly find what the latest release was.

Found a movie you want to watch? Search for [name of movie] [zipcode] to find local show times (works in the US, Canada, and most of Europe, might also work in other regions). Can’t decide which movie to watch? movie [zipcode] will find local show times for all movies playing around you.

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Want to find when your favorite team is playing next? Searching for the team’s name will yield all upcoming and recent games, complete with scores (if applicable), rival teams, team logos, times and ticket links.

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Numbers

In the olden days, people calculated things in their heads, or using pen and paper. Later on, we started using calculators for everything. Today, you don’t even need to launch (or bring) your calculator for most things, just use Google. Google’s calculator can handle anything from simple calculations to more complex ones. All you have to do is search for the equation, and Google will present the result.

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Want to continue calculating with your result? Google’s calculator is completely usable, and you can use it to continue your calculations.

You can also use Google to draw graphs, from simple ones to 3D ones. Enter an equation in the search box and see what happens.

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But there’s more to numbers than math equations. In day-to-day life, we commonly use numbers as measurements. Google has you covered there too. How many milliliters are there in a cup? How many grams in an ounce? Google shows immediate results for all such queries. You can even play around with the dropdown menus to get further conversions.

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The same trick works with currency conversions. Just search for “23 usd in euro” (or anything similar) and get an immediate conversion, along with a full graph of currency-rates history.

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Travel

Flying somewhere? Google shows OneBox results for general flight searches as well as flight information for specific flights. Look for [airline] [flight number] to find out where this flight is at the moment, where it’s coming from and when and where it’s landing.

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If you search for “flights from [X] to [Y]” you’ll find a list of available flights with current prices. But what if you’ve decided to drive this time? How long is it going to take you?

Try searching for [starting point] to [destination] and see what happens. This trick doesn’t always work, and I only got it to work with US addresses, but you can play around and see what you get.

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Already there and looking for things to do? Searching for “things to do in [place]” will yield a visual guide to the most popular local attractions. Clicking on an attraction will show its specific Google search results.

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General Knowledge

There’s an endless amount of facts to be found on Google, and you may encounter hidden OneBox results you didn’t know existed just by entering your queries. But in case you’re curious, here are some interesting ones worth trying.

Looking for health information? Google provides instant information on some diseases and medicine. Type in the name to see what you get.

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Interested in gaining some general knowledge? Google offers instant results for questions like “how big is Paris?”, “who is the president of Micronesia?”, “how tall is the Empire State building?” and many others.

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You can also find such oddities as team mascots and dog-breed characteristics in this way.

Google also helps you in the language department, by providing both instant translations and instant dictionary definitions for English words. This doesn’t work for every word in the English language, naturally, but it usually works for words you might need a definition for.

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To get instant translations, search for translate [word] to [language]”. This works in all languages supported by Google Translate.

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Are You Sure NOW?

While I’m sure you knew how to use Google for searching before, these neat tricks sure make it easier and much more fun. The most exciting part about it, is that Google keeps adding more and more of these. When writing these post, I kept searching for random terms and queries to see if I can find some cool OneBox results.

Looking for yet more tips and tools to improve your search? Check out some more Google search tools you might not using so much.

Have you found a really useful one I missed? Is there one you use all the time that I didn’t mention? Share your favorite search tips in the comments.

Image credit: checklist image via Shutterstock

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50 Comments -

vineed gangadharan

Nice tips thanks for sharing :)

Nevzat Akkaya

Owww great tips for Google Search. I’m gonna bookmark this for reference. Many thanks.

Rubis Song

Wow! Yaara, you know what? I have just discovered that I was using Google as someone who is using a phone just for call when there is a ton of things you can do more! Isn’t that great that you could also do all these things on Google? I am particularly surprised about the Google’s calculator and the possibility we have to to draw graphs. I will take some time and go over all this, but at least I know some more I can do with Google. Thanks for this article. Thumbs up!

salim benhouhou

thank you Yaara i found that i don’t know how to use google . LOL

gpvprasad

books is not yet supported in India :(

Yaara Lancet

You can see it if you use google.com, though. It’s not supported in my local domain either, but not much is. I just use google.com for everything.

Alexander

I knew a few of them. But this is awesome :P I find it cool to know that google can do so much.

Scott Macmillan

It seems that there is always something new to learn of Google and its innovations.I have become very pleased with this site and always look forward to seeing these tips.

Yaara Lancet

Awesome! :)

Sahar Alotaibi

greet information.
thank you yaara

Elias Morales

Excelent, very helpfull. Thanks!

Alcide

The dictionary function can be forced on any word by typing “define “. I’ve been using it for a long while now and it’s great.

Yaara Lancet

Oh, cool! Thanks for the tip!

Nohl Lyons

You think you know somebody (Goggle) and still keep surprising you after all these years. :)

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Yes, I’m sure. I can find practically anything I want after being an *cough* avid downloader for quite a long time.

