Using Google Effectively

If you don’t know the answer to a question, the chances are you will ‘just Google it’, right? But how efficiently are you using the search engine?

Millions of people use Google everyday, but I am constantly surprised at how little the majority of people really know about the different ways in which Google can give you a helping hand. Check out these great ‘hidden’ Google features to really make your web search pop:


As well as doing basic maths, Google’s calculator can do logarithmic calculations, and it knows constants (like e and pi), as well as functions like Cos and Sin.

Site Search

By using the 'site:' keyword, you can make Google only return results from one site. So for example, you could search for "site:guardian.co.uk iPhone" and only get stories on the Apple iPhone from the Guardian website.


Currency conversions and unit conversions can be found by using the syntax: <amount> <unit1> in <unit2>. So for example, you could type '1 GBP in USD', '20 C in F' or '15 inches in cm' and get an instant answer.

Time Zones

Search for 'time in <place>' and you will get the local time for that place, as well as the time zone it is in.


A quick way to translate foreign words is to type 'translate <word> to <language>'.

Specific File Type Search

If you know you are looking for a PDF or a Word file, you can search for specific file types by typing '<search term> filetype:pdf' or '<search term> filetype:doc'

Flight Status

If you type in a flight number, the top result is the details of the flight and its current status.

Film Showings

Search for film showings in your area by typing 'films' or 'movies' followed by your postcode. Unfortunately this only narrows down selections to towns and cities in the UK, not individual cinemas.

Weather Forecasts

Type the name of a city followed by 'forecast', and Google will tell you the weather, including levels of precipitation, humidity and wind, as well as the forecast for the next week, based on data from The Weather Channel.

Excluding Search Terms

When you enter a search term that has a second meaning, or a close association with something else, it can be difficult to find the results you want. Exclude irrelevant results using the '-' sign. So for searches for 'apple' where the word 'iPhone' is not used, enter 'apple -iPhone'.

Related Search

To search for web pages that have similar content to a given site, type 'related:' followed by the website address into the Google search box. For example, typing 'related:guardian.co.uk' gives a list of other UK newspaper websites.

Track Mail

If you have a package tracking number from the USPS, UPS or FedEx, simply plug it into Google Search and it will provide a convenient link for you.

Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are hidden pieces of code written in by mischievous web developers. They’re all over the web; you just have to know how to find them. Want some fun? Try typing in these search terms into Google:

Barrel Roll

Zerg Rush


In Google Images, type: Atari Breakout


Warning: these Google tricks are known to make grown men squeal with delight.

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