Searching Google

If you only have the time or interest to master a few computer skills, make Google searching one of them.

Yes, it's that important. And useful. As you've probably realized, the entire world is online now. Those who can't search and navigate the web are at a disadvantage.

Google has become the dominant internet search tool for a reason - it's results are uncannily accurate, almost like it reads your mind and understands what you are looking for.

All modern internet browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, allow you to conduct internet searches directly from the address line of the browser (the long field at the topmost edge of your browser window). But some browsers, by default, use other search "engines". Edge, for example, uses Bing to conduct your internet search. Personally, I'm a Google man. If you prefer Google too, and your browser is using a different engine, here's instructions on how to tell your browser to use Google instead.

When searching, here's a few basics:


biking italy all web pages containing the words biking AND italy

recycle steel OR iron all web pages regarding recycling steel or recycling iron

"I have a dream" enclosing your search term in quotations gives all web pages with that exact phrase

salsa -dance all pages containing salsa, but not dance (minus sign excludes word following it)

However, the Google search line is much more powerful than simple keyword searches. Here's a few other things you can try:

CALCULATOR: try typing 12+34 and hit enter. Or 45% of 39. Or 56 * 7/8. Not only will you get the answer, but a handy virtual calculator will pop up in case you need to perform further calculations.

CONVERSION: need the temperature in celsius? Try typing 75 F to C

how many miles in 355 km? Try typing 355 km to miles

how many pints in 2.5 gallons? Try typing 2.5 gal pints

converting currency? Try $50 canadian (switch to other currencies in the result box)

MOVIES: try typing Movies and hitting the enter key. You'l see a listing of all movies playing near you. Click on one that interests you and you'll get specific movie times.

DEFINITIONS: need a quick word definition? Try typing define: serendipity (substitute your own word)

WEATHER: need the forecast and current conditions? Try typing weather: 52205 (substitute your own zip)

FLIGHT STATUS: type in American 3269 to see the current status of that flight. To see scheduled flights between two destinations, type the city names or airport codes. e.g. Cedar Rapids to Boise or CID PUJ

This is just a small sampling of the power of Google's search line. For a handy, printable pdf version of the available functions, visit this site.

(examples courtesy of

Harry Potter

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