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