Specialized Searches

Category: Cool-Stuff , Search-Engines

Everyone knows that you can throw a word or phrase at Google and it will return web pages that match. But Google is more than a search engine... it's a verb. Here are some very cool specialized Google searches that will save you time and make you wonder what Google doesn't know...

Special Searches With Google!

In addition to being a general purpose search engine, Google has some additional search features that are both intuitive and useful. It's no longer necessary to hop all over the Web to get answers... Did you know that you can use Google to search the yellow pages or residential phonebook for phone numbers? Get a stock quote or check the status of a UPS of Fedex package? Use it as a calculator, dictionary or spell checker? Find movie listings, driving directions, or get flight status?

Let's take a deeper look at all those features and some other gems that are part of the Google search engine.

Specialized Searches

  • Phone Book:

    Search for a business just by entering the name and location in the search box. Let's find my favorite pizza place. In the example below, you can see that I entered the wrong town, but it still found what I was looking for nearby.

    Google phonebook - yellow pages

    Search the residential whitepages listings by adding the phonebook: prefix.

    Google phonebook - white pages

    Note that there are links to the street-level maps for those people, as well as a link to get more detailed results for this search.

  • Stock Market Quotes

    To look up stock market and mutual fund quotes, enter the ticker symbol into the search box. You'll see the current price, volume and other stats.

    Google stock market quotes

    For a deeper look, click on the chart, or visit other financial information providers by clicking on the links provided.

  • Maps and Driving Directions

    Need to find your way around? Throw away those outdated fold-out maps and head to Google. Enter your address in the search box and Google will return a small map of the area.

    Google maps and driving directions

    Click on the map or the "Get Directions" button to get a detailed interactive street map and turn-by-turn driving direction TO or FROM this location.

  • Track a Package, Scan a Product

    Where's that widget I ordered last week? Just enter your package tracking number (UPS, FedEx or USPS) number and Google will recognize it a such, and return a link to the package tracking information.

    Google package tracking

    It's much easier than going to multiple tracking sites, and tracking down the right page to search for your dilatory delivery. You can even enter a UPC bar code number to "scan" a product.

  • Dictionary and Spell Check

    Enter "define dialtory" into the search box... if Google thinks you spelled it wrong (and I did), it will give you a link to what it thinks is the correct word.

    Google spell check
    Google dictionary

    Click on the link and the next page will show a definition, with a link to more definitions and information.

  • Calculator and Converter

    Need to add, subtract or multiply some numbers? Just enter your equation in the box, and you'll be surprised how many fancy mathematical gadgets it can grok.

    Google calculator and converter

    You can also convert units from one system to another, just in case you need to know the length of a football field in light years. You can even do useful things, like metric equivalents or monetary conversions. Check out the other things the Google Calculator can do.

  • Flight Tracker

    Is your flight leaving on time? Ask Google for a link to the flight information, instead of trying to find the airline's website and then searching for the correct page on that site to look for the flight info.

    Google flight tracker

    I suggest you click the FBOweb link if it's available, to see the real-time flight path and current location of the flight in progress, overlaid on a map or on Google Earth. You can also enter the name of an airport like this: JFK airport to view conditions at the airport.

  • Planes, (No Trains) and Automobiles

    You can also enter an airplane's FAA registration number (typically printed on its tail) and get a link to the FAA's aircraft description, owner and airworthiness report. (Sorry, NCC1701 was not found.) Or enter a Vehicle Registration Number (VIN) and you'll get a link to a site which decodes the number to show the year, make, model, engine type, etc.

    Some other nifty things Google can help you find are area codes, patent numbers, and FCC equipment IDs. Just enter the number and Google will recognize what kind of number it is. Are you looking for a product in a certain price range? Enter HDTV $500..$700 for example.

    And it turns out a lot of other things just work in an intuitive way with Google search. Enter supernova pictures, pizza chicago, population of japan, weather in palm springs fl or the name of a movie -- and see what happens!

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    Most recent comments on "Specialized Searches"

    Posted by:

    17 May 2007

    "Specialized" searches? More like "invasion of privacy" searches if you ask me...

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Whose privacy is being invaded, and how?

    Posted by:

    17 May 2007

    That Google calculator rocks! I'm working on my Master's in Math Ed. and it'll save me tons of time!

    Posted by:

    18 May 2007

    Jen, you're way off... There's no invasion of privacy here. Google is only displaying PUBLIC information that you can find in the phone book, or on a map.

    Posted by:

    18 May 2007

    If you are concerned about your information popping up in a Google search, Google solves this problem with the Google Phonebook Name Removal (http://www.google.com/help/pbremoval.html). Google warns that “this removal is permanent and that it’s not possible to add your phone number again in the future.” And of course if your information is added to another source, it may reappear in another/different search. Ah, life goes on...8-D

    Posted by:

    22 May 2007

    I text message google from my phone for all all sorts of info needed, including phone #s, addresses, restaurants, stores etc... even currency rates. Saves a bundle on 411 calls

    EDITOR'S NOTE: See http://askbobrankin.com/google_sms.html

    Posted by:

    06 Oct 2007

    You can enter an ISBN also to pull up book info. The calculator is great. I didn't know about the weather search. Thanks!

    Posted by:

    Jeff S
    13 May 2015

    Bob, I have used Google to track UPS packages as you show above. In the last week or two Google has not been recognizing UPS tracking numbers. Do you know why? I have tried, Chrome, FireFox and Internet Explorer. Thanks.

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    Article information: AskBobRankin -- Specialized Searches (Posted: 16 May 2007)
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