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11 brilliant tricks to search Google faster: flight times, unit converters and more

Find the information you want quicker with these tips

Google isn't the only search engine, but is so popular its name is used as a verb for finding what you want on the internet.

See also: 50 time-saving tips for Windows, Google, Gmail and Android

But we're willing to bet you don't know a lot of these tricks to get information even faster. You might have noticed a few pop up at the top of the search results list, but if you know what to type in the search box, you can sometimes avoid having to read through that list as the stuff you want is right there.

First, though, it's worth enabling Google Instant. It may be working already, but if it isn’t head to your preferences page (google.com/preferences) and make sure Always show Instant results is checked.

This displays search results as you type, predicting what you are searching for. Google says it can save 2-5 seconds per search, and we believe it. It might save you more time if you're a slow typist.

Google Instant is also great if you're not sure what you're searching for, or how to spell it.

You can also save time by setting Google as your home page, and yet more by using Google Chrome as its 'Omnibox' is effectively a Google search box, so you don't even need to visit Google.co.uk, or whichever is your local Google site.

See also: What's the best alternative web browser: don't stick with Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer

But, without further ado, here are the 20 best search tricks when searching Google.

1 - Unit conversion

When you need to convert one unit of measurement to another, just type: 1 pint in litres, 1GB in MB or 12 inches in cm. You can also convert temperature, area, mass, speed and time.

Google search tricks - Unit conversion

2 - Currency conversion    

This works just like the unit converter, but with currencies. To get up to date exchange rates, simply type $100 in pounds, and Google will understand. You'll also see a graph of the exchange rate for the last five years.

Google search tricks - Unit conversion

3 - Calculator

Google's calculator can handle pretty complex sums, not just the simple division here. You could, for example, type 13*8+(sqrt 87)= and you'd immediately get the answer.

Google search tricks - Calculator

4 - Weather

Need a local 24-hour local weather forecast? Just type weather Dulwich London and you'll get one. You can click the buttons to see the rainfall and wind speed and there's a 7-day forecast underneath.

Google search tricks - Weather

5 - Films

Don't spend time looking at each cinema's website: just type films Canterbury to see what's on locally. A map to the right shows where the cinemas are located, and you can click the trailer button if you're not sure whether you'll like the film.

Google search tricks - Films

6 - Hotels

Typing Hotels bude cornwall will bring up a 'Hotels in Bude Cornwall on Google' link with a short list below. Click the link to launch the handy Google hotel finder where you can narrow your search by price, star rating, amenities and more.

Google search tricks - Hotels

7 - Flight tracking

No need to visit an airline's website: all you need to do is type the flight number and Google will show the details including departure and arrival times along with the airports and terminal numbers. It will also show the progress of a current flight and whether or not it's delayed.

Google search tricks - Flight tracking

8 - Maps

You're probably getting the hang of this, so we hardly need to explain that you merely need to type Stratford-upon-avon map to get a map of Stratford-upon-avon. Clicking the thumbnail will take you to Google maps.

Google search tricks - Maps

9 - Package tracking

A nifty time-saving trick is to copy and paste your UPS or Fedex package tracking number into Google's search bar. Google will recognise which firm the number belongs to and all you need to do is to click the link to go straight to the company's website to see where your parcel is.

Google search tricks - Package tracking

10 - Sports scores

Type the name of your favourite football team or sport and you can quickly see fixtures, scores and standings.

Google search tricks - Sports scores

Type f1 calendar, for example and you can also see the schedule, with recent winners and even the time the next couple of races will start (in your local time).

Google search tricks - Sports schedules

11 - Stock quotes

To see the stock value of a company, either type its name followed by stock, or its short name (MSFT for Microsoft or APPL for Apple) and you'll see a graph along with the high and low figure for the period shown. The current value updates every few seconds.

Google search tricks - Stock quotes

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11 brilliant tricks to use in Google searches

Find the information you want quicker with these tips

Google has introduced many search 'widgets' recently, so you can get a weather forecast, check what's on at the cinema or even find a hotel without visiting another website. Here's how to use the best ones.

 

Google isn't the only search engine, but is so popular its name is used as a verb for finding what you want on the internet.

But we're willing to bet you don't know a lot of these tricks to get information even faster. You might have noticed a few pop up at the top of the search results list, but if you know what to type in the search box, you can sometimes avoid having to read through that list as the stuff you want is right there.

First, though, it's worth enabling Google Instant. It may be working already, but if it isn’t head to your preferences page (google.com/preferences) and make sure Always show Instant results is checked.

This displays search results as you type, predicting what you are searching for. Google says it can save 2-5 seconds per search, and we believe it. It might save you more time if you're a slow typist.

Google Instant is also great if you're not sure what you're searching for, or how to spell it.

You can also save time by setting Google as your home page, and yet more by using Google Chrome as its 'Omnibox' is effectively a Google search box, so you don't even need to visit Google.co.uk, or whichever is your local Google site.

But, without further ado, here are the 20 best search tricks when searching Google.

1 - Unit conversion

When you need to convert one unit of measurement to another, just type: 1 pint in litres, 1GB in MB or 12 inches in cm. You can also convert temperature, area, mass, speed and time.

2 - Currency conversion             

This works just like the unit converter, but with currencies. To get up to date exchange rates, simply type $100 in pounds, and Google will understand. You'll also see a graph of the exchange rate for the last five years.

3 - Calculator

Google's calculator can handle pretty complex sums, not just the simple division here. You could, for example, type 13*8+(sqrt 87)= and you'd immediately get the answer.

4 - Weather

Need a local 24-hour local weather forecast? Just type weather Dulwich London and you'll get one. You can click the buttons to see the rainfall and wind speed and there's a 7-day forecast underneath.

5 - Films

Don't spend time looking at each cinema's website: just type films Canterbury to see what's on locally. A map to the right shows where the cinemas are located, and you can click the trailer button if you're not sure whether you'll like the film.

6 - Hotels

Typing Hotels bude cornwall will bring up a 'Hotels in Bude Cornwall on Google' link with a short list below. Click the link to launch the handy Google hotel finder where you can narrow your search by price, star rating, amenities and more.

7 - Flight tracking

No need to visit an airline's website: all you need to do is type the flight number and Google will show the details including departure and arrival times along with the airports and terminal numbers. It will also show the progress of a current flight and whether or not it's delayed.

8 - Maps

You're probably getting the hang of this, so we hardly need to explain that you merely need to type Stratford-upon-avon map to get a map of Stratford-upon-avon. Clicking the thumbnail will take you to Google maps.

9 - Package tracking

A nifty time-saving trick is to copy and paste your UPS or Fedex package tracking number into Google's search bar. Google will recognise which firm the number belongs to and all you need to do is to click the link to go straight to the company's website to see where your parcel is.

10 - Sports scores

Type the name of your favourite football team or sport and you can quickly see fixtures, scores and standings. Type f1 calendar, for example and you can also see the schedule, with recent winners and even the time the next couple of races will start (in your local time).

11 - Stock quotes

To see the stock value of a company, either type its name followed by stock, or its short name (MSFT for Microsoft or APPL for Apple) and you'll see a graph along with the high and low figure for the period shown. The current value updates every few seconds.

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