Vail tech bytes: Google does more than search | VailDaily.com

Vail tech bytes: Google does more than search

Jessie Williams

VAIL, Colorado –Autumn in Colorado’s Vail Valley signals a time of significant change in the world around us – aspen trees light up the hillsides in golden designs, the weather can shift from 80 degrees to snow in a matter of hours, children are heading back to school and all around people and businesses are putting away their summer gear in anticipation of the upcoming winter season.

Just as the autumn season brings dramatic change to the world around us, the same can be said for the world of technology – constantly changing, shifting and evolving.

In this new, weekly column it’s my goal to help you navigate this ever-changing world of technology by keeping you up-to-date on the latest tech news and helping you make the most of the technologies that you already have. I’ll give you tips and tricks for using every day software more efficiently; explore new, must-have gadgets; and introduce you to some Web sites that you just have to check out. I hope this column will be a resource for both technophiles and technophobes alike.

Internet searchers know that Google can be useful for finding Web sites that match a user’s keywords, but did you know that the Google search bar can be used to find out much more information than just related sites? This week we’ll take a look at some of Google’s operators.

Calculator

Have you ever found yourself searching around your desk drawers for a calculator, or trying to find the calculator app on your computer? Well, now look no further than your Google search page. All you need to do is type the equation into your search bar, hit enter, and voila, the Google results page will display the answer.

The calculator can do basic functions using the +,-,* and / keyboard symbols, and it can also do powers (^) percentages of (% of), and square roots (sqrt). If you’re working on some trigonometry homework, it will even recognize sin, cos, ln, log and more.

Converter

In addition to solving equations, the Google search bar can also be used to do unit conversions. Say for instance you need to know how many liters are in one gallon. Simply type in “one gallon to liter,” and the search results page will tell you. Want to know kilometers to miles, furlongs to knots, megabytes in a gigabyte, grams to pounds, Euros to dollars? Just put the quantity and units into the search engine bar, and Google will output the answer.

Weather

Wondering what the weather will be like this weekend? Google has the answer. Type the word “weather” followed by the city and state (or country) into the search bar (ex. weather vail, co) and you’ll instantly have access to current temperatures, wind and humidity conditions, as well as the highs and lows for the next four days.

Stocks

Google can also tell you how your stocks are doing. Type the stock symbol (ex. GOOG, AAPL) into the search bar, hit enter, and you’ll have access to current quotes and a graph of how the stocks have done throughout the day, as well as links to finance sites with more information on your holdings.

Flights

Expecting company and wondering if their flight is on time? Type in the airline and flight number (ex. AA 401) in the search bar, and you’ll have real-time tracking results. Want to book a flight and check all of the discount Web sites at once for the cheapest tickets? Type the word “flight,” then the departure and arrival city (ex. flight Denver to Milwaukee) and hit enter. Now enter your date range, and then open each of the listed Web sites in a new window or tab in your browser and compare to find the best rate.

World Time

To find the current time in any part of the world, type in the word “time,” followed by the location (ex. time Madrid, Spain) and hit enter.

Sports

Miss the last game your favorite team played, and want to quickly find the score? Just type the name of the team into the search bar (ex. Denver Broncos) and you’ll be given stats from the last game, as well as who and when they play next.

and more…

Can’t remember what that big word means? Type “define” and then the word (ex. define technophile), and get definitions from a number of different online dictionaries. Want to track your shipped packages? Input the tracking code and be connected to the tracking results automatically.

Have an unknown area code on your list of missed calls? Enter the area code into the search bar and Google will tell you where the area code originates. And finally, want to know more tricks? Type in “Google operators” and you’ll get a number of helpful sites to learn more.

Jessie Williams is the owner of SecondOctober Media (www.secondoctober.com) a graphic design and Web development firm in Edwards. She can be reached at info@secondoctober.com.