Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Exciting things you can do with Google

Google’s remarkable ability to produce speedy, relevant results to search queries has changed the way people find information. To google means to search; the company’s name has become a verb in English, German, and other languages. However, many average computer users are not aware of many of the functionalities built in Google. Here, I will share a few tips to enhance your googling experience.

  • Searching for a term and its synonyms

Prefix a word with the tilde character “~” with no space between, in the Google search box, and Google will return web pages relevant to the word as well as its synonyms. For example, a search for ~auto will list web pages containing the terms auto, automobiles, cars, vehicles, trucks and more.

  • Precision searches for lyrics, book titles etc.

If you are looking for information about exact phrases such as song lyrics or book titles, you should add quote marks around your query. Thus, typing “I should have known better” into Google will return web pages about the song by The Beatles. Google ignores common words like and, is, are, the, of, on and to when they are used in search queries without quotes.

  • Browse the world’s libraries online

You can browse or read the entire text of books that are not copyrighted, by searching for a topic at Google has scanned and indexed millions of volumes from the libraries of Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, New York Public library, etc.

  • Google for scholarly research

If you are a research scholar looking for scientific papers and academic journals, search for them at Google Scholar (

  • Google as your dictionary

If you type define followed by any English word into the Google search box, you can see a quick definition of the word at the top of the search results.

  • Google as your calculator

If you enter a mathematical expression into the Google search box, Google will compute the answer. You can use numbers and symbols as in (113 + 25) or use words as in (ten plus two), or a combination such as (10% of fifty million).

  • Google as your phone book

If you enter a person’s or business name, city and state into the Google search box, you will see the matching phone and address listings at the top of the search results.

  • Get instant stock quotes

If you type a stock ticker symbol into the Google search box, you can get instant stock quotes for any public company listed on NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange, or American Stock Exchange.

  • Google as language translator

You can translate text and web pages among several languages using the automated translation service built in Google.

  • Maps and driving directions

Enter a city and state or just a zip code in Google search box, and Google will provide a direct link to its own map and direction service (, as well as those by Yahoo and MapQuest.

  • Get instant answers on your cell phone

If you are in the U.S., send a text message to the number 46645 (GOOGL) with your query, and Google will reply you back with instant answers. So, you can get phone numbers, stock quotes, movie information, etc. even when you are on the go.

These selected features just provide a glimpse of the limitless possibilities for accessing information using a search engine such as Google.

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