In our last newsletter we discussed a number of operations, or tips, to simplify and improve your search results with Google. Internet searches are, however, only one function that Google performs. In fact, Google is capable of performing a very large number of operations, quite apart from searches.

Google can perform simple and complex arithmetical operations and statistics, track your packages sent by UPS, spell check, find word definitions, and find your stock quotes on the stock exchange, just to name a few. In this newsletter we would like to introduce a few of these functions – some of the more practical ones – that Google can perform for you.

All this operation requires is that you enter the calculation you would like done into the search field. For example, if you enter 2+2 in the search field, the calculation and resulting answer 2+2=4 appears just below the search field. Google can, of course, handle much more complicated math functions. When you can’t find your calculator, this can be super helpful.

Unit Conversion
How may kilometres to a mile? How may kilograms in a ton? Google can help with this as well. Just type in the conversion you want and the results will be delivered below the search field. This can be very handy when a contractor or supplier quotes a price in one unit, but you operate in a different one. It can save a costly mistake!

Currency Conversion
In line with the unit conversion, Google can also perform currency conversion. It is a very easy way to get a reasonable idea of the value one currency has relative to another. It is useful if you’re dealing with a foreign business or if you’re planning that trip abroad and need this information right away. Google’s foreign currency rates are provided by Citibank N.A. It should be cautioned, however, that these rates are not binding and may differ between banks and currency exchangers.

Flight Tracking
Simply type in the airline and the flight number and Google can track the flight you’re interested in using For example, type in Air Canada 280 – Calgary to Winnipeg. This site will tell you the departure and arrival times; whether the flight is on time, and even if it has departed. Upon departure, this site will also track the flight’s progress on a Google map so you can see exactly where the flight is. This information is consistent with Air Canada’s flight information for the same flight.

Need the definition of a word? Google can do this too. To find the definition, simply type the word define, a space, then the word(s) you want defined i.e. [ define spam ]. To see a list of different definitions from various online sources, you can type define: (with a colon), followed by a word or phrase i.e. [ define:spam ]. Note that the results will define the entire phrase if a phrase is used.

As you can see, Google has proven itself to be a leader in extracting the voluminous data of the world wide web and presenting it to the user in ways that are easy to understand and very useful. There are many more operations Google is capable of performing than what we have discussed. We have presented only a few of the commonly used ones. Give these a try and see how they can make life a bit easier and faster for you.