Make Your Life Easier – 7 Super Useful Google Search Commands for Your Business
What happens when you google Google? Does the Internet really explode? (Spoiler alert:) No. In fact, who or what better to consult than Google on how to google? We’re all familiar with Google’s products: Maps, Chrome, Gmail, to name a few. The oldest and probably best-known Google product is Search, Google’s own search engine. Whether you’re using it professionally or for your personal benefit, Search can give you just about any answer to any question you could possibly think of. Why is that? Google uses AI (artificial intelligence) to better understand search queries with the purpose of improving its search function for its users. According to Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google LLC., this notion of “for everyone” is “built into [their] mission”.
Use these 7 Google search commands to
instantly find what you’re looking for
So, how can Google Search make your everyday business life easier? Let’s take a look at 7 useful commands you may have heard of but aren’t using yet:
1. Directly find your flights, track your parcels, calculate, or convert currencies
Did you know how straightforward it is to get the latest updates on anything, from your next business flight to a parcel you ordered? Or that Google can calculate your maths equations and convert all sorts of measurements in an instance? Try these out:
Find your flight: Simply enter your flight number into the Google search bar to find out whether your flight is on time or, in some cases, even which terminal it flies to or from.
Track your parcel: The same applies to postal services. You can directly enter any Royal Mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. tracking number to track your parcels.
No calculator handy? No problem. Use the Google search bar as your calculator on the go and type in those numbers, e.g.: 4 * 3 + 7. Google will give you the answer to your equation (= 19). It even has the ability to solve more complex equations such as trigonometric functions.
Convert between currencies (one that I use quite often): Type in e.g. “100 USD in pound” to receive your currency conversion. Side note: Google consults Morningstar for Currency and Coinbase for Cryptocurrency for this purpose. The same conversion principle applies to unit conversions: gramme to ounce, metre to foot, etc.
2. Use quotes to find exactly what you want
Using “quotes” in a Google search is referred to as exact match. By using this function, you’re not only telling Google what you want to search for, but also in which word order. Let’s say you’d like to research how much an automatic coffee machine for the office would cost: Typing
“automatic coffee machine”
into the Google search bar (rather than the same query without the quotes) will yield all results that feature “automatic coffee machine” in that precise word order. A huge time saver!
3. Use a dash to exclude words from your search
Let me use a real-life example of mine for this one: I regularly meet people who are unclear about the difference between translators and interpreters. The latter tend to be more known to the general public e.g. because of Nicole Kidman portraying one in the film “The Interpreter”. If you were to ask Google what an interpreter does or how to find one for your international business meeting, this is what you would type in the search bar:
Google now knows you would like to find out more about actual interpreters, not watch the above-mentioned film. As a result, it removes all search results including references to that (or any) film. This command is great for narrowing down ambiguous searches.
4. Find web pages that link to a specific page
This next command could be extremely useful if you’re doing research for your business. If you’re a marketer, for example, and would like to know who is talking about your company online, all you need to do is input
Link:[your company website]
and voilà: Within seconds, you’ll find out which web pages cited something about your business, one of its articles, etc. Find out what your competitors are doing using the same method – simply replace your website with a competitor’s website URL.
5. Find sites that are similar to other sites
This command is closely related to the one above. Let’s say you want to purchase a birthday present for a colleague of yours but you’re so close that you share an Amazon account. As a result, Amazon is not an option as it would spoil the surprise as soon as your colleague logs back in to your joint account. Type the following in the Google search bar:
Google will offer a variety of similar selling platforms for you to choose from and keep your shopping experience a secret. (Shush: Remember to delete your browser history).
6. Use an asterisk (*) as a placeholder
Do you ever get a song stuck in your head, also known as an earworm (or Ohrwurm in German)? They say the best way to “cure” an earworm is by finding the song and listening to it in full. But what if you only know a few bits of the lyrics? No worries! This is – again – an instance in which Google can easily help you. Type in the parts of the song that you do know and place a * (an asterisk) in between:
I can’t do this * no superman
The above example is taken from the intro song to my all-time favourite TV show Scrubs. The fully spelled out lyric is: “I can’t do this all on my own. No, I know, I’m no Superman”. For Google, it was enough to get a lyric extract and it still came up with the full song title, even a link to a YouTube video for you to jam along to for the rest of the day!
7. Learn more about the words you read and use
This one’s great for language nerds in particular: If you want to find out about the pronunciation, meaning, origin, usage, and even the history of a specific word, just enter into the search bar as follows:
A related search function is define. You would use this command to find out what a specific word means:
This will instantly give you a snippet of a word definition without you having to even click on one of the page’s search results.
Now you’re equipped with an array of commands to refine and accelerate your Google searches. Go ahead and have fun with it – you may even find some of these to be like a little game! If you’re interested in how Google uses your data, have a look at this video as well as many related resources. Remember that nothing is ever truly free: Google uses data to improve its products which, in turn, help its users more and more in future. As a result, we benefit from Google’s search function saving us tons of time, finding exactly what we’re looking for and making our lives a whole lot easier altogether.
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Thank you for reading!
Smiles all around,