6 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Google
Some of the tips below are effortless to implement and save you a lot of time and energy when dealing with these issues. Let’s start with the first proof of the awesomeness of Google…
1. Create unlimited disposable email addresses with Gmail
If you add dots (.) between the letters of your Gmail username, sending an message to the new username will get forwarded to your original email (which is without or with only 1 dot.) For example:
It doesn’t matter how many dots you’ll add between your username, all of the emails sent will go to your original email. Gmail provides another great explanation:
Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:
- homerjsimpson = hom.er.j.sim.ps.on
- homerjsimpson = HOMERJSIMPSON
- homerjsimpson = Homer.J.Simpson
All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You’ll still go to your account.
Why is this helpful? Let’s say you want to sign up for a particular newsletter but you’re afraid of spam. Then you can modify your email with the dots so in case you start getting unwanted messages, you can use Gmail filters and send every message your ‘new’ email receives to spam directly.
2. Find beautiful wallpapers in 10 seconds using Google Images
Nowadays it’s VERY easy to find ANY type of wallpaper using Google images. Here’s what you do:
- Go to Advanced Image Search
- Click on “Use my desktop size” button. Google will take your desktop size automatically! (previously you needed to do this manually using the imagesize: operator, plus manually enter the resolution.)
- From “Content types” select “photo content.” I found the most beautiful wallpapers to be in this category (even when you search for celebrities, selecting ‘photo content’ instead of ‘faces’ will give you way better results.)
- Tell Google what type of wallpaper you want by typing some keywords next to “related to all of the words” option.
So here we go:
Many of the results come from wallpaper gallery sites. As you can see, this is so far the best way to browse wallpaper sites and find beautiful wallpapers with little effort.
3. A neat trick to find alternatives to all types of products using Google Search
Let’s say you want to find some iPad alternatives. Sure, you can type “iPad alternatives” into Google search but you’ll get mostly articles from tech sites and not opinions from people just like you.
Solution: Use the “better than [product]” query and you’ll get way better alternatives. If you’re looking for Firefox alternatives, write “better than Firefox”, for Windows, “better than Windows” and for the iPad:
As you can see, you not only discover alternatives but alternatives that people think to be better. Pretty neat.
4. Search any video site like a pro using Google Video
Let’s just say you’re a big fun of MetaCafe.com. You want to learn German and use their internal search engine to find some videos this topic:
As you can see, you get very limited results. Also, several questions arise. How do they rank the videos? Are there any advanced options for searching (searching by video length and so on)? The answer is (for most video sites), no.
Solution? Google Video Advanced Search Page. Here you’ll find one option called “Domain: Only return videos from the site or domain.” Let’s just use our example and enter metacafe.com
You’ll notice after you click on “Search videos” that the results are usually:
- Way more relevant
- On the left, you can filter the videos by duration, quality and date. You can specify for example a date range so Google can return videos posted on MetaCafe from 1st to 30th March 2010. You can also specify to search videos longer than 10 minutes (I haven’t yet seen any video site that offers this option.)
You can do this trick not only with Metacafe but with any other popular video site like Vimeo, DailyMotion or Hulu. All of them have very limited search functionality compared to Google Video.
5. Detect any unknown language using Google Language Detector
Solution: Take that text and put it into Google Language Detector. Results:
Another good way to detect and also translate is to use Google Translate and the “Detect Language” option:
This is very fast and accurate way to detect any language.
6. See what the French have been searching for recently using Google Insights
You can easily figure out what are the most popular search terms for any country (Google is the #1 search engines in most of the world’s countries) by using one neat tool called Google Insights. Let’s say I want to find what the French have been looking for recently:
Now, among other things you can see some strange words there like Jeux and “Le bon Coin.” I later figured Jeux is a games site while Le bon Coin is something like eBay in French.