Web & communication software

28 Time-Saving Tricks for Google, Facebook, and More

Think you know all of the tricks at your favorite Internet sites? Think again.

Even if you're on Google, Facebook, and YouTube every day, you might not be tapping those sites' full potential. Read on to speed up your Internet abilities, unlock new features, and find a new favorite tip or two.

Google Gimmicks

Search within a site: Narrow down your search results to a single site. Type (search query) site:(domain); an example would be entering: video card tips site:pcworld.com to find pages only at that location. You can even limit results to within sections of a site, as in this example: twitter site:pcworld.com/businesscenter.

An example of limiting search results to only a certain file type.
Search for file types: Maybe you want to track down a certain document that's a PDF. Enter your usual search string plus filetype:pdf to find only those pages. This method also works with PostScript (ps), Office docs (doc, ppt, xls), Rich Text (rtf), Plain Text (txt), and more. You can find a list of searchable file types here.

Exclude results: Include a minus sign to exclude certain results. Suppose you want to find news about Apple unrelated to the iPad. Type Apple -iPad. You can also combine the previous tips, such as Apple -iPad -site:apple.com and Apple -iPad -PDF.

Get local details: Forget manual time conversion; just enter time [city] (as in Time Tokyo) to get the current local time. Or try weather [city] for a forecast. For more local details, try [city] map, movies [city or ZIP code], and [restaurant name or cuisine] [city or ZIP code]. This works for a few other regular search strings, like Weather [city], stock quotes, and more--check out Google's full list.

Make conversions: Swap units of measure, such as measurements of volume or distance; this works for converting different currencies, too. Try [number and unit] in [new unit] such as 7 inches in cm or 30 Euros in USD.

Bing Bonanza

Dislike distracting photos? Enter http://www.bing.com/?rb=0 in your browser to bring up a plain, gray version of the site.
Find links to files: Find pages that host or lead to certain file types, such as music. Enter [search term] contains:[file type] such as Wilco contains:MP3 to find MP3s from the band Wilco. Try this kind of search with many other file types, such as WMA, PDF, AAC, DOC, and nearly anything else.

Remove the background image: Bing sure is cute, but its big photos can be distracting. Visit http://www.bing.com/?rb=0 for a plain, gray version of the site.

Save Bing searches as RSS feeds.
Save searches as RSS feeds: If you want to stay on top of hits to a search query, turn it into an RSS feed. After loading your results, append &format=rss to the end of the new URL, and view it in your favorite RSS reader.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments