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Favorite Google Tips and Tricks From the Google Staff

As I said in a blog entry earlier this week, Google is my favorite search engine. It is expected to go public this Spring with a valuation as high as $25 billion. David Pogue from the New York Times interviewed Google's executives and staff and asked each of them to name their favorite Google tips and tricks, and here is what they said:

  • Download and install the Google toolbar
  • Phrase your question in the form of an answer
  • This is an old one, but very important: Put quotes around phrases that must be searched together, like "electric curtains"
  • Similarly, put a hyphen right before any word you want screened out
  • Google is a global White Pages and Yellow Pages
  • Google is a package tracker. Type a FedEx or UPS package number (just the digits) and Google offers a link to its tracking information
  • Google is a calculator. Type in an equation ("32+2345*3-234=") to see the answer
  • Google is a units-of-measurement converter
  • Google is a stock ticker
  • Google is an atlas
  • Google is Wal-Mart's computer. Type in a UPC bar code number, such as "036000250015," to see the description of the product you've just "scanned in."
  • Google is an aviation buff. Type in a flight number like "United 22" for a link to a map of that flight's progress in the air. Or type in the tail number you see on an airplane for the full registration form for that plane.
  • Google is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Type in a VIN (vehicle identification number) to find out the car's year, make, and model.
  • For hours of rainy-day entertainment, visit http://labs.google.com. Here, you'll find links to new, half-finished Google experiments--like Google Voice
  • Poke around the "Services & Tools" link on the Google.com home page, and you'll find some of the better-known lesser-known Google features

To learn how to use some of these features you can use the online Google tutorial. You can spend anywhere from one-half to eight hours looking through it depending on how many sections you elect to skip, and how many of the examples and problems you work through. Most people spend about half an hour at a time, and two hours total, and you're sure to learn some new way to use Google that you didn't know was there before.

New York Times March 25, 2004

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