Fun Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Google Search

Google is the most popular search engine on the Web, but many people don't realize the full extent of what they can do with it. Find out more about the wide variety of Google search options that you have, and learn twenty things you didn't know you could with the seemingly limitless power of Google search available to you.

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Google Book Search

google book search
Top Ten Book Search Engines | Free Books Online

You can use Google Book Search to do a lot of things: find a book you're interested in, search within a book's text, download a book, search reference texts, even create your own Google Library of your favorite books.

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Google News

google news archives search
Use the Web to Find an Archive

Search and explore historical archives with Google News. You can use this search service to create timelines, research a specific time period, see how opinion has changed over time, and more.

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Google Movie Search

A screenshot of the results returned when searching for a currently playing movie on Google.

You can use Google to quickly look up movie information, movie reviews, movie showtimes, theater locations, and even movie trailers. Simply type in the name of the movie you're interested in, and Google will return the information you're looking for.

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Google Maps

google maps
Ten Ways to Find a Map on the Web

Google Maps is an amazing resource. Not only can you use it to find maps and driving directions, you can also use Google Maps to find local businesses, follow world events, toggle between satellite and hybrid views, and a whole lot more.

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Google Earth

A screenshot of Google Earth.

Search through geographic locations all over the world with Google Earth, a powerful way to visualize satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and more.

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Google Translate

A screenshot of the Google Translate website.

You can use the Google Translate to search for a phrase in another language, translate a block of text, see the Google interface in your language, or visit Google's home page in your country's domain.

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Google for Phone Numbers

Screenshot from a Google search for phone numbers.

As of 2010, Google's phone book feature has been officially retired. Both the phonebook: and the rphonebook: search operator have both been dropped. The reasoning behind this, according to Google's representatives, is that they were receiving too many "remove me" requests from people who were unpleasantly surprised to find their personal information publicly searchable in Google's index. Many people were sending in requests for information removal via this link: Google PhoneBook Name Removal, which removes information from residential listings.

Does this mean you can no longer use Google to find a phone number? Absolutely not! You can still utilize Google to track down a phone number and address, but you will need a bit more information in order to do so. You will need the person's full name and the zip code where they reside:

joe smith, 10001

Typing in this simple search query will (hopefully) return phonebook results: name, address, and phone number.

More ways you can find a phone number

  • Use the Web as a Phone Book: There are many ways you can use the Web as your own personal phone book, including social networking services, different search engines, and specialized directories.
  • Five Ways to Track a Cell Phone Number: Because most cell phone numbers are unlisted in any phone directory, they can be trickier to find. However, there are some tricks you can do to uncover where these numbers might be lurking online.
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Google Definitions

A screenshot of how you can use google to define a word.

Not sure what that word means? You can use Google's Define syntax to find out. Simply type in the word define: quirky (substitute your own word) and you'll instantly be taken to a page of definitions, along with related topics and possible meanings.

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Google Groups

A screenshot of Google Groups where users can connect.

You can use Google Groups to find a discussion about pretty much anything, from parenting to the latest Marvel comic book to politics.

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Google Video

A screenshot of Google Video

Google Video : movies, documentaries, videos, speeches, cartoons, news, and a whole lot more.

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Google Image Search

A screenshot of Google Image Search

You can use Google Image Search to find any kind of image you might be looking for. Use the drop-down menu to specify what size of image you're searching for, the safe search option to keep your image searches family-friendly (or not), or the Advanced Image Search to make your image searches as specific as possible.

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Google Site Search

A screenshot of Google Site Search

You can use Google to find something within a site. For example, if you typed election site:cnn.com, you would come up with all the video tips I've profiled here at About Web Search.

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Google Travel Search

A screenshot of Google Travel Search

You can use Google to plan travel, to track your flight status, or check conditions at an airport. Here's how it works:

Plan Travel: Just search for your trip. For example, search for "Nashville to Honolulu" to return pricing and availability for flights. You can accomplish the same thing for hotels by typing the name of your destination and "hotel." For example, "Honolulu hotels" (without the quotation marks). 

Flight Status: type in the name of the airline plus the flight number, for example, "united 1309" (without the quotes).

Airport Conditions: Type in the airport's three letter code followed by the word airport, i.e., "pdx airport" (without the quotes).

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Google Weather Search

A screenshot of Google Weather Search

Use Google to find the weather report anywhere in the world, simply and easily. Just type the name of the city you're looking up weather information for plus the word "weather" (without the quotes), and you'll get a quick forecast.

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Google Finance

A screenshot of Google Finance

You can use Google Finance to research stocks, find the latest market information, track financial news, and more.

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Google Calculator

A screenshot of Google Calculator

Need a quick answer to a math problem? Type it into Google and let the Google Calculator figure it out. Here's how it works:

Type a math problem into Google's search box, for example, 2(4*3) + 978=. Google will quickly make the needed calculations and give you the answer.