Like most Geeks I seem to make a lot of use of Google Products and when you use Google products daily you collect a bunch of favorite google tricks and shortcuts. Here are some of mine.
Calculator: While Google’s in-search calculator is not as powerful as the one on WolframAlpha it can handle basic arithmetic without trouble and can even do unit conversion.
Movies and Showtimes: If you type “movies” into Google Search it will show you bunch of movies that are currently in theaters. If you click on one of them it will give you showtimes for the nearest theaters and link to Fandango for tickets (if they are available).
Public Company Stock Prices: If type the name (or ticker symbol) of a company and the word stock you will see some basic information about the company such as the stock price over time and the market Cap. In small letters at the bottom of the chart there is a link to “Google Finance” that has much more detailed information and even annotates its graphs with news events.
Package Tacking: If you are a used of Google Now you probably already get package notifications in your feed. But, for everyone else you can put a UPS or FedEx tracking number into Google Search and it will deep-link to tracking information about the shipment.
Email Address Tagging: You can add a “+” and a bit of text just before the @ sign in your gmail address and mail to it will still reach you. So, for example, if you gmail address is “email@example.com” emails sent to “john.smith+PGandE@gmail.com” or “john.smith+Sears@gmail.com” will still reach you. The new address will appear in the “To:” box so you can also use these tagged-addresses in filtering rules or searches.
Gmail Advanced Search: Gmail’s search language is very powerful. You can use special keywords to search only unread messages, messages from or two someone specific, messages with a specific label, or from a specific mailing list. One of my favorite ways to search is by attachment type since I frequently want to find a file that someone sent me but I cannot remember much else about the message. You can learn all of Gmail’s search tricks here.
Gmail Filters: Any criteria you can use to search you can also use in a filter-rule. Once you have the filter criteria set you can decide what to do with the filtered messages (e.g. archive the message unread, label it, star it, or even forward it) and apply the new rule to already received messages as well.
If you are lucky enough to have a phone that listens for voice commands all the time this is a wonderful feature. If you don’t you can still prompt voice command window by pressing the microphone button on the Google Search Widgit. Either way, here are some useful commands for controlling your phone hands-free.
Open an App.: Say “Open” then the name of the App. and that App. will be brought up on your screen. For example, “Open Audible” opens the Audible App. if you have it installed. While “Open Maps” brings up Google Maps.
Start the GPS navigator: Say “Navigate to” then the name of a place or an address and Android will open Google Maps Navigation and set to destination to the place you said. If more than one place matches your destination (e.g. “Navigate to Starbucks”) a list will appear with the closest one on top and a single click on the destination will start navigating to it.
Call Someone: Say “Call” then the name of the person (then if necessary “mobile” or “home” or “work”). So, when I tell my phone to “Call Dad Mobile” it calls my dad’s mobile phone number (instead of his land-line). This works on you phone’s contact list so you don’t have to say the proper name of the person, just say what you use.
Let us know about your favorite Google Tricks!