Lucky for us Google is continually tweaking and enhancing its search solution. That means we can refine our searches and pick up the information we truly need rather than wade through oceans of website pages. However, they obviously have some quiet afternoons at the Googleplex in Mountain View because some of the search features they have come up border on the bizarre. Here then, in no particular order, are some Google search features that are genuinely useful, and some that are just entertaining. You decide for yourself which is which!
1. Search for Multiple Terms
Anyone can use Google to find information on cats, dogs and mice, but what if you are looking for an article that contains each of these items? Well, simply put them in the search box with "AND" (in big letters) between each item. The top articles containing ALL of the terms are shown in the search results.
2. Search for a Term WITHOUT Another Term
Yes, of course - we all know that cloud computing is the current big thing. But what if you just want information about regular clouds? Google has that covered. Add the term you are looking for, and the term you want to avoid, but put a minus sign "-" immediately before the latter. All the results you get contain the former item only.
3. Search for an Incomplete Term
You need to search for something, but you just can't remember it in its entirety - what do you do? Well, Google allows you to add the term and add an asterisk in place of the part you can't remember. The results you generate are the closest approximations to the term you want.
4. Compare Items
Often you need to compare items with a search. But rather than print off lots of pages about each item and then read them, put 'vs' between each item in Google's search field to generate a side-by-side comparison.
Simply add "timer" into the search field and you get an adjustable time counter with an alarm - good for timing yourself on particular tasks.
6. Times around the World
Simply add "time in .... " plus the location you want the time for and Google gives you the current time in that location at that very moment.
7. Leader of ....
Type in "leader of ...." and the country you are interested in, and detailed information about that country's leader appears.
8. Team Information
Type in the name of your favorite sports team and up comes information about that team and any latest scores.
9. TV Program Episodes
When you are looking at the TV schedule and you can't remember if you have seen a particular episode or not, type in the name of the program followed by "episodes" and details of each of the program's episodes appear.
Need to plan your leave but can't remember when a particular holiday falls? Type in the holiday, and the year, and Google gives you the details.
11. Books by a Particular Author; Movies by a Particular Artist
Type "books by ...." and a particular author you might be interested in, and a list of that author's books appears. The same happens when you type in "movies by ...." plus a particular artist - you get a list of that artist's movies.
12. Image Search
As the name implies, upload an image or enter the URL of an image on a web page, and Google generates details about the image.
Unless the legs of the chair you are sitting on are shorter on one side, this is of no obvious use - it's cool to show off to people though! Type "tilt" into the search field and the whole search page tilts down a little on the right side. Genuinely odd.