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google tips

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  • Mary Arthur
    David Pogue is a computer journalist for the NYT and CBS. He writes: Meeting the Googlers Set the TiVo! This Sunday morning, CBS News Sunday Morning will
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2004
      David Pogue is a computer journalist for the NYT and CBS. He writes:

      Meeting the Googlers

      Set the TiVo! This Sunday morning, "CBS News Sunday Morning" will
      begin with my report on Google, the Web search page-slash-cultural
      deity that's expected to go public this Spring — the biggest in
      high-tech history, with a valuation as high as $25 billion.

      It was a real kick to interview Google's executives and staff. Along
      the way, I asked each interview subject to name their favorite Google
      tips and tricks.

      Few of the tricks made it into the TV segment — but you, the shrewd
      subscriber to this newsletter, get them hot off the press.

      • Download and install the Google toolbar. Not only does it put the
      Google search box into your browser full-time, but it also blocks
      pop-up ads and fills in forms for you. For Windows at
      http://toolbar.google.com. (Ad blocking, form-filling and Google's
      search box are already built into the Apple's Web browser, Safari.)

      • Phrase your question in the form of an answer. "After all, you're
      not looking for Web pages that ask your question," explains director of
      technology Craig Silverstein. "You're looking for pages that answer

      So instead of typing, "What is the average rainfall in the Amazon
      basin?", you might get better results by typing "The average rainfall
      in the Amazon basin is."

      • This is an old one, but very important: Put quotes around phrases
      that must be searched together. If you put quotes around "electric
      curtains," Google won't waste your time finding one set of Web pages
      containing the word "electric" and another set containing the word

      • Similarly, put a hyphen right before any word you want screened out.
      If you're looking up dolphins, for example, you'll have to wade through
      a million Miami Dolphins pages unless you search for "dolphins -Miami."

      • Google is a global White Pages and Yellow Pages. Search for
      "phonebook:home depot norwalk, ct," Google instantly produces the
      address and phone number of the Norwalk Home Depot. This works with
      names ("phonebook:robert jones las vegas, NV") as well as businesses.

      Don't put any space after "phonebook." And in all of the following
      examples, don't type the quotes I'm showing you here.

      • Google is a package tracker. Type a FedEx or UPS package number
      (just the digits); when you click Search, Google offers a link to its
      tracking information.

      • Google is a calculator. Type in an equation ("32+2345*3-234=").
      Click Search to see the answer.

      • Google is a units-of-measurement converter. Type "teaspoons in a
      gallon," for example, or "centimeters in a foot." Click Search to see
      the answer.

      • Google is a stock ticker. Type in AAPL or MSFT, for example, to see
      a link to the current Apple or Microsoft stock price, graphs, financial
      news and so on.

      • Google is an atlas. Type in an area code, like 212, to see a
      Mapquest map of the area.

      • Google is Wal-Mart's computer. Type in a UPC bar code number, such
      as "036000250015," to see the description of the product you've just
      "scanned in." (Thanks to the Google Blog, http://google.blogspace.com,
      for this tip and the next couple.)

      • Google is an aviation buff. Type in a flight number like "United 22"
      for a link to a map of that flight's progress in the air. Or type in
      the tail number you see on an airplane for the full registration form
      for that plane.

      • Google is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Type in a VIN (vehicle
      identification number, which is etched onto a plate, usually on the
      door frame, of every car), like "JH4NA1157MT001832," to find out the
      car's year, make and model.

      • For hours of rainy-day entertainment, visit http://labs.google.com.
      Here, you'll find links to new, half-finished Google experiments-like
      Google Voice, in which you call (650) 623-6706, speak the words you
      want to search for and then open your browser to view the results.
      Disclaimer: It wasn't working when I tried it. (Ditto a lot of these

      • Poke around the "Services & Tools" link on the Google.com home page
      and you'll find some of the better-known lesser-known Google features,
      if that makes any sense.

      For example, there's Froogle (product search), News, Groups (Internet
      discussion boards), Google Catalogs (hundreds of scanned-in product
      catalogs), Images (find graphics and photos from other people's Web
      sites), Blogger (publish your own online journal), Google language
      translation, Google Answers (pay a couple of bucks to have a
      professional researcher find the answers for you) and much more.

      Pretty soon you'll need Google just to search Google!

      Visit David Pogue on the Web at DavidPogue.com.

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