It happens to us all. Writer’s block. It hit me hard this week. But that changed last night after a conversation (read argument) with my girlfriend. We were at dinner talking about something and needed to Google it. Out came her phone and some frustrations about not being able to find something. I suggested putting a minus sign and an excluded word would help. She had no idea. And then it hit me.
Writer’s block is gone. I figured if she was unaware, maybe others were as well. We queried a few friends on some of the Google functions and sure enough, the majority had no idea about most of them. And with travel being very search centric, I thought I’d gather a handful of Google tips and tricks that you might not know.
- Use quotation marks (“ “) in your search for a specific phrase or name. Ex: “Johnny Appleseed”
- Use the minus sign (-) to exclude specific words. Ex: dolphins -Miami will return mammals, but not football players.
- Use the asterisk (*) as a Wildcard. Ex: Best Resorts in * will return a worldwide list of best resorts.
- Use site: to limit the search to a specific site. Ex: site:travelresearchonline.com dolphins will return all articles only on TRO mentioning dolphins
- Use the OR operator to limit results. Ex: Cancun OR Miami will return results that have either term.
- Use the AND operator to limit results in a different way. Ex: Cancun AND Miami will return results that have both destinations
- Use Filetype: to find a specific type of file. Ex: filetype: ppt cruise will return PowerPoints that discuss a cruise.
- Use Definition: to get a definition of a word. Ex: definition: jubilee will return the dictionary.com definition(s) for the word jubilee
- Use Cache: to view older versions of a website. Ex: Cache: YourCompetition.com will return an archived version of that site that your customer swears showed a 7-Day Christmas Cruise for $99 that does not show up now.
- Use the (~) tilde if you are not sure. Ex: “~vatacan” will bring up the Vatican. Good for when you aren’t quite sure how to spell a hotel name.
- Use customer support to go right to many larger companies’ support info. Perfect for the companies that try to make it hard on you. Ex: Microsoft company support will display the information you need.
- Use time: to find out the time anywhere in the world. Ex: time: Rome will tell you the time in Rome so you can be sure to get your favorite concierge when they are working!
- Use weather: to find out the weather anywhere in the world. Ex: weather: Rome will tell you the weather right now. (Off-topic, but does anyone remember having to call a number for the time and weather?)
- Use sunrise: or sunset: to find out the sunrise or set in any location. Ex: sunrise: Rome tells me the sun will rise at 5:34 am. And I will be missing that one!
- Use flights: origin destination to get a quick look at current flights. Ex: flights: BWI MCO will give me some options very quickly.
- Last tip—avoid shipping websites by entering the tracking number right into Google. It knows the difference between USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon (although Amazon rarely issues tracking numbers for their own deliveries), and a few others!
So, how many of these did you know? Hopefully one or two of them can help you be more efficient!