With a 66.1 percent share of the U.S. search market, you wouldn't blame Google for hitting the brakes on their innovation engine. Then again, with Bing close on its heels (at least metaphorically), Google has recently put the petal to the metal, launching a slew of new features like Instant search (for desktop and mobile), Instant previews, Real time, and sort by reading level.
Regardless of market share numbers, competition is good, and the race for search superiority has benefited Bing, Google, and best of all, you. Here are the tools—both new and classic—that prove it.
Get Weather Faster
Type the letter W into the Google search bar and Google’s Instant Search feature presents the weather in your city automatically.
Let Google Finish Your Search for You
Type only as much of your query as needed. For instance, at “atlanta,” Google displays “atlanta braves,“ “atlanta falcons,” “atlanta airport,” and “atlanta bread” as auto-complete options.
Find Restaurants (and Other Places) Quick
Type the name of a venue such as “Restaurant Guy Savoy” or “Fenway Park” into Google and select Places in the left panel to see its dedicated place page, which has address and contact information, hours of operation, and reviews from other websites, including www.frommers.com and www.zagat.com.
Search Through Time
See a timeline of events for your search query (ex. “Robert Downey Jr.”) displayed with a clickable chronological chart that makes it easy to drill down your search to a specific window.
Refine Your Search
Enter your search term, then further filter your results by selecting from Google’s list of search categories on the left (Blogs, Books, Images, News, Places, Videos, and more) or specifying a time frame or time-related qualifier such as “Latest,” “Past 24 Hours,” “Past Week,” or “Past Month.”
Try Google’s Wonder Wheel
To see more related search terms faster, enter your query and, on the left panel, select “Related Searches.” A list of related search queries is displayed above the first result. To see the top eight search results displayed in a diagram, select Wonder Wheel from the left panel instead.
Leverage Search Alerts
Using real-time search, Google can send you e-mails each time information on a given query appears on the web. Specify blogs, news, updates, videos, and more.
Use Search Engine Operators
Hunt phrases with “”, exclude words with -, search specific websites with “site:www.sitename.com.” Use * as a wildcard (any possible letter or word in a search phrase—ex.: “water *” turns up results such as “water cooler,” “water filter,” or “water fountain”), and search for words in URLs with “inurl:”.
Buying a gift for someone? Enter the product name in Google and select “Shopping” in the left panel. You’ll see a list of online and in-store retailers that sell the product. Scroll down in the left panel to refine your search by brand name, price, product category, and store availability.
Take Advantage of Shortcuts
Find movie times by entering “movie” into your search. Find sports scores by searching a team name and the word “scores.” Track packages by entering the tracking code directly into Google. Pull up maps of unknown areas by entering zip codes directly into Google. Get the current time in another time zone by searching “time” and a city.