Dwight Stegall

All of Google’s Advanced Operators on one page http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html

Some of them have been hard-coded into Google Web Search forms here http://www.soople.com/

Yaara Lancet

Cool, thanks!

Dwight Stegall

Be careful with Google’s Advanced Operators. You can use more than one at a time, but some will cancel each other out.

Also do not leave a space after the filter. Leaving a space will give you different results if any at all.

Exanple:

Right way “site:yahoo.com”

Wrong way “site: yahoo.com”

The site: operator can be used 4 different ways..

You can use it to search a whole domain name like this. It searches every page that the GoogleBot has indexed.

site:website.com

You can use it to search all of the pages in a subdomain name like this.

site:subdomain.website.com

You can use it to search all of the files in a subdirectory like this.

site:website.com/directory

You can use it to search a single page like this.

site:website.com/directory/page.html

Yaara Lancet

Thanks Dwight!

Eric

Great article! You can also search for different filetypes by entering your search word followed by filetype:.pdf All the results that come back should be .pdf, or whatever filetype you’re looking for.

Dwight Stegall

This the right way filetype:pdf

This the wrong way filetype:.pdf

Eric

Dwight, you’re correct. Thanks for pointing that out. Yaara, it’s useful not only for images, but if you’re looking for a premade excel sheet, word document, and I’ve heard some people even use them for torrent files.

Marianne Martin

I am amazed at the interesting things that makeuseof finds to review! This is awesome and I will bookmark this! Thank you.

Journcy

…Okay, that’s awesome. I knew quite a few of these, but the graphing…
It’s just ridiculously excessive XD
But amazing! XD

Walter Gilbert

I don’t know Google and these tips are very good. Thank you.

Dave Newsom

Great tips. All this time I wasn’t using Google to it’s potential.

Curtis

What? No regular expressions or other such awesome trickery? Not even a mention of * to represent any number if characters or a ? to represent a single letter? There is so.much more you can do with that Google search bar!

Yaara Lancet

Those are good tips, but the article was more about extra things you can get from Google with regular searches, not about special search strings and such. That’s an idea for a different article.

Of course, there will always be things an article doesn’t cover. I could write a 5000-words long feature article just on Google options. :)

SaapeXD MoHods

Already knew most of the tricks! Didnt know the graph function! Thanks XD

Piet Deje

Wow! I didn’t know that we can do so many things with google. Thanks Yaara!

eRick

Great info.Thanks for sharing !

Mohit Agrawal

Wow these points are really going to help me to get the needful but still are more hidden under google

Ash Barr

There are a lot of things I wasn’t aware of, thanks for showing the article

Anthony

define:(some term) is another useful shortcut

Yaara Lancet

Yes, someone already mentioned that. It is very useful. Thanks!

Lynn Lock

Thanks for the tips

Ron Lister

Yeah, I still haven’t explored all google can do. Thanks for showing us a few more things, and I for one will now down load the Google tips and shortcuts. Thanks Yaara for a great article.

Shadow Akuma

I really didn’t know about the movie one. Will save time for now on in the long while. Thanks for the tips.

Prajjwal Rao

wow…new about the calculator part but never knew travel and flight details…thanks !!

harley bellwood

There’s a ton of stuff I didn’t know about, thank you.

Elizabeth

But Google knows everything about everyONE too… which is really scary.

I wouldn’t doubt sooner or later you’ll be able to search people’s genome sequences and find out if they have a tendency towards such-and-such trait/illness. So a query like dna:”winston smith 10010″ would reveal that some guy named Winston Smith in NYC has a family history of schizophrenia and “oppositional defiant disorder” (which is probably why he hates Big Brother). Gee, wasn’t there some guy with a soul-patch on his upper lip who might have found an “all-seeing eye” to monitor the whole of society rather appealing…? :-O

Google being the Orwellian know-it-all is why I use Duck Duck Go. Because the self-aware G-men even know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

Yaara Lancet

Oppositional defiant disorder! I can just see them making something like this up. :)

Nuno André Catarino

This is not so instant for Google users in other countries. Using the same syntax you use in Portugal we’re not given the same results in some of the searches you did. For example the calculator won’t open… and i guess that this is one among many search functionalities that Google hasn’t already made available for all the countries. Hope they won’t make me wait many longer!!!

Yaara Lancet

Yes, that’s true. In fact, it’s not really available in my country either. I just use google.com for most everything, as it has many more good features.

ethan

You never mentioned that u can use an operator to define ANY word

Yaara Lancet

That’s true. Some users have already pointed this out in the comments. Thanks. :)

juan cervera

we need to get free software from google to keep our pc ready to use all these tips. ok thanks

Tiziano Gregory Perugini

Great! Hope google is working also on shortcuts

Edward Bellair

Helpful