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Stuff You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Google

Google is so universal, it’s easy to overlook some of the search giant’s coolest tools. Despite criticism that Google is charging (someone) for its most commonly used services, it has many interesting functionality that you don’t need to spend money on. Some of these are designed make your life easier and others will just blow your mind. Here’s 10 of the most functional, or coolest:

Exclude search terms.

Google’s algorithms are really good at searching the Internet to find the information you’re looking for. Sometimes, though, because the English language is duplicative and strange, you get search results that aren’t quite right.

Adjust your search simply using the minus (-) symbol. Put it before any words you don’t want to show up. Say you want to search for “puppies,” but don’t want to see sites that sell them. Just type in “puppies -sales” and you’re set.

Google Flight Search.

Need to find the best price on a flight? Google Flight Search is one of the easiest price-comparison sites around. Pick your start point and destination – or destinations – on the map, and then pick your dates. When you pick the dates, be sure to pay attention to the prices on each date and Google’s graph of days with the cheapest tickets. You just don’t see that with many of the other travel aggregates. Then, you can filter the results by flight length, airline, price, stops and more. When you find a flight that works, you can book it directly on the airline’s site.

Atari Breakout.

Need to take a quick break and be transported back to the 80’s? Don’t we all – if only (and really only) for a little while. Thanks to Google, you can play a version of the classic Atari Breakout game on your computer whenever you want. Simply go to the Google Image Search page – www.google.com/images – and search for “Atari Breakout.” Then, wait for the fun to begin….sneaky

Google translations.

Need a quick translation of a word? Go to the normal Google search page and type in “translate (word) to (language)” in the search bar. For instance, you could type “translate apple to Spanish.”

Google will let you know in less than a second that “manzana” is Spanish for apple. It also includes a small speaker icon that will let you hear the word if you aren’t sure how to pronounce it. For longer translations, check out Google Translate.

Google nutrition comparison search.

What’s healthier, an lemon or a lime? Type “compare” into Google’s search bar, along with the foods you want to look at, such as “compare green beans and peas.” Google will do the rest.

Google Public Data Explorer.

Google’s normal search site is great for most searches, but Google has more specialized search sites as well. For example, the Google Public Data Explorer is a treasure chest full of information on public statistics. Go to the Google Public Data page and type in a topic. Keep your searches simple, like “Unemployment in the U.S.” Google will return results from sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll end up with an easy-to-read graph, and you can even tweak it with options like gender, age and state.

Google definitions.

When you don’t know what a word means, forget the dictionary.  Simply type “define (word)” into the Google search bar, such as “define sesquipedalian” and you’ll have the definition instantly – it’s “one who uses big words” in case you were wondering. You’ll also get pronunciation, part of speech, and you can click the gray arrow for more information, including word origins. For the writers, bloggers, and lingual enthusiasts….have fun!

Google Conversions.

Whether you’re cooking or helping your child with math homework, odds are you’re going to have to convert units of measurement. On the Google search page, simply enter a search like “convert eight ounces to cups” or “convert 10km to mi.” You’ll have your answer instantly, and you can easily adjust the numbers and units after your initial search.

Google nGrams.

Google nGrams is a quite the amazing research tool. It – of all things – lets you search how many times certain words occur in more than 5 million books written between 1800 and now. Another win for the linguists – nGrams is exposing incredibly fascinating details about how words get more or less popular over time. With nGrams, feel free put in multiple words separated by commas to compare two or more words at once. Google lets you adjust the time period, filter by language of the books and see the exact books that contain your search words.

Google Sky.

If you think Google Earth is great, then Google Sky is going to AMAZE you. It lets you search the sky above you to see images of stars, planets and galaxies taken from telescopes, probes and satellites. Get lost in the universe….in your backyard. Google Sky  includes modern imaging like infrared and microwave as well as a historic maps of the stars made by Giovanni Maria Cassini all the way back in 1792. Not sure where to begin? I recommend the Hubble Showcase – which offers detailed images and descriptions of nebulae and star clusters – including their exact position in the night sky.   Have Fun Googling Everyone!