As well as searching websites, Google Search can also offer instant answers to common questions

I did try searching Google to see if they publish a comprehensive directory of “Instant Answers”, but (ironically) I couldn’t find anything from them. However, here are some examples that I’ve gleaned from other sources:

Time Zones

eg Type “time paris” (without the quotes) and the following result will be displayed (depending, of course, on what time you key it in!)

Google Instant Time

Word Definitions

eg “define cantankerous” (without the quotes)

Google Instant Definition

Being a stroppy Brit, I much prefer to use a proper authority on the subject – the Oxford English Dictionary .

Instant Calculations

eg “calculate 34 * 71.6” (without the quotes)

Google Instant Calculator

Note that you don’t need to precede this enquiry with the word “calculate”. A search term of “34 * 71.6” (without the quotes) would have worked. By the way, if you do include the quote marks then Google will not do a calculation at all. Surrounding any search term in Google with quote marks is supposed to tell Google to search for the exact term between the quotes (but it sometimes still goes its own sweet way and tries to interpret the search request rather than treat it literally).

Note that the “operators” (eg add, subtract) are the same as for any calculation carried out on a computer – eg + (for plus), – (for minus), / (for divide), * (for multiply), ^ (to the power of). When you enter a calculation into the search box, Google not only returns the answer, but also displays a calculator and a “more info” link directly beneath it.

Unit conversion

eg “convert 23 c to f” (without the quotes)

Google Instant Converter

Flight times

eg “Air France 4508” (without the quotes)

Google Flight Times

There are other ways of getting more from Google Search. Try these previous blog posts:

Some Easy Refinements in Google Search
Google Search
Google Result Types

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Computer Support in London
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