8 cool things you can do on Google
I love geeks. I particularly love the ones over at Google (who we’re partnered with, by the way). Not only are they so awe-inspiringly smart, I admire their sense of humour and appreciate the fact that their handy inventions make life a little simpler and procrastinating more fun
I will forever be indebted to the search engine giant’s “synonyms” and “define” features for saving me from writer’s block at uni, as well as their Google Maps tool for keeping me entertained; it’s always nice to know you can take a virtual trip to the Antarctic to look at the penguins. Every once-in-a-Google moon, the geniuses put their algorithm-changing, user-enhancing, spam-fighting activities on hold to create something weird, wonderful or useful. Who said computer geeks were boring? Not me! Here are 8 more cool things you can do on Google, which I’m pretty fond of…
1. Let me Google that for you (LMGTFY)
For those people in the office who are right in front of a computer, but find it more convenient to bother you with a question rather than ask Google and get an answer in 0.22 seconds, Google invented the wonderfully facetious ‘Let me Google that for you’ tool. You simply type the question that you’ve just been asked into the tool’s search bar and press the “Type a question. Click a button” button. This generates a link to the answer to your lazy colleague’s question, which you can email to them. Voilà! Point proven. Who said the art of conversation is dead?
2. Film reviews
Fancy watching a film, but not sure what’s on at the cinema? Google Movies has got you covered. Just head over to Google.com/movies and you’ll be presented with a list of films and screening times at the cinemas closest to your current location. Or, if there’s a flick you think you might like to see, but you’re wary of wasting your time and popcorn money on it, simply type the name of the film into the search bar and hit enter. Google’s search results will present you with an information-rich box, featuring ratings, a release date, running time, images of the cast, movie stills and a film blurb along the right-hand side of the page. Here’s an example from when I typed in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”:
In the same search, Google presents further information at the top left-hand side of the page, including a link to the film’s trailer and location-specific information, such as local cinemas that screen the film.
3. Google Books Ngram Viewer
The Google Books geeky Ngram viewer tool lets you analyse the rise and/or fall of a specific keyword or keywords over a 500-year time span. You can search for one keyword to view its history or search for a few to compare their popularity. Here’s an example of a search for just one keyword, ‘digital’:
To compare the popularity of two keywords, simply add a comma in between each one. Click on the dates at the bottom of the page to be directed through to search results, which contain Google books written within that specified era. This is a valuable tool for gathering research data and gaining cultural insights.
4. Think With Google
Think With Google is one of my favourite recent discoveries; it’s a huge help when doing research for articles and it’s a great resource for anyone in the digital marketing industry. The site is brimming with insights, trends and research in digital marketing as well as inspiration, statistics, industry intelligence and best practices for businesses. The drop-down menus along the top of the page allow you to narrow your research down by industry, marketing objective and ad types. The ‘perspectives’ tab gives you free, unlimited access to viewpoints from industry professionals, while the ‘creative sandbox’ rounds up the top creative ideas within the technology industry – a great source of inspiration.
5. Weather forecast
Is it a shorts day or a jeans day? Google knows. Simply type “weather” into the search bar and you will be presented with a comprehensive weather guide, featuring details of precipitation levels, humidity and wind speed in your area.
6. Make Google beatbox
Go to Google Translate and paste the following text into the translation box:
pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpvpvzk kkkkk bsch
Translate it into German and press the ‘listen’ button (which will now say ‘beatbox’ when you hover over it). Thanks to whoever had too much time on their hands and discovered that little gem.
7. Cool tricks
“Do a barrel roll”, “zerg rush” “tilt” and “askew”, “elgooG”. If you haven’t already typed these into Google, you should do it now. Anyone who’s played Nintendo’s Star Fox game will understand the barrel roll. ‘Zerg rush’ makes Google’s ‘oo’s act like zerglings from the Starcraft game. ‘Tilt’ and ‘askew’ are pretty self-explanatory.
8. Adjust ‘reading level’
Google’s ‘Reading Level’ option is a handy tool to know about, particularly if you have children or you’re researching a particularly complex topic. For the sake of this example, I will use the phrase ‘digital marketing’ to show you how it works, if you don’t know already.
- Type ‘digital marketing’ into Google’s search bar and hit enter. Along the tabs close to the top of the page, select ‘search tools’. This presents another drop-down menu.
- Along the tabs close to the top of the page, select ‘search tools’. This presents another drop-down menu.
- Select ‘Reading Level’ and ta-dah! – you’re presented with the option to narrow the results down to either ‘Basic’, ‘Intermediate’ or ‘Advanced’ reading levels.
- Select the complexity level you’d like to read at and Google will go through the motions of filtering out the pages you don’t want to read (just 284032 times faster than you could!)