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Timesaving Google Tricks

If you already know and use these tricks, that’s great!  But they’re handy enough to be worth mentioning again for those who might not know these neat little timesavers.

Definitions and spelling:
I’m betting libraries already know about and have bookmarked at least one online dictionary (Dictionary.com for example), but did you know if you just need a quick definition you can ask Google?  Enter “define” followed by the word you want to know and right at the top of the results will be “Web definitions for”.  It’s handy if you’ve already got Google open and, if you need more detailed results, links to the definition in most of the major dictionary sites are found just below Google’s definition.

Have a word you’re trying to spell but spellcheck is being completely non-helpful?  Not close enough to the right spelling to get a hit on an online dictionary and in too much of a hurry to go digging out the paper version?  Try entering the word in Google.  Their “Did you mean” entries often will have the correct spelling.  You can also ask their spellcheck directly by entering “spell:<word>” if just entering the word does not get you a suggestion.  For example, searching for “supercalifragalisticexpealidocious” gets you a list of other pages where they’ve misspelled it as well, but asking “spell: supercalifragalisticexpealidocious” gets you the “Did you mean” entry with the correct spelling: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  And I was so close too.

Math and measurements:
Instead of navigating through the menus to pull up the calculator in Windows or starting up Excel, you can enter simple math problems directly into the Google search and get the answer.  So if you need to find what is 1253*4575, just enter that in the search bar and you’ll get the answer (5732475). 

On a related note, you can also do that with conversions of measurements and currency.  So if you want to know how many inches there are in a mile, enter “mile to inches”.  Same holds true for cups in a gallon or dollars to a pound.  You can even enter "$1000 dollars in pounds" to have Google do all of the math for you.

Removing or limiting sites searched:
Want to remove all Wikipedia results from a search?  How about eBay listings?  Instead of going into Google’s Advanced Search page, you can add either “-<site name>” (-wikipedia) or “-site:<URL>” (-site:wikipedia.org) to the end of your search and automatically remove all search results coming from that site.  Often you can just use the shorter “-<site name>” but if that doesn’t work, use the full “-site:<URL>”.  This can also be helpful if you’re looking for information and reviews for a product but don’t want to wade through all of the price comparison sites.  You can even add more than one to filter out multiple sites at once.

Conversely, if you only want to search for results in one site, you can use “site” to specify which site you wish to search.  So adding –site:wikipedia.org will remove all Wikipedia entries but adding site:wikipedia.org will only return results from Wikipedia.  Can come in handy when you’re trying to find something you know is on a specific site when the site doesn’t have a search of its own and hopefully saves you the time of having to poke around in the site yourself.

And now after giving you a few neat Google timesavers, here’s a couple of fun Google timewasters:
Google in Klingon: http://www.google.com/intl/xx-klingon/
Google ala the Swedish Chef: http://www.google.com/intl/xx-bork/


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Nifty. I didn't know about the "removing or limiting sites searched" tricks -- I can see that coming in very handy!

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