From a tipping calculator to checking the status of a flight: 20 helpful Google search hacks
- Google sees some 3 billion searches per day.
- But the engine behind it has some rarely-used features that can be very handy, if you know about them.
- These are some of our favourites, including a tipping calculator and checking the status of a flight.
Google Search's usefulness in present day society cannot be underestimated, with over three billion searches carried out across the globe ever day.
But there is more to Google than just plain search. These are some of its lesser-known functions.
These are 20 cool Google Search hacks
1. Set a timer
Just put a dish in the oven or need to time yourself for a work/school-related task? Just type into the Google search bar 'set timer for 10 minutes, hours or seconds' and Google will beep when the time is up.
2. Internet speed search
Testing internet connection bandwidth and latency is as easy as typing 'internet speed test' into the Google search engine bar and Google will generate both upload and download speeds.
3. Flight status
If you have a flight coming up and need to check up more info, all you need to do is type the flight number like we did for a 'BA6249' trip from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth the following morning.
4. Find a super old newspaper
History-mongers will appreciate articles from over 100 newspapers dating as far back as the 19th century on Google News' ample archives (news.google.com/newspapers).
5. Currency conversion
Currency conversions are much more straight forward by simply inputting the amount and currency followed by the currency you'd like to convert to, for example '10 rands to pula'.
6. Weather forecast
Google search can generate weather forecasts for up to eight days by just typing in 'weather' followed by the location.
7. Sports schedules
To check fixtures for any sports team like we did for football club Orlando Pirates, all you need to do is type in the name and next game: 'Orlando Pirates next game'
8. Quick dictionary
If ever you need to quickly check the definition of a word, it's as easy as typing 'define' followed by the particular word into Google Search. Search results can get as comprehensive as also providing word origins and pronunciation.
9. Track shares
One doesn't need a sophisticated trading platform to obtain information on a particular share including the trading chart. If you know the code, all you have to is just enter it into Google Search like we did for Steinhoff, 'SNH'.
If you don't know the share code then the company name and 'share price' will also do the trick.
10. Etymology of words
The origins of words like the popular and widely-used local voetsek can be quickly summed up by typing in 'Etymology: voetsek' to read up on how they came to be.
11. Google trends
Google trends (trends.google.co.za) is similar to Twitter trends but based on what South Africans are searching for on Google.
12. Searching between two numbers
When you want your google search results focused on specific years, the ellipsis is your friend. In our instance, we wanted search results for Johannesburg but between the years 1890 and 1900 — by placing three dots in between the years: 'Johannesburg 1890... 1900'.
13. Find similar websites
If you like a website's content and would like to visit similar sites to it like we did for Buzzfeed, all you do is type in 'related sites: Buzzfeed' and Google will do all the digging for you.
14. Search by file type
Specifying the type of file you'd like for whatever document you're google searching at the end of the search terms will present you with download links to it — like the National Budge Speech that we wanted in a downloadable PDF format: 'National budget speech pdf'.
15. Find unknown words in phrases
Asterisks can come to one's rescue if you can't remember all the words to a popular phrase like: 'teach a man to fish *' which Google then completed for us in the search results.
Typing 'stopwatch' into Google Search generates one and all you have to do is tap start to begin timing yourself, person(s), an activity or whatever.
17. Instant translator
You can translate words or phrases instantly, without having to visit Google translate by simply typing the word/phrase followed by the language you'd like it translated into: 'Really in isiXhosa'.
18. Time converter
Finding out the current time in a different timezone than you're in e.g. Vancouver, Canada is found by searching: 'time in Vancouver'.
19. Image search
Google image search works pretty much like the normal search feature except that you upload images or insert the URL of the image into the search bar instead of typing words into it by clicking on the camera icon.
20. Tipping calculator
Working out the tip at a restaurant or wherever can be quite the challenge. Google Search's tipping calculator simplifies this process by allowing you to input the total bill amount, percentage of the tip and number of people/diners then works it out from there.
Though in dollars, the math applies across all currencies. Google Search's tipping calculator lays bill wars to rest by working out the amount each person has to pay, like how we worked that out based on South Africa's standard 10% of the bill tipping rate for three people who consumed R1,200 worth of food and drinks.
Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Trump's trade war with China shows no sign of slowing down, and it might be about to get even worse
- South African 'alpha male' will run the world's biggest gold miner
- 10 massive projects the Chinese are funding in Africa - including railways and a brand-new city
- 50% of SA's dams aren't safe to swim in - you can check dam water quality in real time on this website
- Coca-Cola buys a kombucha maker as drinkers ditch sugary soda
- Amazon plants fake packages in delivery trucks as part of an undercover ploy to 'trap' drivers who are stealing
- Watch: The race to dominate the car dashboard is heating up and Google is winning