Posted: 24 February 2005 at 12:47pm | IP Logged
Google Search secrets
By Paul Thurrott
MSN Search isn't the
only search service with advanced features: If you're looking to find a local
restaurant or other service, or find map-based information, Google's got you
In the issue of Windows Secrets, I looked at some of the unique Encarta-based
searches you can perform with MSN Search. But MSN Search is a bit late to a game
that Google has been dominating for some time. And as you might expect, Google
offers a number of unique searches of its own.
Finding what you need
Google this month
launched a new mapping service. This integrates with Google's existing "local"
directory (described below), but is interesting in its own right:
Other interesting but largely undocumented or unobvious
things you can find with Google are:
If you've ever used an application like Microsoft Streets & Trips or
MapPoint to find geographic-based data, you'll appreciate the new service, which is currently in beta.
At its heart, Google Maps
is similar to Yahoo! Maps, helping you find directions.
But Google Maps
isn't just about directions. It can also be used to find businesses in a
particular area, including restaurants, hotels, and even Wi-Fi
Its most amazing feature, perhaps, is real-time zoom: You can
move from a view that includes all of North America down to the street level
with the click of a mouse. And as you resize the browser window, Google Maps
resizes the current map to match. It's quite
If you want to find specific businesses and services, Google's latest service,
Google Local, is your best bet. Similar to the "Near Me" functionality in MSN
Search, Google Local lets you enter the name of an establishment (e.g., Legal
Sea Foods) or establishment type (e.g., seafood) in its first search
box, followed by a location (e.g., Boston) in the second. Search results
are returned in a list accompanied by a map that shows you exactly how close
each establishment is. Google Local is a wonderful tool for finding places near
FedEx and UPS packages. Google lets you track FedEx and UPS packages. Simply
type in your tracking number and hit the Search button. You can also search by
an amazing range of other numbers, including UPC codes (e.g.
085896640684), area codes (e.g 781), and even patent numbers (e.g.
- Definitions. To tell Google to search specifically for a
definition, type the word define before your search (e.g. define
debacle). When you do so, the first search result link will be for Web
definitions for the term you entered. You can click on that link to get more
- Answers to
questions. If you've got a particularly tough question that isn't being
answered with normal Google searches, and don't mind paying a bit for the
answer, you can visit . Here, you can pay between $2.00 and $200 for a human researcher to
find the answer to your question, generally within 24 hours. Google employs over
500 researchers for this purpose.
is an amazing Web experiment in news aggregation that, if successful,
could very well change the way Web users find out about the world around them.
The Google News home page is auto-generated every few minutes using over 4500
news sources, creating an ever-changing view of top stories, and news from
around the news, the US, entertainment, sports, science and technology, health,
and other topics. And naturally, you can search for news items. For example, if
you heard about a Microsoft security initiative on the way home from work, you
might visit Google News and search for Microsoft security to get more