17 Hidden Features of Google Search You Probably Don’t Know About

1) Calculator

Google search has a calculator built into it. Simply Google a calculation, such as 10*5, and Google will not only give you the answer, but will also open up the calculator.Google also recognises, and can process, more natural input, such as typing “100 + 50%”, for those who struggle with percentages. For those who don’t know the computer symbols for multiplication and division, you can ask Google “what is 17 divided by 4?” and it will know what you’re asking and perform the calculation for you.

 

2) World Clock

If you ask Google what time it is in location X it will answer your query with the time in that location. I used to spend ages looking on world clock websites for the time in a certain place but now I no longer have to. I can just ask Google. Unfortunately, you cannot ask Google “if it’s time X in location Y what time is it in location A?” but to get the time in location around the world Google’s results are clear and simple.

3) Currency Converter

Need to figure out how much that new kickstarter project will cost you to back in your own currency? Simply ask Google! For our example we’ll ask Google “what is 99 USD in GBP?”. One of the other nifty features is if you don’t know the name of the currency you’re converting to but you know the name of the currency you’re starting with, all you have to type is the country’s name; for example type “what is 100 British pounds in Thailand?” and Google will convert the currency into the local currency for the country you requested.

4) Weather Forecast

Typing in “weather” will bring up the current weather conditions and the forecast for the week ahead locally into search, with the widget pictured below. Typing “weather in New York” for example will get Google to do the same thing for the requested location.  (Typically, though, if you live in the UK the weather will look rather rubbish most of the times…)

5) Unit Conversions

You can get unit conversions by asking Google; for example, we wanted to know what 100 cm would be in inches and Google answered us. Turns out it’s about 39 inches. This doesn’t just apply to distance, it’s also applicable to area, volume, weight and mass.

6) Sports Scores

Typing in your team name brings up the match schedule and scores from recent games. When I searched for Manchester United, Google brought up matches to be played soon on the left side of the screen and general information about the team on the right, including their manager, players, stock price and the league they play in. It also included other information, such as excerpts from Wikipedia.

7) Stock Quotes

By typing in the stock name of a company in search, Google offers you results about the stock quotes from that company; I searched for “goog” and it returned their stocks for today. This applies to any company on the stock market and you might find it incredibly useful.

8) Dictionary

Ever wondered what a word meant? So you googled for an online dictionary to get the definition of a word, right? No need. Add the word “define” before the word you want to get the definition of in Google search and Google will return a card with the words definition. In our example, after typing “define terminate” Google gave us a card with the words definition, a button to hear the word and what it means.

9) Translator

You can also ask Google to translate words and sentences into other languages. “Translate where is the train station to French” led Google to give us a card with the translation on it. This doesn’t seem much useful to everyone, but since this feature works on mobile like it does on desktop  anyone could find it invaluable when traveling.

10) Flights

Having to catch a flight or know a friend who’s flying? You can get their flight times, destination or how close the flight is to its destination in Google search. This can really help you when traveling, especially if you need to check for flight delays.

11) Parcel Tracking

This package returns no information because it’s fake, however if you type in the tracking number for UPS, FedEx or USPS packages Google will give you the information about the whereabouts of the package and the estimated time of arrival.

 

12) Film Showtimes

Type in the name of a film and the location you want to see it and Google will return play times about it, as well as a short synopsis, other basic information about the film and a link to the trailer.

13) Timer

Google can also behave like a timer!

14) Voice Search

All the searches we’ve above with our keyboard can in fact be done with our voice. If you are using Chrome and a microphone you can ask Google questions. For some queries (such as the time, the weather or calculations) Google will speak back to you. With machine learning and natural voice processing, Google voice search promises to get better over time. If you have used voice search in the past, you can easily realise how good it really is. It’s probably one of the most accurate speech recognition tools available at the moment.

15) Search by Image

With Google you can search by image. This tool allows you to find copies of an image on the internet and where they can be found. Not only that, but if there’s something (like an object or a face) recognisable in the image, such as the Eiffel Tower, Google search will recognise it and will search for the Eiffel Tower.

16) Cast Of

Cast of is part of the knowledge graph (more on that later) and one of the most useful features. Let’s say that while watching a film you can’t help but wonder who that guy is. Well, usually you go to IMDb to find that person, but now you have another option; you can Google it. Almost every person on this planet has a picture… which is great when looking for that guy.

17) Knowledge Graph

If you search for a person, place, thing or information, Google will come back with results in search, usually on the right hand side. They also appear as cards sometimes (asking certain questions will trigger these cards). Google’s servers crawl the web and use machine learning to find out information about different things (Google promises that this will get better over time, like an artificial brain).

Here is why knowledge graph is kind of amazing: This brain was once left to crawl YouTube during testing; when the magicians at Google took a look the next day it had learned what a cat was! It could recognise a cat in a YouTube video with almost an 80% success rate.  It took years and years of research for computers to learn human facial recognition and for a computer to learn what a cat looks like, with no specific instructions, is incredible.

This brain powers knowledge graph and over time this will grow and learn to recognise and understand more things. With all the information Google gathers from crawling the web, the maps project and the books project are well on their way to making the Star Trek computer. They also pull in results from Google+ and Google+ pages into search and maps.