The folks at Google have recently added several new tricks and utilities to their search behemoth. I’ve listed these along with some of my long time, but often under recognized favorites below. Hope the infomancer in you enjoys them as much as I do.

Search by numbers

Parcel tracking IDs, patents and other specialized numbers can be entered into Google’s search box for quick access to information about them. For example, typing a FedEx tracking number will return the latest information on your package. Other special search by number types include :

? UPS tracking numbers example search: “1Z9999W999999999”
? FedEx tracking numbers example search: “999999999999”
? USPS tracking numbers example search: “9999 9999 9999 9999 9999 99”
? Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers example search: “AAAAA999A9AA99999”
? UPC codes example search: “073333531084”
? Telephone area codes example search: “650”
? Patent numbers example search: “patent 5123123”
Remember to put the word “patent” before your patent number.
? FAA airplane
registration numbers
example search: “n199ua”
An airplane’s FAA registration number is typically printed on its tail.
? FCC equipment IDs example search: “fcc B4Z-34009-PIR”
Remember to put the word “fcc” before the equipment ID.


Oldies but Goodies:


To use Google’s built-in calculator function, simply enter the calculation you’d like done into the search box and hit the Enter key or click on the Google Search button. The calculator can solve math problems involving basic arithmetic, more complicated math, units of measure and conversions, and physical constants. Try one of the sample expressions below, or refer to our complete instructions for help in building your own.

These sample queries demonstrate the utility and power of this new feature:



To see a definition for a word or phrase, simply type the word “define,” then a space, and then the word(s) you want defined. If Google has seen a definition for the word or phrase on the Web, it will retrieve that information and display it at the top of your search results.


You can also get a list of definitions by including the special operator “define:” with no space between it and the term you want defined. For example, the search [define:World Wide Web] will show you a list of definitions for “World Wide Web” gathered from various online sources.


If you search for products using Google, you may see relevant information and links labeled “product search” displayed at the top of your search results. These product search results are linked to the sites of merchants who participate in Froogle, Google’s product search service. These results are not advertisements, as participation in Froogle is completely free to merchants.

product search results

Who Links to you?

Some words, when followed by a colon, have special meanings to Google. One such word for Google is the link: operator. The query link:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, will show you all the pages that point to Google’s home page. You cannot combine a link: search with a regular keyword search.