Make Google Searches Faster And Smarter

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. I use Google frequently, and while I like it, I get the feeling I could be using it more efficiently. Any ideas?

A. Here are some suggestions from Google for making Internet searches faster and more effective:

Install the Google toolbar, which puts Google into your browser full-time. (The toolbar works only in Microsoft’s Explorer version 5.0 and up; it doesn’t work in Netscape.) Among other things, Google gives you the option to block pop-up ads. It also can automatically enter data for fill-in forms that ask for your name, address and phone number. Download the toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com .

If you have a question, phrase it in the form of an answer—for example, “ The magazine that provides the best accounting articles is…. ”

Place quotes around words that must be searched together. If you’re looking for accounting standards in the JofA , for example, type “ accounting standards ” “ Journal of Accountancy .”

Place a hyphen in front of a word you want to screen out. For instance, if you don’t want Google to search in the JofA , type “ accounting standards ” “ –Journal of Accountancy .”

Since Google is effectively a global phone book, search for the AICPA’s number in Jersey City, New Jersey, by typing phonebook:aicpa,jersey city,nj . Names work the same way: phonebook:donald duck,hollywood,ca.

Other things Google lets you do:

Track a FedEx or UPS package by entering its tracking identification numbers.
Perform a calculation by typing the equation—for example, 3+2*45= .
Convert units of measurement by typing what you want converted—for example, centimeters in a foot.
Find a stock price or financial news by typing the company’s stock symbol.
Get a map of a U.S. city by entering its telephone area code.
Track the progress of an en route plane and its arrival time by entering its flight number.

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