Google’s search engine is simple but powerful.

Google’s search engine is simple but powerful.

As a number of entries on this blog will attest to, the technicians in our office are huge fans of Google, finding its robust array of web-based products to be superior to alternatives – even those based on a subscription model — that one might otherwise use.  Driven by a clear understanding of what the end user is looking for, Google’s innovations speak to their drive to make our use of the internet as comfortable as possible. It all began with their search engine, the most popular and highest rated of its kind.

Below, you’ll find a number of tips that aid you in the process of searching with Google’s engine, making your use of this tool more efficient in both the time spent and the results its use brings.  Whether you’re looking the latest movie showings in your area or searching for a specific document to aid in research, these tips will make those tasks all the more simple to complete.

Locating various types of files:

Many of you scour the internet for files of varying types, from PDF files to simple documents. You might be a student in need of something to reference from, or a salesman looking to land a huge account. No matter the need, the internet is home to a myriad number of documents that may aid in your effort. Searching for that right one can be daunting, with the process often seeing you pore over each result that’s returned from your search. On any particular subject, the search can be easily narrowed by entering the following in the search field: [insert subject of research] filetype:[insert type of file].

For instance, if I’m looking for research study on underage drinking, I might input:

Underage drinking filetype:PDF

As you might see, doing so results in thousands of PDF files that pertain to the issue you’ve specified.

Retrieving definitions of words:

Another great tip, especially for those who might scratch their head at the use of a certain word in an article they’re reading, is to use Google’s search engine as a dictionary. Instead of always visiting Dictionary.com or keeping a pocket dictionary on you, you can simply type: define [insert word].

This will instantly show you that word’s definition. Not only with words in the dictionary, this tool will supply the meaning of other forms of language – slang, abbreviations, scientific terminology.

An instant forecast:

Looking to travel to California? Visiting your parents down south? Wondering if you’re going to start the week on a rainy day? Google makes it easy to check the weather in any region, no matter how remote. All it takes is the region you’re inquiring about and the term “weather.”

We’re located in Boston, MA. Typing “Boston weather” in the search engine field reveals that it’s currently 60 degrees outside, with similar temperatures expected tomorrow. Like any forecast,  its accuracy is up for debate, but it’s always helpful to receive an idea of mother nature’s temperament.

Finding movies playing in your area:

While this is a bit different from the other shortcuts, bypassing your use of the search engine, locating new movies playing in your area is as simple as typing www.google.com/movies in your address bar. Including both the latest blockbuster releases to those obscure independent films that are playing at only a select number of locations, this page lists all of the movies, sorting them by the cinema – which is listed according to the zipcode that is associated with the IP address from which you’re searching – and the movies’ showtimes. If you click on the name of the movie, it lists every location at which that particular film is featured.

In closing, these are just a few of the shortcuts that I use, some more frequent than others. There are plenty more where those came from, and we’ll touch upon them at a later point. As Google builds upon its interface, Geek Choice will continue to keep you informed about how you can put its convenient features to use.

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Comment (1)

  • Phil Frisbie, Jr. Reply

    I keep an open mind and periodically check other search engines, but Google keeps me coming back!

    Oh, and those tips were a great refresher.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm

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