Everyone knows Google, right? You use it to find sites. This is very true, but Google also has a lot of hidden features that you might not know about. Some of these features are cool, some are useful and some are just downright strange!
Here, we’ll run through five useful and five not so useful Google tricks that you can try right now. So read on to see how useful (or useless) Google can be.
USEFUL TIP 1: FIND ROYALTY-FREE IMAGES
Google’s image search is awesome for grabbing a fast snap of anything you might need, but if you’re going to be using that picture on your site, you’ll need permission. Finding out if an image is licensed or royalty-free can be annoying, but luckily you can use Google’s image search to filter for only royalty-free images.
Obviously the choice and quality will likely not be as high as the paid images, but if you need something quick to fill some space, it’s certainly worth checking it out.
To find this feature, open Google images and search for your desired pictures. Next, from the toolbar at the top, select Tools > Usage Rights and select the ‘Labeled For Reuse’ option to filter only the images that you are welcome to use without risk of a copyright claim.
NOT SO USEFUL TIP 1: THE SEVEN DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON
Do you know what a Bacon number is? You’d be mega surprised to discover how many people have one… Google certainly knows about this.
In short, a Bacon number is awarded to people who have some degree of connection to the actor Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon himself is unique in that he has the Bacon number of 0.
The rules are simple – anyone who has appeared in a film directly with Kevin Bacon is given a Bacon number of 1. If someone hasn’t appeared in a film with Kevin Bacon, but has been in a film with someone else who has been in a film with Kevin Bacon, they are given a Bacon number of 2, and so on and so forth.
From playing around with this, we struggled to find anyone who had a Bacon number higher than 7. Go ahead and give it a try. Simply Google a famous name, followed by the words ‘Bacon number’ – what’s the highest Bacon number you can find?
USEFUL TIP 2: SEARCH ONLY WITHIN A GIVEN SITE
Google is great, but at times it does throw some absolute garbage back at you. Looking for an online manual for your washing machine? Need to know how to change a headlamp on your car?
Chances are, you’ll want to use an official site for these, but how can you find the resources you need, on the sites that you want, when Google throws so many other results at you?
Simple! You can use Google to search just the contents of a given site, not the entire web. This can be done to return results from just one site, or from one type of site.
For example, searching for:
will search for the word chickens just on stackoverflow domains. Here are our results:
NOT SO USEFUL TIP 2: ZERG RUSH
Did you know that the Google home page features a little built-in game? You didn’t? Next time you’re on Google, type in the phrase ‘Zerg Rush’ and hit enter – this will cause lots of O’s to appear on your screen and start eating your search results!
Quick! Blast them before they eat your ‘funny cat video’ results.
But maybe you’ve played Zerg Rush and failed miserably to protect your search results from Google’s attacking O’s; now you’re wanting something a little less impossible to play and maybe even to bring back some nostalgia at the same time?
Enter Atari Breakout! One of the most popular older video games, it will certainly be recognised by anyone who was gaming back in the 1980s. To relive your childhood, type ‘Atari Breakout’ into Google and click the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ option. Good luck and feel free to post your highest score! (I’ll comment mine in the Facebook group later.)
Other popular games that can be played include:
- Tic-tac-toe (search for ‘tic-tac-toe’ in Google)
- Solitaire (search for ‘solitaire’ in Google)
- Dreidel (type ‘spin dreidel’ in Google)
USEFUL TIP 3: GOOGLE WILL CONVERT ALMOST ANYTHING FOR YOU
Need to know how many feet in ‘x’ amount of metres? How many dollars you have when you convert from GBP? How many GB of memory you have from a number of bytes?
Yes? Awesome, because Google has your back!
Just enter the unit you want to convert and what you want to convert it into, and Google will take care of the rest.
It saves flying around different sites to get the conversions you need. Do it all from your browser search bar (if using Chrome) or from Google itself.
NOT SO USEFUL TIP 3: GOOGLE – DO A TRICK!
Did you know that Google can probably perform more party tricks than your dog?
- Want Google to roll over? Type into it: ‘do a barrel roll’
- Want Google to lean casually to the side? Type ‘askew’ and hit enter
- Want your results to float about pointlessly? Type ‘Google gravity’ and hit the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button
- Fan of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’? Ask Google for the answer to ‘life, the universe and everything…’
It actually has far too many little party tricks to list, but next time you want to impress a friend with your Google-fu, you know what to search for.
USEFUL TIP 4: TIME ME, GOOGLE!
Did you know that Google can also be used as a timer? It certainly can be, and it’s super useful to be able to pull up a stopwatch directly in the browser. It’s handy for when you’re timeboxing your current task, or when you simply don’t want your dinner to burn while you’re working. To start a timer on Google, simply navigate to Google, and type ‘set timer x’, where ‘x’ is the time you want to count down from.
NOT SO USEFUL TIP 4: BACK IN THE DAY…
Looking for a more nostalgic Google? Like things the way they used to be? Take a step back in time by typing ‘Google in 1998’ into your search bar for an instant hit of throwback goodness.
Now, where did I put my Walkman? I need to play my Tamagotchi some music…
USEFUL TIP 5: CACHE ME OUSSIDE…
This one is super useful if a site happens to be down for some reason, but you just need to find something that you know is on their site, as you can use Google to search for a cached version of a site.
It’s very easy to do: in the search bar just enter ‘cache:’ followed by the website name you wish to view. As you can see in this example, we are viewing a cached version of the BBC website from March 17th:
NOT SO USEFUL TIP 5: WHAT SOUND DOES A DOG MAKE?
Last but not least, to wrap our five not so useful Google features, we have the ability to ask Google for the noise made by a specific animal.
Need to know what sound a dog makes? A cat? A chicken? Google can do that for you. Simply type ‘what does an ‘x’ sound like?’ where ‘x’ is the name of the animal you wish to hear. (I actually learned what a moose sounds like today!)
And so there you have it. Five useful and five not so useful but completely fun features that exist in Google that you might not have known about.
There are plenty more out there to play with, so why not see what you can discover and let us know in the comments?