(Full article: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/-1vihe.html)
Are you feeling lucky? Samantha Amjadali shares some of Google’s helpful and quirky user tools.
SO, WE all know Google is omnipotent. Hell, sometimes the big G knows what you’re searching for before you do. But Google’s all-knowingness, believe it or not, is greater than most of its users realise.
While most of us are content to whack in a couple of words when seeking just the right piece of information online, a few minor tweaks can not only speed up your searching but also ensure your results are more accurate and relevant.
Google + calculator = awesome
Yep, type in a mathematical equation into Google’s humble search bar and the little people inside will add, multiply, divide or minus it all quick-smart. This feature isn’t confined to primary-school maths, either. It can handle more complex requests – as long as you can figure out how to ask them. In the case of 12*9+(sqrt 10)^3, for example, the question is more complex than the answer, 139.622777.
Ditch your dictionary
Google’s inbuilt dictionary allows surfers to look up the definitions of words within the search engine – and without madly flipping through the pages of your Oxford or Macquarie. For example, if the word ”conundrum” perpetually befuddles you, typing ”definition: conundrum” will solve the mystery. Google scouts various online dictionaries of repute and returns the definition. In this case a conundrum is: ”A confusing and difficult problem or question.” Nice. Conundrum solved. Mr Google kindly provides synonyms for your word as well.
It’s all academic to me
An offshoot of google.com is the brilliant Google Scholar (scholar.google.com), a resource for anyone wanting to avoid wading through digital fluff and flotsam and get straight to the good and, most importantly, verified ”stuff” when searching. Google Scholar filters out popular literature and returns only results found in academic journals, professional societies, universities and other forms of scholarly literature. It’s particularly popular with students, especially those with impending deadlines.
What’s the time, Mr Google?
One of the most practical Google extensions is the ability to find the current time in any of the world’s cities, big or small. Simply type: ”time in [city name]” and the current time will appear in milliseconds. If you’re searching for the time in countries such as the US, where there are multiple time zones, all will be displayed. The same feature works for weather. Just type ”weather in [city name]” and you’ll get back today’s temperature, humidity and wind forecasts, as well as predictions for the next five days.
I’ll see your dollar and raise you four shekels
Rather than visiting a currency converter site or, heaven forbid, working it out manually in your head, type your desired conversion in plain old English into your search bar, such as 20 Australian dollars to pesos. The conversion will appear instantly using the latest rates; and, if you’re after a currency such as rupees, which is used by several countries, try inputting the exact code, for example PKR for Pakistani rupees, INR for Indian rupees or SCR for Seychelles rupees.
The engineers at Google have a sense of humor!
Type the following lines into your Google bar (may not work with Internet Explorer) and watch what happens:
- Do a barrel roll
- Google mirror
- xx-klingon or xx-pirate (click the I’m Feeling Lucky option, not Search)