Digital Literacy: 25 Google Search Shortcuts You Need to Know

Posted: 09/04/2015 by broadyesl in digital literacy, google tools

The below examples are just the beginning:

Just Google it. We all know that phrase, but did you know that Google search has features that allow you to get all the information you need by simply typing in a single word or phrase — no clicking through to another website required? This week I’m happy to show some shortcuts I use at home and school; just another way to make the most of your time. All screen captures shown below come from Google’s search engine.

Ok, Google

If you don’t feel weird talking to your computer, just say the words, “OK Google,” and when prompted to speak (see image below,) you can tell the search engine exactly what you are looking for — a huge timesaver with no keyboarding required. If your computer’s microphone is enabled, you can use the Ok, Google feature with all the searches below.

Instant Timer

Type timer followed by the length of time you want on the timer or simply type in “____ min timer” as shown below.


Instant Dictionary and Thesaurus

To find the meaning of a word, type define before it.

Type the words other words for in front of the word whose synonyms you’d like.


What’s the Temperature Outside at Recess Time?

Type temperature into the search bar for an instant forecast.


Sunrise and Sunset Times in Your Town

You can also search for the sunrise or sunset.


Track Packages: When’s Your Package Arriving?

Copy and paste your tracking number into the search bar and you’ll instantly know when your book order (or anything else!) is going to arrive.


Calculate Anything

Type a math problem into the search bar and Google becomes your instant calculator.


Do You Really Want to Eat That?

Make nutritional comparisons by typing VS between any two foods.


Books by Favorite Authors


Important Dates

Want to know when Administrative Professionals’ Day is this year or Passover in 2020? Google will let you know!


Find Current Driving Times

This is the point where you need to realize Google knows everything about you. Type how long to workand it will give you driving time from your home to work — no addresses needed!

Planning a field trip? Type in “work to ______” (the field trip location) and you’ll immediately know the distance you’ll be traveling.


Convert Measures

Type in the conversion you want and voilà!


Currency Converter

Making a run for the border? You might need this Google tool.


Translate Words, Phrases, and Documents for Parents

Add the word translate before your text, followed by the name of the language into which you would like your text translated.


Instant Research!

Do you or your students want to find something in a hurry? Go straight to Google!

State Facts

Longest Rivers, Highest Mountains, etc.

You could even print out and cut these apart and use for a sequencing activity.


Times Around the World

Type “time in _____” (the city you want) and you will immediately get the current time. This is useful when you are Skyping with classrooms around the world.


Working Late? What’s Still Open?

Type the restaurant name followed by hours to find out the business hours, along with a map for your favorite places.


Getting Done Early? Make a Reservation!

Type the name of the restaurant followed by reservation and you have an immediate portal into Open Table’s reservation system.


Check on Reservations You Already Have

Have a Gmail account? Type my reservations into the search bar for a listing of upcoming dates for restaurants and hotels.

Google will show you the date of each reservation. I covered mine for privacy reasons. If you click on the arrow next to the reservation you will get complete information including driving directions.


Calculate a Tip

Google act like a tip calculator if you search for tip calculator.


Find a Flight

Google Travel gives me some of the best prices I’ve seen. Click through the price you want, and book directly with the airline.


Track a Flight

Waiting for someone, or want to know when you will take off? Put your flight number into the search bar.

This will tell you when the plane will land (on-time in 58 minutes!) and which terminal to go to for a pick up.


Check on Flights You’ve Already Booked

If you have a Gmail account, type find my flights to see a list of upcoming flights.

Clicking on the arrow will give you detailed information including flight and confirmation numbers, travel companions and seat assignment for each flight. Dates also show, but have been obscured for privacy.


Just for Fun

These won’t help you find information but they are just for fun features that can entertain your class when you tell them to give these search terms a try. Try them for yourself to see what happens! Type in the Google search bar:

  • do a barrel roll
  • z or r twice
  • tilt
  • askew
  • define anagram
  • anagram
  • zerg rush

I could keep going and going on this list! It seems like every day I discover another shortcut that saves me time. If you know any other search secrets that you love to use, please share in the comment section below!

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