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Google is your Friend

Robert Gauld

So I've often joked to people that "Google is your Friend" well in this post I'm going to pass on some tips which show how powerful Google really is. These are things I've come accross in podcasts, web pages and by accident. Anything between a [ and a ] is something to type into Google's search box. Play with these to try them out and see how far you push them.

About Where You Are

Searching for [Time Aberdeen] will tell you the time in Aberdeen, try it for yourself changing Aberdeen with where you live. Similarly [Weather Aberdeen] would (strangly enough) tell you the weather in Aberdeen. How about watching a film, easy [movie: Aberdeen], post codes work too

As a Dictonary

Need the definition of a work (for example photosynthesis) then use this search [define: photosynthesis]. Don't worry if you spell it wrong, google will correct it for you. If you want a slightly different output of the answer try [what is photosynthesis] insted,

As a Calculator

You can use Google as a calculator, simply type in the sum (eg [(2+2) x 9]). Or if you're trying to convert from one thing to another try "pounds in kilograms", you can even use symbols and numbers like [3kg in lb].

Who Links to Me

If I wanted to find pages which link to my site I could use [link:].

Got a Question?

Google has some impressive back end stuff so to find a bithday use [Isaac Newton birthday], or type it as a question [what is the population of Japan?]

Website Down?

Use cache followed by the URL to view's Google's cached (saved) copy of the page like [cache:]. You may also want to use

And actually Searching

OK so apart from being an advertising company Google is a search engine, but how do you easily find things on the web? When you enter more than one word into Google (upto 32 words apparently) Google searches for pages containing all of them, so the search [this that] would show you pages containing the words "this" and "that", but what if you want to do an OR search not an AND search, simple type [This OR That] or [This | That].

There are things you can place in front of words to change how Google uses them, a ~ means words like so [~house] would also search on home. If you want results which don't include a word then use a -, eg [This -That] would get pages which contain "This" but not "That". How about if you want an exact phrase, for example to find the rest of the lyrics of a song - well use " like ["Can't Buy Me Love"]. What if you could only remember part of them - well use a * (something called a wildcard) as in ["Can't * Me Love"]. Strangly it appears as if a ? doesn't work. Searching for [*] appears to list everything Google has, 25,570,000,000 at the moment.

What if I wanted to limit my search to a certain site, well that's easy to, just put [site:URL] to the end of the serach, replacing URL with the address of the site (no http:// at the start). For example [Google Tips] would search any site whoose address ends for the words Google and Tips. How about a certain type of file, easy just use filetype: as in [filetype: pdf].

A somewhat unknown thing which Google can do is number ranges, for example to find the prime ministers between 1900 and 200 I would use [prime minister 1900..2000], as easy as placing two dots between the years.

Getting Quirky/Geeky

[the answer to life, the universe, and everything]