Google Search Shortcuts

You probably use the Google search engine at least once a day, either for your own use or a patron’s. It’s so handy; thousands of answers are hovering at your finger tips, if only you could figure out the right way to ask for them. One of the most obvious Google shortcuts is predictive text. You’ve probably noticed the predictive text suggestions that appear as you begin typing in your request into the search bar. Sometimes this feature saves you the effort of typing the whole question in (use the arrow key to select the correct prediction, and hit enter) while other times, the predictions are laughably wrong. The following shortcuts are intended to make using the Google search engine quicker and even easier than it already is. In all cases, begin by going to the Google home page.

Time : You can easily find out what time it is in other parts of the world or time zones without going to a specialized website. Simply type in the word “time” and the name of the city or country. The search result will list the current time at that location for you!

Weather : Find out the weather for a particular location by typing in the word “weather” followed by the city and state, zip code, or city and country. The search result should show you the currect weather as well as a forecast for the next four days.

Dictionary : You won’t have to reach for the dictionary after you use this feature. Type in the word “define:”, a space, and then the word in question. The search results will list the common definitions for it from several different sources.

Synonyms : Type the tilde symbol “~” before the word for which you would like a synonym. For example, “~large”

Calculator : Google Search has a calculator built right into it! You won’t need to pull out a calculator or click three or more places on your desktop after this. Type your calculation into the Google search bar and then hit enter. Your answer should appear in the result list. You can also use the calculator for converting measurements and currency. Type in your conversion request by putting the original amount first, then use the word “in” and then type what you want it converted to. For example, “130 lbs in kg”.

Map : Type in the zip code for a map search without being in Maps. The search results will include a thumbnail map.

Flight Tracking : Discover whether a flight is on time, as well as more detailed infomration. Type in the airline name or code followed by a space and a flight number. If the flight number is valid, the search results will have a small icon of an airplane business and a brief status report. You should also be given a link that ill take you to more detailed information.

Package Tracking : You will need to have the tracking number of the package in order to do this search; if you do not have this number, you can get it from the shipping company. In the Google search bar, type in the name of the shipping company (ups, fedex, usps), a space, and then the long tracking number. If the tracking number is valid, the search results will have an icon of a package and a link that will take you to the website of the shipping company for full details.

Movies : You can even find out the show times for movies playing in your area. Type in the word “movies”, then a space, and your zip code. Or, if you have  a specific movie in mind, type in the film name followed by the zip code.

There are many more Google Search shortcuts. If you would like to continue exploring this topic, visit this website:

About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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