20 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Search

Google Search

Google Search is turning 20 this year (on 27 September) and we’re celebrating by showcasing some of its finest moments.


Google Search is well-established in everyone’s minds as the place to search for anything you need. There are a few tips and tricks “hidden” in Google that can focus your searches, giving you more relevant search results and making the search smarter and our lives simpler and easier, however, that many people don’t know about.

As Search celebrates its 20th year, we’ve compiled 20 of the most useful for you.

Tip Calculator – Forget trying to figure out 15% on your bill and then trying to figure out what your share of that is. Next time you’re out with friends simply type “tip calculator” into your phone and let Google do all the maths for you.

Time Conversion – Scheduled a Google Hangout or Skype session with a friend somewhere else in the world, but have no idea what the time is there? Just ask Google what the time is wherever they are and the answer will pop up in your results, daylight savings already calculated.

Currency Conversion – Need to figure out just how much you’re paying in Rands when buying something in another currency? If you search the currencies you need to convert – for example 20 rands in US dollars – Google will let you know if you’re in for a bargain or not.

Weather Forecast – Planning a trip somewhere and need to know what to pack? Simply search it and right there on your search results page you’ll get the forecast for the next week.

Sports schedules – want to know when your team is playing next? Type ‘team name’ and ‘game’ into the Google Search bar and the schedule will show up as the first result, right where you need it.

Set a timer – Need to monitor your dinner while you’re elsewhere in the house? Set a timer by typing ‘set a timer to 12 minutes and 45 seconds’, for example, and Google will sound an alarm when time is up.

Internet speed search – Have a feeling that your internet speed is acting up? All you need to see if your upload and download speeds are running as per usual is simply search “internet speed test” and Google will tell you how fast your connection is.

Find newspaper articles from the 19th century – If by any chance you are looking for a newspaper article about your great grand-aunt, Google News has archives going back more than 200 years.

Find similar websites – if you love a particular website’s content, Google can help you find similar websites. For example if you love celebrity gossip sites you can search for more hot tea and shade.

Search by file type – If you are searching for a particular file type related to a search term, no sweat. In order to find a children’s story in PDF, for example, you might want to search: Little Red Riding Hood PDF

Find unknown words in phrases – If you’ve forgotten parts of a phrase, you can just replace the missing words with asterisks. For example: Searching Rome wasn’t * in a day will return all known variations of this phrase.

Find word definitions – If you are looking for the definition and pronunciation of a word just precede it with define: and much like a dictionary, you will find all you need to know about the word.

Translate words or phrases – You can find word translations without going into the Google Translate site. If you want to know what ‘friend’ is in Xhosa, all you have to do is search: translate friend to Xhosa

Track Stocks – Simply search the stock name to check how your investments are performing. Typing GOOG into your browser will give you the latest update on Google stock.

Stopwatch – You don’t need fancy applications on your phone in order to do your HIIT training, just search stopwatch in your Google search bar and hit START to get going.

Flight status – Keying your flight number into your Google search will give you all the relevant info about your trip and ETA.

Image search – In the same way you can use words to search Google, the site also allows you to search using images. Select the Google image search tab, and click the camera icon to either insert an image URL or upload an image to find its origins or other images similar to it.

Search between two numbers – Placing … between two numbers will give results that fall in between those numbers. For example, searching Nelson Mandela 1938…1998, Google will return information about Madiba relevant to that period.

Etymology – Ever wondered what the origins of a particular word are? Google’s etymology search lets you know where a word comes from. Just type in “Etymology: deja vu” to find out the origins of deja vu.

Find out what others are searching for – Ever wondered what South Africans are searching for on Google? Head over to Google trends and toggle the country location to see what’s trending.

Sources: Google 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    deon marais

    September 16, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    This comment is about Google not being able to allow me access to send and receive mails for almost three weeks. They claimed someone wanted to use my information. I had sent messages stating that it is me with e-mail address – and updated recovery e-mail address –
    Is there someone out there who care and can assist?

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