7 Google Tips to Increase Your Searching Productivity

by Mike McEvoy on October 15, 2008

It is rather amazing to see all the functionality and uses that have evolved from the plain little Search Box that Google released to the Internet ten years ago. In the ensuing time Google had added a vast array of features, services and products for both individuals and businesses. While virtually everyone who uses the web is familiar with the Google search box, not everyone realizes all the not-so-hidden capabilities Google provides.

Here are 7 Google Tips for getting more out of your Google searching.  Do you have a useful Google tip of your own to add to the list?  Share your own tips by submitting a Comment. Also check out our post on Google Search Preferences.  Below are our first 7  Google tips – plus one.

1.  Capitalization is Not Important

Google searches are not case sensitive. All the letters you enter, regardless of how you enter them, are seen by Google as lower case. For example, searches for “New York” and “new york” will return the same results.

2.  Set Personal Search Preferences

Want to display more than 10 search results per page? How about 30 or even 100? To the right of the Google search box is the word “Preferences.”  Click on Preferences and scroll part way down the page to Number of Results. Click on the drop down arrow and select the number of results you want to be displayed on each results page.

There are a few other parameters you can also modify such as Language, SafeSearch Filtering and Results Window. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the Save Preferences button when you are done so that Google will remember your preferences.

3.  Check the Weather Anywhere

Use the Google search box to easily find the weather conditions and a four-day forecast for any U.S. location.  Simply type “weather” (no quotes) and a city or zip code. For example type: “weather 94925″ or “weather little falls ny” and click Search.

4.  Find Flight Status

Want to check the status of a U.S. flight? Type the name of the airline followed by the flight number into the search box. For example, to view the status for Southwest Airlines flight #122 type in “Southwest 122″ and click Search.

5.  Area Code Map

Need to find the geographic area where a specific US telephone area code is used? Just enter the three digit area code in Google’s search box and click Search.

6.  Find the Time Anywhere

Need to find out what time it is in another city anywhere in the world? Simply type the word “time” (no quotes) followed by the name of the city or country and click Search.  Google will show the time, day, and time zone for that location.

7.  Convert Temperatures

Would you like to convert Centigrade to Fahrenheit or vice-versa? Type the number for the temperature, the letter “c” or “f” of the starting temperature scale, the word “to” and the ending temperature scale. “[temperature] [c or f] to [f or c]”   Example conversion: “35 c to f”

View The Sky

OK, This really isn’t one of your average, every day search functions and we already have seven tips listed — but this is very cool. You can browse the universe by typing in sky.google.com or google.com/sky in the search box or in your browser address field. Similar in many respects to Google Earth, this Google application will allow you to scan the heavens with images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Telescope, Spitzer Infrared Telescope and a range of other sources. Enjoy.

For additional useful Google search tips see the posts for Google Search Preferences, plus  David Pogue’s Tech Tips Part I and Part II plus Bing Search Preferences.

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{ 6 comments }

Sue October 16, 2008 at 4:57 am

This article was very informative.

BobbieG October 16, 2008 at 9:59 am

I agree. Very helpful. I knew some of these things but had forgotten them. Some stuff was new to me. The Google Sky link is neat.

Nancy Prince January 30, 2009 at 9:25 am

I love all of the info on this website. It somehow always knows what is interesting and pertinent to me!

Diane Howard February 5, 2009 at 11:13 am

thanks i like all your tips.

Sue June 16, 2010 at 9:49 am

When I display google.com, I do not have “Preferences” to the right of the search box, only Advance Search and Language tools.

I was able to enter google.com/preferences to reach this page but could not find it any other way.

Mike McEvoy June 16, 2010 at 10:56 am

@Sue — Thanks for the “heads up” on this. I re-checked the Google home page and you are correct. Seems like Google decided to modify their home page a bit and the Preferences is no longer visible by default

I will go back and update the post with the google.com/preferences link. Thanks for catching this.

–Mike

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