Getting the Most Out of Google
Can you believe it's been 15 years since Google opened its virtual doors? It's clear the search engine has come a long way since the late 90s. Aside from outgrowing the '!' at the end of its name way before Yahoo!, the company has added numerous handy features to its search engine over the years. You can do quick conversions, see who won last night's game, track your flight and even play Pac-Man. And that's just scratching the surface. Read on for our top ten favorite Google search features.
Tracking packages online is easy enough, but with Google, you don't need to go to the bother of finding the shipping service's dedicated tracker on its website. Instead, you can plug the tracking number into Google and Mountain view will track your package for you. You don't even need the provider. Google will figure it out for you (handy if your shipping confirmation email includes a tracking order but no information on the shipping service).
Nutritional Information and Comparison
Okay, so you knew about weather and unit conversion, but what about nutritional information? If you want to know the nutritional information of a banana, searching "banana nutrition" will tell you the fat, sugar, sodium, carbs, cholesterol content, and vitamins present in your favorite yellow fruit. A single cheeseburger will give you 25 percent of your daily recommended saturated fat, but at least you'll get some Iron and Vitamin B-12. If you want to compare one food to another (say apples and oranges). Google "apple vs orange" and Google will give you the nutritional information of both, side-by-side.
Whether you're anxiously awaiting the arrival of a loved one, planning a trip to the airport, or just checking the status of your own upcoming flight, Google's flight tracker saves you the trouble of digging through the airline's website to find flight status reports. You'll need the flight number as well as the airline code, but Google will be able to tell you the departure time, terminal and gate, as well as the arrival time and terminal. You'll also get the period of time until departure. If a flight is delayed, you'll see the revised times of departure and arrival.
When it comes to converting cm to inches, grams to pounds, liters to gallons, or Fahrenheit to Celcius, Google can be your friend. Instead of firing up a conversion site, or even turning to your favorite conversion app on your phone, you can input your conversion into Google (e.g. "15cm in inches") and let Mountain View do the work. Alternatively, you can Google 'unit conversion' and Google's own converter will be the top result. Google covers everthing from length, mass, speed, volume, and area, to fuel consumption, time and digital storage.
Gone are the days when you had to turn on the radio or the TV to get the day's weather forecast. In fact, you don't even need to load Weather.com. Googling your location along with the word 'weather' will bring up a handy graphic detailing the weather for the specified location over the next 24 hours. There's also a temperature graph, a toggle for Fahrenheit and Celsius, tabs for the forecast on any given day over the next week, and measurements for humidity, precipitation, and wind. Weather is sourced from The Weather Channel, Weather Undeground, and AccuWeather.
If your company works across multiple time zones, figuring out where (and when) everyone is can be a bit of a brain melt. A quick Google search can help you figure out if it's too late to call the head office or if your colleagues will even be awake. You can either search by time zone (e.g. "Time in GMT") or by country (e.g. "Time in London, England").
Pulling information from Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, and MSN Money, Google can also present you with data on how a specific company's shares are doing. Googling the company's name alongside the word 'stock' will retrieve a ticker with data for the current day, and options to view the company's stock over five days, one month, six months, one year, five years, and finally the company's entire trading history.
Sports Schedules and Scores
Whether you're looking for the kick-off time for your team's next big game or the score from last night's clash, Googling the team name is enough to pull up recent games and scores, upcoming games, a current player roster, a brief history of the team, and their placement in league standings. Google also provides score updates in real time, so if you're at work and can't watch, a quick Google search will tell you the current score.
Google's data on movie showtimes will allow you to plan your trip to the movies to suit your schedule instead of forcing yourself to work around your local theater's timetable. Googling the title of the movie you want to see plus the term 'showtimes' will return a full list of theaters showing that movie as well as the times of their showings. Never settle for the awkward pre-dinner, post-lunch 4:45pm showing again! You can also click to see the trailer right form the search result.
This one is a bit of a gimmick, but it's so popular Google hasn't seen fit to do away with it just yet. What started out as a Google Doodle to celebrate our favorite arcade game's 30th birthday became a permanent fixture after users spent an extra 4,819,352 hours playing the mini-game. The Doodle launched on a Friday and was kept running through the weekend (most Doodle's only spend 24 hours on Google's homepage). After three days on the homepage, it was moved to its permanent home at Google.com/pacman.