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Google isn’t the only game in town when it comes to search. Alternatives such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Wolphram Alpha also provide the tools necessary to search the Web. However, the figures don’t lie, and the figures suggest that the majority of Internet users choose Google over the rest of the competition.
With that in mind it’s important to make sure all of those Google users are utilizing all that Google has to offer when it comes to its search engine. Everyone knows how to conduct a normal search by typing some words and/or a phrase into the box provided and following the links that emerge from the overcrowded fog. But Google Search offers a lot more than just the basics.
Google has rolled out various innovations over the years designed to make our lives easier when it comes to finding the information we’re looking for when we head to the company’s homepage. Thanks to a combination of the OneBox module which directly answers many queries without the user ever needing to click away to an external site, and the Knowledge Graph results which add extra layers of information to each search, Google has somewhat succeeded in its mission.
What follows is a list of eight Google Search tricks (or tips, or shortcuts, or hacks, depending on your preference of nomenclature) that everyone should be using. Or, at the very least, be aware of for the sake of saving time in the future. If you were already aware of some or all of them, then award yourself a gold star and the title of Google Search Veteran.
Type: “time [location]”. Example: “time london”
There are a multitude of reasons for needing to know what the time is elsewhere in the world. You may have relatives living in another country, or work online and have meetings and/or deadlines, or perhaps you’re just an inquisitive soul wondering what ungodly hour it is in some far-off foreign clime. This Google Search shortcut allows you to see what time it is in any major city around the world without ever having to leave the comfort of the Google homepage.
Type: “sunrise [location]”. Example: “sunrise london”
Type: “sunset [location]”. Example: “sunset london”
I have to say I’m not one of these people who lives by the hours dictated by the Earth spinning on its axis. However, a lot of people cannot help but be affected by the coming and going of the Sun and the natural light it emits. And those souls often like to keep track of the time the Sun rises and sets. These Google Search shortcuts allow you to find out what time the Sun is due to rise and set on any given day in any given location.
Type: “[name of stock]”. Example: “fb” or “goog”
I’m not fortunate enough to own stocks and shares in any companies. Contrary to popular belief this writing malarkey doesn’t guarantee fame and fortune. However, if I do ever take the plunge and invest in a company, it’s nice to know that this Google Search shortcut exists to make keeping an eye on that investment as simple as typing a few letters into Google.
Type: “population [location]”. Example: “population london”
Type: “unemployment rate [location]“. Example: “unemployment rate london”
These Google Search shortcuts won’t be to everybody’s taste, but they are perhaps the most important ones on the list. If you have ever wondered how many people live in a particular city, country, or even continent then the first is for you. And if you’re looking to move to pastures new but need to check the unemployment rate first, the second Google Search shortcut is there just waiting to be utilized.
Type: “translate [words] [language]”. Example: “translate read carefully french”
I know what you’re thinking, there’s a whole section of Google dedicated to translating one language into another. There is, and it’s called Google Translate, but a pared down version can also be accessed from the homepage with a shortcut suitable for single words or short phrases. And it speeds up the whole process by a considerable margin.
Type: “set timer to [time]”. Example: “set timer to 5 minutes”
Type: “set timer for [time]”. Example: “set timer for 19:00”
As humans we tend to be overly governed by time and the restrictions it places upon us. We have watches, clocks, alarm clocks, timers, and stopwatches, all designed to measure time for one reason or another. Even Google gets in on the action, with these simple shortcuts that let you set a timer either for a set amount of time or for a set time in the future.
Type: “weather [location]”. Example: “weather london”
As a British person I’m somewhat obsessed with the weather. It’s an affliction borne from living in a country which can experience all four seasons in just one day. I’ve also written about the best weather websites in existence, many of which are nerdy to the extreme. But for those who just need to know the basic forecast in their hometown this Google Search shortcut should provide all of the necessary information.
Type: “related:[domain]”. Example: “related:makeuseof.com”
Type “site:[domain]”. Example: “site:makeuseof.com”
Last but not least are two well-established Google Search shortcuts that I suspect aren’t used by nearly enough people. They’re both extremely useful tricks to have up your sleeve when conducting searches that demand the removal of all the noise. The first will list domains related to the one you search for, while the second means you’ll only see results for that particular domain.
Some of these tricks previously appeared on our Google Search tips cheat sheet, but deserved revisiting in great detail. Yaara has also previously covered the same topic, and reading her article asking, ‘Are you SURE you know how to use Google?‘ will gift you several more shortcuts to use as you search the Web.
Now it’s over to you to tell us any Google Search tips or tricks you know of. Whether they utilize the OneBox platform, add Knowledge Graph results to searches, or shortcut the process in another way, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Antonio Manfredonio