Previously I’ve discussed ways of modifying queries to gain maximum value in Google search. Google has many more shortcuts: some of them related to search, others simply handy routines. Again, there is no need to actually go to google.com to use these commands: I have used screenshots from Google merely for the purposes of illustration. Instead, just type the shortcuts directly into the URL or search bar at the top of your browser window.
Convert or establish units
Probably the Google trick I use most. Google can convert any unit to any other related unit, or give numerical definitions for established units. In a good browser (Chrome, Firefox) you don’t even have to press the enter button after typing your unit request into the URL bar: the answer will appear in the suggestion list immediately below. A few examples:
- 9ft in cm
- 37F to C
- 12 hogshead to gallons
- (8 * 15) / 3
- pi times 13.37
- speed of sound
- diameter of sun / diameter of earth
- 1 CAD to USD
Get weather conditions and a forecast for any location
Simply type weather and the location you are interested in (city name, zip code, postal code).
Find the local time for any city
Just like weather: type in time and the location you are interested in.
Find movies by showtime
I find it frustrating to navigate through most movie theatre websites, especially when the film I am interested in may have limited run on select screens. It’s much easier to get a listing of what movies are playing by typing movies with a city, or postal/zip code: movies Calgary
The problem with this technique is that you have to press enter, then click on the first result, the Showtimes link. If Google knows your location, it may be easier to use the following URL, which provides a listing by theatre:
Define any word
Especially useful for quick dictionary lookups of words that are unfamiliar to you, or that you are unsure if you are using correctly. For example: define brobdingnagian
Track any aircraft in flight
If you know the flight number, simply type it into Google to determine its departure time and arrival time. For example: NZ1
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