Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Did You Know Google Could Do That?

Google is no longer just a search engine. The company has become the poster child for most innovations related to the Web. "Google" is now a common verb. And they do almost everything with such style, common sense and a fresh approach. Am I a Google fan? Yes. But that's not the reason. Google came about after Yahoo! and other search engines like Excite, MSN (now Bing), Dogpile, AltaVista, InfoSpace, etc. And despite their late arrival, Google managed to stump all of them and become much more than a search engine.

Google Apps

Take one of the many Google applications & solutions they offer (most are free): Gmail, Google Music, Docs, public DNS, Google Maps and even something as basic and overlooked as Google Groups (which's not really an app, but still). Did I mention Google Voice, Google Calendar (which I LOVE) or Google Reader? There are simply too many to list here. They simply excel at whatever it is they do. And they're leading the way in all things cloud-computing. In addition to all that Google offers, they do it with a sense of humor. For example, they constantly offer hidden jokes/"easter eggs."

But there are many hidden features about Google and its search field/bar. See how many of these you know. And if you know of any that I've missed, by all means please share them with us in the comments.

Time in any city
To see the time in many cities around the world, type in “time” and the name of the city.
time {cityname}

Google Time

Alternatively, you can ask the time in the form of a question (see the image below).

Google Time

Weather in any city
Similar to the time above, you can now see the weather for many U.S. and worldwide cities. You just need to type “weather” followed by the city and state, zip/postal code, or city and country.
weather {City Name}

Google Weather

Map of anywhere
Are you new in a city/country? Perhaps you moved to a new area or simply want to learn more about a location. Google makes finding that very easy. Type in the name or zip/postal code of a location and the word “map” and Google will return a map of that location. Clicking on the map will take you to a larger version on Google Maps.
{location} map

Google Map Search

Convert Currency
Google Currency Converter, I believe, is a part of Google Calculator; which I will be talking about next. Perhaps you want to find out how much an item costs in another currency ... perhaps where you're traveling. Or perhaps you're trying to see how much the money you have budgeted for a vacation will carry you in the vacation spot. Whatever the reason is, Google can convert that with a great deal of accuracy. Of course, Currency Exchange offices will differ; but you get the idea.
{current currency with or without number} in {desired currency}

Google Currency

Airport & airline-flight status
Whether you're picking up someone, dropping them off or flying out yourself Google's search is ready from any Internet-enabled device (since many phones have them now too). To see flight status for arriving and departing, type in the name of the airline and the flight number into the search box. You can also see delays at a specific airport by typing in the name of the city or three-letter airport code followed by the word “airport”.
{airlinename flightnumber}

Google Flight

Unit Conversion
You can convert weight, distance, temperature, time, mass, energy, and (as I mentioned earlier) currency. For example, you can answer the question of how many ounces are in 2 cups.
{current unit} in {desired unit}

Google Unit Conversion
Google Unit

Most will tell you to type "define" and the word or phrase you're needing defined. However, there's a difference between the results of that and using "define:" with the colon and then the word or phrase you're needing defined. Google uses many sources to come back with the different definitions out there.

Google Dictionary Definition

Track your package(s) from UPS, FedEx and USPS
You can track packages by typing the tracking number for your UPS, FedEx or USPS package directly into the search box. Google will return results that include quick links to easily track the status of your shipment.

Google Package Tracking

Whether it's simple or complex math, Google's got you covered. Knowing the operators, however, will go a long way in helping you get what you want in the fastest possible way.

Google Simple Math
Google Complex Math

These are just a few examples of what Google offers. Others (off the top of my head) include movie times, area codes (although I prefer to type "area code"), zip codes, stock quotes, and many others.

Did you know that Google could do all of that? If you did, which ones are you favorites?  ▣

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