Google Search Shortcuts

Wednesday, July 07 2010 -

Google Search Shortcuts

I found a nice little easter egg on Google the other day:

Type in a file extension (like 'doc') followed by 'mime type' and hit enter. The search results give you this:

google-mime-search

Very simple to find what I was looking for – no need to try and dig through the results on the page (most of which are not worth it anyways). I also like that you can provide feedback; when you click the “Feedback” link it asks you if you think this answer is accurate. I assume that with enough “no” votes, the result gets reviewed/taken down.

It’s a little thing, sure, but a nice feature to have out there when you are looking for that sort of data.

This is just one of many helpers that Google provides right on their search home page. Here are some other examples:

  • Calculator – Just enter an equation and hit enter, Google gives you the answer to the equation. Great if you need to do some quick calculations and already have your browser open. It can also do some pretty complex equations – check out http://www.googleguide.com/help/calculator.html for more info.
  • Flight Status – Enter the name of the airline followed by the flight number, and Google will give you the status of that flight before showing you the search results for those two values. Much quicker than going to the specific airline’s website.
  • Dictionary – Type in “Define” plus any word and Google will provide you with the definitions it can find in various online dictionaries for the word.
  • Movie Listings – Just type in “movies” and hit enter. If you haven’t provided it before, Google will ask you for your location. Once it has it, it will show you local movie listings.
  • Package Tracking – Type in your carrier (USPS, UPS and FedEx all work when I tried them) followed by the tracking number and hit enter. The first item in the list gives you a link right to package tracking for that number. Okay, so it doesn’t show you the tracking data right there on the search page, but it does save a lot of clicks and page scanning, since those carrier websites aren’t the most well-designed sites out there.

These may not seem like much because, in fact, they aren’t much, at least not alone. But imagine how much time you could save over the course of days, weeks, months by using these. Each of these may only save you a couple of minutes searching and browsing the web, but that time definitely adds up, so these are just another tool to add to your time management toolbox, helping you get more done and quicker, leaving more time for the important things in life, whatever that may be for you.

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