With classes, homework, and projects–not to mention your social life–time is truly at a premium for you, so why not latch onto the wide world that Google has to offer? From super-effective search tricks to Google hacks specifically for education to tricks and tips for using Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar, these tricks will surely save you some precious time.
These search tricks can save you time when researching online for your next project or just to find out what time it is across the world, so start using these right away.
Convert units. Whether you want to convert currency, American and metric units, or any other unit, try typing in the known unit and the unknown unit to find your answer (like “how many teaspoons in a tablespoon” or “10 US dollars in Euros”).
Do a timeline search. Use “view:timeline” followed by whatever you are researching to get a timeline for that topic.
Get around blocked sites. If you are having problems getting around a blocked site, just type “cache:website address” with website address being the address of the blocked site to use Google’s cached copy to get where you are going.
Use a tilde. Using a tilde (~) with a search term will bring you results with related search terms.
Use the image search. Type in your search word, then select Images to use the image search when trying to put a picture to your term.
Get a definition. If you want a definition without having to track down an online (or a physical) dictionary, just type “definition:word” to find the definition of the word in your results (i.e.: “definition: serendipity” will track down the definition of the word “serendipity”).
Search within a specific website. If you know you want to look up Babe Ruth in Wikipedia, type in “site:wikipedia.org Babe Ruth” to go directly to the Wikipedia page about Babe Ruth. It works for any site, not just Wikipedia.
Search within a specific kind of site. If you know you only want results from an educational site, try “site:edu” or for a government site, try “site:gov” and your search term to get results only from sites with those web addresses.
Search for a specific file type. If you know you want a PDF (or maybe an MP3), just type in “filetype:pdf” and your search term to find results that are only in that file type.
Calculate with Google. Type in any normal mathematical expressions to get the answer immediately. For example, “2*4″ will get you the answer “8.”
Time. Enter “what time is it” and any location to find out the local time.
Find a term in a URL. This handy trick is especially useful when searching blogs, where dates are frequently used in the URL. If you want to know about a topic for that year only and not any other year, type “inurl:2009″ and your keyword to find results with your keyword in URLs with 2009 in them.
Use the Archive feature. One of the great features of Gmail is that it allows you to archive emails to get them out of your inbox, then you can use the search feature to find them if you need them again.
Highlight mail with labels. Use labels to mark your messages. You can find them easily while in your inbox and do a search for all the messages with that label after you archive them.
Never forget to attach a file. By signing up for the Labs, you can select to have the Forgotten Attachment Detector. This feature notices if you have typed something about an attachment in the body, but are sending without actually attaching anything–a great tool to save time and embarrassment.
Use keyboard shortcuts. Go to Settings and enable keyboard shortcuts so you can perform common tasks at the touch of just one or two keys.
Add multiple attachments. Use the Control (or Cmd on Macs) and Shift keys to select more than one file to attach to your email at one time.
Use the https option. Google recommends using this option if you use your Gmail in public places like a dorm or coffee shop to add an extra bit of protection to your Internet activities.
Add a “Waiting for Response” label. If you have emails in your inbox that you are holding until someone gets back to you, creating this label keeps you from forgetting to follow up on it later.
Use Canned Responses. If you find yourself writing the same type of email over and over, use the Canned Responses feature in the Labs to create a template that you you can use without having to type out the entire email every time.
Consolidate email accounts. If you have a Gmail account, an account through school, and any other account you are juggling separately, combine them all into Gmail to cut down on time spent checking all those accounts.
Use AIM in Gmail. If you use AIM to IM friends or partners on projects, add it to the chat feature already in Gmail to have access to both.
Save yourself some time by keeping track of appointments, assignments, and more with Google Calendar.
Easily find friends. Find out where your friends are and even get a map with directions for how to get there with Google Latitudes.
Find out information easily while on the go. Whether you are looking for a great place to eat dinner, wondering what the weather is like, or want to know what the Spanish word for “bathroom” is, just text your information to Google (466453–spells Google on your phone) to get the answer texted back right away.
Access iGoogle. Get your iGoogle page formatted just for the smaller screen size of your phone.
Learn how Google Books can save you time and trips to the library with these tricks.
Search full text. Google Books offers full text for over 10,000 books, so look here the next time you are researching something at the last minute.
Use “About this book”. At the top left of the page of a book, clicking this link will give you helpful information such as the table of contents, related books, and a map of places mentioned in the book.
Create a personalized library. Click on “Add to my shared library” to start your own personalized library where you can label books to keep them organized for each class or project.
Find books in your college library. Each book in Google Books has a link to find the book in a library. It can tell you exactly where to look at your own school.
Use the Advanced Book Search. If you can’t find the book you are looking for, try the advanced search, which provides you with many more detailed options.
Access text books. Many text books are available on Google Books, so see if you can save a trip to the bookstore next semester.