Get more from Google: not just a search engine

Working for an online marketing agency, we spend a lot of time on Google. So you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the Coast Digital team uses the UK’s (and the world’s) most popular search engine for more than just finding information and checking our clients’ keyword rankings.

In this post, I’ve collected together a few of the team’s more unusual uses of Google that you may want to have a go with yourself:

Spellchecker

I’m going to hazard a very unscientific guess that this is a rather common way of using Google. If you’re unsure of the correct spelling of a word, type your best guess into a search and see if Google asks, “Did you mean…?” Hey presto, you now have the correct spelling.

This technique is also useful for checking which variations of spellings are more commonly used – if more than one is acceptable. Search for both variations and see which has more results. This can be particularly helpful when checking whether phrases should be hyphenated, for example.

Calculator

Google won’t even send you off its main site to give you the answers to mathematical calculations. Type in your sum (e.g. 3*5) and let Google do the rest:

It’s much quicker (and far less tiresome) than loading up the Microsoft calculator on your PC or locating a physical one on your desk.

Currency / measurement converter

How confident would you be converting foreign currency without going online to check the latest rates first?

For currency calculations, it’s easy as pie to use the internet to find the most up-to-date rates. Search for “USD exchange rate”, for example, and Google will give you the latest figures:

A similar method can also be applied for converting imperial measurements to metric and so on.

Product reviewer

If you’ve got a fairly good idea of which product you’re interested in, using Google to quickly find reviews couldn’t be easier. Type the product name/code into Google and you’ll be presented with graphical star ratings and user reviews in a matter of seconds:

It’s much quicker than visiting dedicated product review sites, although you won’t be given the same level of detail.

Sports results

I have to admit, I hadn’t actually tried this one until a colleague suggested it for this post – but having given it a go, I can now say that it’s brilliant.

If you like to keep up with sports results, type the name of the sportsperson or team into Google and hit search. You’ll then be presented with the latest scores from whichever tournament they’re currently competing in.

For example, a search for “Andy Murray” yields the following result:

Lastly, for fellow online marketing professionals, Google is a fantastic tool for checking whether your clients’ content has been plagiarised by competitors. Copying and pasting an extract into a Google search will instantly show you whether the content remains unique to your website – or whether it has been pilfered.

Since unique content is key to the success of any search engine optimisation campaign, all online marketers should be regularly applying this simple method to check for plagiarists.

What have I missed?

Those are just a few of Coast Digital’s more unusual employments of the UK’s biggest search engine – what else do you use Google for?