Googling tips

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Senior Member
Jan 17, 2002
* Download and install the Google toolbar. Not only does it
put the Google search box into your browser full-time, but
it also blocks pop-up ads and fills in forms for you. For
Windows at:
(Ad blocking, form-filling and Google's search box are
already built into the Apple's Web browser, Safari.)

* Phrase your question in the form of an answer. "After all,
you're not looking for Web pages that ask your question,"
explains director of technology Craig Silverstein. "You're
looking for pages that answer it."

So instead of typing, "What is the average rainfall in the
Amazon basin?", you might get better results by typing "The
average rainfall in the Amazon basin is."

* This is an old one, but very important: Put quotes around
phrases that must be searched together. If you put quotes
around "electric curtains," Google won't waste your time
finding one set of Web pages containing the word "electric"
and another set containing the word "curtains."

* Similarly, put a hyphen right before any word you want
screened out. If you're looking up dolphins, for example,
you'll have to wade through a million Miami Dolphins pages
unless you search for "dolphins -Miami."

* Google is a global White Pages and Yellow Pages. Search
for "phonebook:home depot norwalk, ct," Google instantly
produces the address and phone number of the Norwalk Home
Depot. This works with names ("phonebook:robert jones las
vegas, NV") as well as businesses.

Don't put any space after "phonebook." And in all of the
following examples, don't type the quotes I'm showing you

* Google is a package tracker. Type a FedEx or UPS package
number (just the digits); when you click Search, Google
offers a link to its tracking information.

* Google is a calculator. Type in an equation ("32+2345*3-
234="). Click Search to see the answer.

* Google is a units-of-measurement converter. Type
"teaspoons in a gallon," for example, or "centimeters in a
foot." Click Search to see the answer.

* Google is a stock ticker. Type in AAPL or MSFT, for
example, to see a link to the current Apple or Microsoft
stock price, graphs, financial news and so on.

* Google is an atlas. Type in an area code, like 212, to see
a Mapquest map of the area.

* 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." (Thanks to the Google
Blog,, for this tip and the next

* 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, which is etched onto a
plate, usually on the door frame, of every car), like
"JH4NA1157MT001832," to find out the car's year, make and

* For hours of rainy-day entertainment, visit:
Here, you'll find links to new, half-finished Google
experiments, like Google Voice, in which you call (650) 623-
6706, speak the words you want to search for, and then open
your browser to view the results. Disclaimer: It wasn't
working when I tried it. (Ditto a lot of these experiments.)

* Poke around the "Services & Tools" link on the
home page, and you'll find some of the better-known lesser-
known Google features, if that makes any sense.

For example, there's Froogle (product search), News, Groups
(Internet discussion boards), Google Catalogs (hundreds of
scanned-in product catalogs), Images (find graphics and
photos from other people's Web sites), Blogger (publish your
own online journal), Google language translation, Google
Answers (pay a couple of bucks to have a professional
researcher find the answers for you) and much more.

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