Technology & Social Media

Found on Google: More than just a simple search

Google20logoSaturdays at CPA Success are usually spent reviewing online tools that can help increase our productivity. Keep in mind that we do not endorse any of these services. We simply offer them up for your consideration. Do your own homework and find the service that best meets your needs.

Back to Chris Jenkins at the Ohio Society of CPAs for this week's tech post. Chris?

Variables of every type swirl around computer users' habits and hardware. Still, one common tool seems to always be on everyone’s list: Google. This simple search engine grows in every direction, yet does no wrong ... or at least no intentional evil.

Google has added several great features and services, but its claim to fame is still its search ability.

Let’s say you’re feeling adventurous enough to stray from the comfortable simple search. Take advantage of these lesser-known features of the Google search engine.

Spelling: Google’s suggested word feature offers a quick and easy on-off spell checker. By mistakenly typing “catastophic” into the Google search box, you get this message in return: “Did you mean catastrophic?” Simply clicking on the new spelling suggestion brings up your intended search results.

Definitions: Need to find the technical meaning for XBRL? Entering “define: xbrl” in the search returns a list of definitions found on the Web. Need the definition in another language (Hey, you never know!)? Simply click on one of the nine languages available to view your search results in that language.

Calculations: Use the Google search box for calculations and conversions. provides an interface to send raw numbers to Google for calculation. Check out the Google results below after these formulas were entered into Soople:

Time and weather: Use the time or weather operators to get information about a given location. Simply enter “time” or “weather” and the name of the city and voila – instant time or weather information (not to mention thousands upon thousands of search results relating to said city’s weather or time).

Airline travel information: Typing the airline name and flight number of any arriving or departing flight will link you to for up-to-date flight information. Entering the airport name or code followed by the operator “airport” will display airport conditions.

Package tracking: Enter any UPS, USPS or FedEx package tracking number and a direct link to your tracking interface will be returned.

Nice features for a simple search box, but outstanding from your mobile phone. Many of these features work by sending a TXT message to Google “466453” (FYI: 466453 spells out Google on the keypad). TXTing "weather Denver" to 466453 will return the current weather in Denver as a text message. More important, TXTing your ZIP code along with the keyword "pizza" returns all the information you need for the perfect late-night snack.


Bill Sheridan