Google Around

Tags: Knowledge
Right from the beginning of this century we Earthinglings have been mightily infatuated with one overarching search paradigm: Google. The URL www.google.com, has become the de facto synonym for looking for anything and everything on the Internet, be it from your laptop, your tablet or your phone---even when you could in actual practice be using another search engine.

Google is a word that has made it to the Oxford English Dictionary as a transitive verb that means searching “for information about (someone or something) on the internet using the search engine Google.” Going even further, wiktionary.org, one of the most popular collaborative multilingual free dictionary on the web defines it as searching “for (something) on the internet using any comprehensive search engine.” And this is later explanation is the bonafide truth.

Today you don’t look up anything on the net, you invariable “Google it.” Yet we think of it so fixedly as a simple search engine that we fail to learn some of the spiffy shortcuts and useful features that have been quite beautifully built into Google.

Be calculating

For example, did you know that Google has built-in calculator function? The calc resolves math problems involving, not just basic arithmetic but also complicated math, units of measure and conversions, and physical constants. Type the calculation you want to perform in Google’s search box — whether it is “340523759783+3456845*69.7” or “3^69” or “sqrt(-117)” — and press Enter to get the answer in a snap. You don’t need to go shuffling papers around on your desk or rummaging through drawer clutter looking for a calculator. Or thumb up the calc app on your phone either for that matter.

Likewise, do you want to know in a twinkling what is the speed of light in kilometers per hour? Or the number of metres in a mile? Or the current population of Rwanda? (Even cities like Ratlam or Rotterdam, if you want.) Or the currency of Kenya? You can trigger these fact-based searches using a simple, matter of fact syntax — be it the “height of Sunny Leone” or “birthplace of Arvind Kejriwal” — in Google's search box and get the answer in a flash as the very first result.

And travel wiser

If you are planning to don your Seven League Boots and journey to foreign lands, you will want to run a quick check on how much local currency your rupee or dollars will fetch. That is where Google Search’s in-built currency convertor comes in so handy. Whether you’re off to the UK, US, Europe or Mauritus, you don’t have to get flustered and desperately scour the day’s business daily to know exactly what the contents of your wallet will be worth in terms of forex. Open Google and key in: 500 USD in INR, or 50,000 INR in Danish Krone, or 500 SGD in INR or 100,000 INR in Rupiah or whatever the case may be. And if you have a clue about the currency of the country you’re visiting, simply type “currency of Indonesia in 100,000 INR.

Talking of of travel, Google can also tell you the current time in most major cities wherever they maybe on Mother Earth, in a search trice. You don’t have to puzzle over time zones and grapple with GMT arithmetic at all. Launch Google and fire a “time Hokkaido” or “time Honolulu” search to know what the current local time there to the current minute. Don’t know the name of the city? Key in the name of the country.

Know the weather score

It only follows that you can also fetch instant weather reports in a similar fashion. Type in Pittsburgh weather or Patiala weather or Patna weather. Depending on the importance of the city, along with the current temperature, you will get the weather conditions (fog, snow, rain etc.), wind direction and speed, as well as humidity levels. And also a forecast for the next seven days for you to see.

As a cricket buff in a rush needn’t waste clicking through to Cricinfo.com to know the score. Or mouth swear words at the sysadmin suckers for sewing off cricket sites. Go to Google and type cricket. If there’s an international match happening, you’ll get an instant update of scores. If there is more than one match in progress, you need to type in the names of the countries. So India Bangladesh or South Africa Australia or Pakistan England will give you the up to date score the match you interested. If no one is knocking the cherry around anywhere in the world, you won’t get a scorecard. zz

(The author is a personal tech writer)

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