Google Search Tricks

In a recent DLTV podcast, Patrick Norton headed over to Google HQ and spoke with Matt Cutts about Search Engine Optimisation. Matt also shared some nifty tricks you can use at, which is much more than just a simple search engine…

The obvious tips came up first, use “double quotes” to refine searches, the minus sign to exclude terms, plus sign to force a search term etc, but it turns out google is way more helpful.

(for the following search examples, don’t include the quotes!)

Foreign times
To find the time in another city, simply enter a search such as “time in sydney”

A useful calculator
Just enter your equation directly into the search box and google will do the calculation. For example “25*12” or “log5*106” or “sin60”. And if you’re really curious, try entering “what is the answer to life the universe and everything” 🙂

Unit and currency conversion
Anlong with math calculations, google will also do conversions for you. Eg. “100 feet in metres” or “1 mile =”. For currency conversion you can either use abbreviations or full currency names such as “100 nzd in gbp” or “500 yen in australian dollars”.

Dictionary definitions
Want to know what a word means? Instead of visiting an online dictionary site, try google first with a search such as “define: internet”.

Search for a specific filetype
If you’re interested in non-webpage results, you can narrow your search to only hit specific filetypes, such as PowerPoint Presentations (ppt) or Adobe’s Portable Document Format (pdf) for example. Enter a search similar to “security filetype:pdf”, and no, searching for mp3’s this way doesn’t work!

I’m sure there’s lots more fancy things you can do with searches at, but the above shoud be a useful starting place for smarter searching.


About Chris
A self confessed geek, meteorologist (aka weather forecaster), father & proud kiwi mainlander living, working & playing in Wellington, New Zealand.

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