20 Google Tips and Tricks

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Google isn't just for researching information, finding the nearest bar, or viewing the popularity of your own name (c'mon, we know you do it). There's so much more you can do. For example, you can use Google's apps to check gas prices in your area, view street-level images of major cities, track packages, get flight statuses, etc.

Odds are you're spending a lot of time on Google (we know we do) and we want it to be time well spent, so we asked the Google experts to compile a list of helpful Google Search tips and tricks, as well as shortcuts for Google Maps and Google Earth. These 20 Google tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your daily Web routine.—Next: Google Maps and Earth >

Google Maps and Earth

1. Sky: Browse the universe at sky.google.com. Also available in Google Earth.

2. Search nearby: If you find a destination on the map—say, a hotel—in the info bubble, you can "search nearby" to find the businesses and attractions close by.

3. Use business name/category in directions search: Instead of looking up the address of a store and then having to get directions from one to the other, simply type "deli mountain view, ca TO ice cream mountain view ca," and the search results will provide you with a list of businesses to choose from and provide directions from point to point.

4. Public transit directions: Plan trips using public transportation at google.com/transit. For cities where transit is available, a search for directions will also provide the option for directions using public transit.

5. My Maps: Create your own maps by adding lines, markers, pictures, and videos to a Google Map. You can also collaborate on maps with friends (or the public), and make it publicly available or private.

6. Check gas prices: With mapplets like GasBuddy, you can see gas prices throughout your area. Go to maps.google.com, select "My Maps", and browse the directory for "Gas Prices by GasBuddy.com." There are plenty other useful and fun tools in the directory, such as AccuWeather.com Weather Snapshot, Area Calculator, and Real Estate Search.

7. Check traffic: In many cities across the country, Google provides real-time traffic information. For instance, type in "New York, NY" and click the "Traffic" button in the upper-right corner of the map to view traffic patterns, road closures, and construction sites. This feature is also available in Google Maps for Mobile.

8. Street view: View and navigate high-resolution, 360-degree street-level images of various U.S. cities. Just click the Street View button and drag the "person" icon onto a blue outlined street. Street View is also available for driving directions and in Google Earth.

9. Editing Google Maps: You can now add or edit business listing information to Google Maps.

10. Weather in Google Earth: Get weather forecasts, conditions, clouds, and radars in the "Weather" folder in the Google Earth layer menu.—Next: Google Tips 11-20 >

Google Search

11. Weather: To see weather conditions and a four-day forecast for any U.S. location, type "weather" and a city or zip code. For example: "weather 94114" or "weather Kansas City KS."

12. Movies: Find movie info by typing "movies," or the name of a current film, into the Google search box along with your location (city and state or zip code). For example, "Sex and the City Atlanta GA" or "movies 02459."

13. Area codes: Enter an area code in the Google search box to see the location of a phone number.

14. Package tracking: Enter the tracking number of a package from FedEx, UPS, DHL, or USPS into the search box.

15. Flight status: Check the status of a U.S. flight by typing the name of the airline followed by the flight number. For example, to see the status for United Airlines flight 134, search for "United 134."

16. Measurement conversions: You can get height, weight, and cooking measurement conversions. For instance, type "2 liters to cups" to see how many cups are in two liters.

17. Currency conversions: Google's built-in currency converter. Simply enter the currency conversion into the search box. For example, "80 pounds to dollars."

18. Calculator: Supports basic and advanced operations. Just type an equation into the search box.

19. Definitions: Type "define" followed by a word in the Google search box to get the definition, like "define perspicacity." You can also do this via SMS.

20. Q&A: Ask a fact-based question or query ("population of Japan") by typing it into the Google search box. You'll see the answer at the top of your search results as well as a link to the source to find out more.

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