When you’re the number one search engine in the world, life is easy. When life is easy, you tend to have some time on your hands. It therefore should not surprise you to find out that Google has some interesting features that you might not know about. Some of these are very useful, allowing us to find answers more efficiently. Some of them could not be less practical. Either way, you’ll probably impress your friends with at least one or two of them.
Useful: If you put the keywords “weather” or “time” followed by the name of a city into the search bar, you can quickly check either of these for many worldwide locales. Note: you might need to use an area code, state, or country to help narrow it down.
2. The Meaning of Life
Not useful: If you type “answer to life the universe and everything” into the Google search bar, Google will confidently inform you that the answer is exactly 42. For those of you that are not familiar with the reference, it’s a nod to the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the number 42 is the answer to Life’s Ultimate Question.
Useful: For all you sports fans out there, you can use Google to check recent scores and the next games on the schedule for specific teams. Just insert the name of the team into the search bar and the info should appear above the search results. For some franchises, other useful facts appear on the side of the page as well, such as roster information, championships won, current head coach, and stadium. No word yet on why they bothered to make a page for any of the teams from Cleveland.
4. Traveling in the Orient
Somewhat irrelevant: A lot of people know about this one, but it’s one of the best. Go to Google Maps and click the Get Directions button. Put China in the A Box and Japan in the B Box. Check out Step #38.
5. Unit Conversion
Useful: Google can do unit conversion for all kinds of measurements, including currency. As long as you phrase it correctly, the answer should appear instantly at the top of the page (and even in the search bar itself). Correct phrasing: “how many feet in kilometer,” or “seconds in a day.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for all units. When we tried to test it by asking how many jiffies there were in a leap year, Google failed to provide an immediate answer. Amateurs.
Fairly worthless: The next time you’re bored at work, type “Google gravity” into the search bar and click the link with that title (the site is safe). Once everything falls, you can play with the various things on screen by clicking and releasing to throw them around. Moving your browser window also jumbles everything up. By the way, you’re welcome.
7. Tracking Planes and Packages
Useful: If you’re a big fan of knowing the exact location of things at all times, you can track packages and flights directly from Google. For packages, all you have to do is type in a UPS, Fedex, or USPS tracking number. For flights, all you need to do is insert the name of the airline and the flight number.
Completely pointless: Go to the Google Translator tool (which you can find, conveniently enough, by typing “translator” into the search bar) and set it to translate from German to English. Then copy and paste “pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch” into the box and click on the sound button in the bottom right corner. It should sound like a guy beatboxing.
9. Quick Search
Useful: You can search for local restaurants, businesses, or other stores by typing in the category of the thing you’re looking for and the zip code of the location. A listing of relevant Google Places will show up for your perusal. Examples: “Italian food 33606” or “barber 22124.” This also works for movie times if you type in “movies” before the zip.
Does not advance humanity in any way: If you type “askew” into Google, the whole page will be at a funny angle. This is particularly entertaining unless you’re actually just trying to find information about the word “askew,” in which case it’s actually fairly annoying. This also works for “tilt.”
*Special YouTube Bonus*
If you get bored while waiting for your video to load, pause it. Then hold down the left arrow key for approximately three seconds. Now press the down arrow key. At this point you should be playing the classic game Snake, which rose to fame when cell phones were twice as large and still frequently used to make actual phone calls.
We’re sure you have some of your own. Let us know which ones we should have included!