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Search Tips

Search TipsType a few words into the search box. Click Search. Get an answer. How hard could it be, right?

Good searching technique can make a BIG difference. If you want to brush up on your search skills, try taking Dan Russell's course on Power Searching with Google, or even the new Advanced Power Searching with Google course. The time spent doing it will be repaid many times!

In the meantime, here are a few things that you can do with a Google Search that you might not have been aware of...

Define words: type "define" followed by the word, eg [define armistice], [define multitasking]

Calculator: type a mathematical phrase to get a calculated answer, eg [46 + 157] or [12^2] or [sqrt(16-x^2)].  Some of the more complex algebraic calculations will even give you a graph of the result.

Flight times:  Type a flight number into the search box to find out that flight's current location. eg [AC33] or [QF1]

Conversions: Type the units separated by the word "in", eg [inches in cm], [furlongs in km], [square km in acres], etc.  If you see the conversion dialog appear on the screen you can use the dropdown menus to explore all the different conversion options available to you.  There are lots!

Look up a number: Type a Fedex or UPS tracking code into Google and get a link which will take you directly to the tracking page for your parcel, eg [427618933220]

You can also type a UPC (Bar codes) on a product to find information about that product. eg [9321337114774]

Weather: Type the word "weather" followed by the city name, eg [weather toronto] or [weather london] Under the results it also tells you where the data was sourced from.

Movie times: Type the name of a movie to get a list of where and when it's showing, eg [life of pi] or [the hobbit].  Click the main link to get a full page of movie times at alternate cinemas and days. You can also browse the movie times by theatre (to see everything showing at a particular cinema) or by movie (to see everywhere a particular movie is showing.

Get the facts: Ask a fact based question like [population of china] or [age of julia gillard]. Not only will you get a list of search results that will lead you to a website that contains the answer, but if Google can extract the information you want it will display it clearly above the search results.

People, places, events, things: If Google can see you're looking for a person, place, event, or any definable "thing" it knows about,  it will often display a summary box on the right hand side of the page with links to additional information, etc.  This is called the Knowledge Graph and is pretty cool! Try following the links to explore more about your topic.

Silly stuff: If you have a sense of humour, try typing these searches and see what happens...
  • [askew]
  • [do a barrel roll]
  • [recursion]
  • [google gravity] and press "I'm Feeling Lucky"