Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doodle 4 Google - India winner

Let’s face it – most of us don’t look past page 1 of the results of a Google search. If possible, we’d like to not even scroll down beyond the top 2-3 results pulled from all over the web by Google. We search for info, we search for places, we ask Google some questions, we look for decent photos of cars/bikes/celebrities to find wallpapers for our computers… Google, as a company, has built tremendous loads of functionality into their search engine at www.google.com, that it’s sad that many of us fail to use it, most of the time.

These tips would save us a few seconds at most, while some of these tips wouldn’t save more than a second or so; but since people are really lazy and impatient (Yeah, most of us truly are!) we love these tips for giving us shorter waiting times, lesser clicks and most of all, something cool to “wow” our friends with.

Tip #1: Definition searches

Google Define Gregarious

This here, is the one feature that some of us use the most. It’s simple. When your high-talking friend spouts complicated words such as “gregarious”, all you need to do is open up Google.com in your web browser and type the search query – define:gregarious – and Voila! you’ve got yourself several definitions from the top online sources.

Tip #2: Site searches

Google site search

Sometimes, we are looking for a particular webpage from a particular website, say the Our Recommends article from The Indian Geek website. If you Google for Our Recommends : Smartphones, you actually do get our article as the first hit – but what if you didn’t? Simple. Head over to www.google.com and type out – Our recommends : smartphones site:www.theindiangeek.com – and your search just got much easier.

Tip #3: Calculator

Google calculator

Believe it or not, some of us are so lazy that we don’t even open up the Calculator utility in Windows; we simply use Google. Type in any calculation, such as 56 * 67 – 45, in a Google search box, and you’ll have the result instantly. Yeah, this is very useful for lazy people!

Tip #4: Currency Conversion

Google currency converter

A must-have for the Indian consumer who reads of tonnes of gadgets online, and all prices are presented in dollars ($). All you have to do to get instant conversions, is to type something like this in a Google search query – 199 USD in INR – that’s USD for US Dollar and INR for Indian Rupee. And now, you’ll know the cost of the iPhone 4 16 GB in Indian rupees, minus the taxes and that hefty two year contract with AT&T.

Tip #5: Search Operators (+, –, *, “”)

Google wildcard site search

The plus symbol is useful when you don’t want Google to search for synonyms. Since Google searches for synonyms (a search for Honda IN would return results also for Honda India), if you want to search for an exact term, then precede it with a plus sign, with no space, such as +Google.

The minus symbol can be used to exclude certain search terms. A search for Windows –houses –homes –doors will search for pages containing the word “windows” but leave out pages which contain those three following words. This operator can be used to exclude sites from search results, when combined with the site: tag.

The * wildcard operator is useful when you want to return results, but with varying word searches inbetween. For example, the best use of this is when you want to search a website (as big as HP or Microsoft) and you don’t know which sub-domain the result will be on. So use <search query> site:*.hp.com to return results from all sub-domains of the HP website.

Double quotation marks are useful when you want to search for an exact set of words. A Google search for The Indian Geek would return website results with pages which have The Indian Geek, Indian and Geek. On the other hand, a Google search for “The Indian Geek” will return only results that contain the three words – The Indian Geek – strung together.

 

Some of these tips would come in handy everyday; while others, may be useful once in a while. And perhaps, you, the reader knew all these tips and more before you even started reading this article. In that case, please chime in below in the Comments section, with your own tips and other neat stuff that our beloved search engine can do.

The Google logo used at the beginning of this article is the prize-winning entry for the Doodle for Google competition, which was conducted across the country; it was featured as Google’s logo for the Indian website on children’s day – November 14th, 2010. A full list of all Google doodles can be found here.

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