19 Excellent Search Shortcuts to Make You a Better Googler

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
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In 2013, Googlers completed an average of 5,922,000,000 searches a day. That’s a lot of time spent by the world’s population looking for things online. Chances are, however, that they’re not using all the smart shortcuts the company has built into its search tool. Here are a few of the most useful ones, courtesy of Yahoo Tech:

1. Search within any site

Remember that one Atlantic article you read a while back about women’s confidence in the workplace — or something like that? The site itself might not have that great of a search tool, but that doesn’t mean you can’t precisely search the site yourself using Google’s engine. Simply preface your search with the website’s URL, a colon, and the phrase you’re searching for, like so:

atlantic.com: womens confidence workplace

Google will return pages only from atlantic.com, or whatever website you desire. This one will save you tons of time from scrolling through all the disorganized pages of older sites that don’t prioritize search.

2. Search for flights and flight information

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Say you want to check out what kind of flights are available from New York to Oslo, Norway. You can just type in “new york oslo flights,” and a little chart with flight dates, airlines, and prices will pop up below a few advertised results. It even separates nonstop flights from the less convenient ones. 

Or say you’re meeting someone at the airport. If you search for the name of the airline and the flight number, Google will immediately call up the flight’s progress, its estimated arrival time, and which terminal and gate it’ll pull into. No more sifting through dated airline websites or arriving an hour early to a delayed flight. 

And if you happen to just be, like, really into aviation, you can search for a plane’s tail number, something like N446PA, and it’ll show you photos of it and its registration info.

3. Convert things

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We were probably all taught to memorize various conversions in grade school: inches to centimeters, liters to cups, and so on. But as soon as the Internet came into existence, that information quickly disappeared from my mind. Now I rely on Google’s lightning-fast digital converter. It has pretty much every practical unit of measurement you could want in areas of length, temperature, mass, speed, volume, area, fuel consumption, time, and digital storage. Just type the units you want to convert from and to — like “148 pounds to kilograms” or “200 MPH to KPH” — and Google will give you the auto-converted result. You can browse the categories by clicking on the arrow button at the top-right corner of the box, and the arrows below the numbers to switch between specific units. 

4. Track the value of currency

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Perhaps you’re headed to Europe this summer and want to know how far you can stretch your hard-earned dollars there. Just type in “dollars to euro” or “dollars in 57 euros” and the results will immediately pop up. There’s even a graph on the right, demonstrating the way the foreign currency has compared to the dollar over the years.

5. Find movies playing nearby and what time they’re playing

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The days of Moviefone are long gone thanks to this handy shortcut. Enter your ZIP code next to the word “movies” and Google will bring up all the films showing nearby your current location. It will even bring up a map to show the distance between each theater and your location. Not quite sure what you want to see? You can click Trailer and do some browsing.

If you already have your sights set on a specific movie, you can just enter the movie’s name in your browser, and Google will list the times it’s playing in the theaters closest to you.

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6. Track packages

This one is particularly wowing, as I just assumed my shipping company was the only entity privy to my package’s whereabouts. All you need to do is copy your order’s tracking number (which you can usually grab in a purchase confirmation email) and paste it into the search bar and boom: Google shows you exactly where your package is on its journey to your home. This works for anything sent by FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.

7. Calculate whatever you want

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Google’s calculator is quite capable, but it’s important to note that the actual symbols are a little different. On computers, the multiplication sign is denoted by a star (*) and the division sign is replaced with a forward slash (/). 

If you search for 

100*3.14-cos(83)=

That means you’re searching for 100 times 3.14 minus the cosine of 83. 

8. Determine the time zone

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This is especially helpful if you have friends in disparate parts of the world. For instance, sometimes I want to chat with my college pal in Israel, but I can never keep track of the time difference between there and New York. I’ll just open a tab and Google “Israel time” and it’s the first thing I see.

9. Translate Roman numerals

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When the NFL decided it would cut the Roman numerals out of its 50th Super Bowl logo, it also doomed them to obscurity. So this little-known shortcut is helpful to those of us who’ve given up on trying to memorize what the symbols translate to.

Type “132 in roman and Google will convert it to numerals. It works the other way around as well. 

10. Search within a range

Maybe you’re deal-hunting online and want to take a quick litmus test of what you can get within a certain price range. Simply type in the product and then the range (with two periods in between) in single quotes. For example, “samsung tv ‘$300..500’

11. Get weather, sunset/sunrise times

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As long as you allow your browser to access your location, you can type “weather” into the browser, and a graphic of the day’s temperature will pop up below. That, along with the week’s forecast, powered by the Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and AccuWeather.

The same goes when searching for “sunset” or “sunrise.”

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12. Find release dates for movies, games, and music

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Websites dedicated to movies and games don’t always slap the release date right up front so you can see it. So just ask Google instead by entering the title of the item you’re looking for, plus “release or “premiere,”and it’ll show up. For instance “fault in our stars release" brings up the date and graphic above. The accompanying photo is always helpful to confirm you’ve found the right result, especially when you’re looking up a show with a generic name such as “Girls.”

This also works if you want to search for the latest release by a musician. Just type the name of the group or person plus “latest album.”

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13.  Find the current score of any sports game

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If you can’t catch a game but really want to know the score, you can find real-time updates for any team you Google.

Just type in a team such as “tampa bay rays.” You’ll see the score of their game, down to the inning, and whom they’re playing. If you click the arrow below, you can see the scores and competitors from past games. This will be particularly helpful once the World Cup starts.

If you want to see the roster of a particular team, just look up the sports team plus “roster.” For instance, “tampa bay rays roster.” The names and photos will show up at the top of your page for you to scroll through.

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Also, as a fun little bonus, you can type in the team name plus “mascot”and an info card will tell you his/her/its name.

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14. Define, translate, or find synonyms and antonyms for words

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This one is pretty self-explanatory! Just type “define loquacious” (or whatever word you’re curious about). The definition will come up first, along with the word’s synonyms and antonyms. Click the arrow below the definition card to learn its origin, translate it, or see its pattern of use over time.

15. Search your stock

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You can search for most stock by typing its ticker code. That works for especially unique symbols such as GOOG, but if you’re looking up American Apparel’s ticker code (APP), you might have to add a money symbol ahead of it. So your final search would look like this: $APP. 

16. Chase quakes

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People who’ve lived in earthquake-prone territories have probably felt the ground shake and rushed to see if it was just a large gust of wind or they should take cover. For the record, you should probably always take cover. But if you want to know what kind of magnitude you’re dealing with, simply typing “earthquake” will show you the most recent occurrences near you, their locations, and their strength.

17. Look up basic facts about people and places

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Google can usually tell you the birth and death dates of famous people and all the basic facts about a location and its inhabitants, using information sourced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

18. Search for your own IP address

No seriously. Just type “ip address” into the search bar, and your public address will appear.

19. And last but not least, learn about dog breeds

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If you search a particular dog breed plus the word “temperament,” you’ll get a word cloud that describes what they’re like. It’s kinda great.

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