Innovation. We see it in the creation of self-driving cars. It’s there in Drake’s dance moves and it’s evident in the works of companies such as Apple, Lenovo, Facebook and of course, Google. More than a search engine, Google provides users with an abundance of online tools, from the very handy Google Translate to the very, very convenient Google Maps. Below you’ll find just some of the other creative tools designed to help you get what you want out of your online experience. Thanks, Google!
Want to see what everyone’s talking about? Keen to know whether Kim Kardashian’s online popularity is spiking or at an all-time low? For all this and more, turn to Google Trends. Using a percentage of Google web searches, this tool determines and displays a term’s popularity over a set period of time. You can filter the results by country (or global) and time period, including the past hour. Fun fact: Kim Kardashian’s worldwide reign of terror popularity peaked in November 2014.
When you’re on the hunt for data, head to Google Public Data Explorer and see what you can find. This tool displays datasets from a number of reliable sources, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sure, you may not find specific information like the number of fire ants in Queensland, but you’ll be privy to some interesting statistics and will be able to compare data in a number of visually appealing graphs and charts. For example, I was able to compare IMF unemployment rates for Australia, Albania and Austria from 1982 to now!
Looking for more research? For articles, books, academic abstracts, theses and court cases, be sure to stop by Google Scholar and try your luck. This tool can be helpful if you are writing an in-depth article or assignment on a particular topic and want to back up your thoughts and ideas with expert testimonials or shed light on contradicting opinions.
Whether you’re doing some historical research or just wished you lived in the 1970s, Google News Archive can help you out. Google News actually stores content that dates back to 2003, so you can find new articles from back in the day, instead of only the most current news sources. Go to news.google.com and search normally. When the results pop up, click on the Search Tools box and then change ‘Recent’ to ‘Archives’. For results from before 2003, you’ll need to do a normal Google search and then filter using the same method – instead of ‘Archive’, you’ll need to tweak the ‘Custom range’ option.
For newspaper articles (remember them?), type site:google.com/newspapers ‘search term’ and away you go. An example would be: site:google.com/newspapers ‘Berlin Wall’ or even site:google.com/newspapers ‘MC Hammer parachute pants’.
Google Alerts allows users to be notified via email when news items are published in relation to a certain term or topic. You don’t need to be obsessed with Game of Thrones to see the usefulness of this tool; journalists, PR professionals and nerds alike can maximise their online stalking with Google Alerts.
Of course, there are many, many other innovative tools available out there. We are talking about Google, after all. If you would like to add to the list, comment below!