I love Google

Everyone knows Google! It has quickly become one of the Web's most widely used search engines.

by Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: search engine, Google, browser, categories, links, features, site, Dr. Jeff Dalin.

Everyone knows Google! It has quickly become one of the Web's most widely used search engines. Recently, Google has grown into one of the Internet's most sophisticated and complete sites.

When you visit www.google.com, you will find the search box in the center of the page. In the box, you can type in just about anything and you will be provided with pages of possible links to get you where you want to go. At the top of the page, you will find some of Google's most commonly used categories: Web (the normal search area), Images (find countless images here), Map (complete with directions), News, Shopping, Mail (set up a g-mail account here), Video, Groups, Finance, Blogs, Photos (Google owns Picassa, a photo editing and storage area), and Reader. Click on any of these links and you will be sent to where you want to be.

A group of Google experts were surveyed and compiled a list of 20 of their favorite helpful tips. The tips appeared in the June 27 issue of PC magazine. Please save this column. I think you will constantly refer to it. Here are the tips:

1) Weather: Type in "weather" and a city or zip code. You will get current weather conditions and a four-day forecast.

2) Movies: Type in "movies" and the name of a current film and your city or zip code.

3) Area code: Type in an area code and you will find the location of a phone number.

4) Package tracking: Enter the tracking number of a package from Federal Express, UPS, DHL, or USPS.

5) Flight status: Type in the name of the airline followed by the flight number to see the status of a U.S. flight.

6) Measurement conversion: You can get height, weight and cooking conversions. For example, if you type in "2 liters to cups," it will tell you how many cups are in two liters.

7) Currency conversions: Simply enter the currency conversion into the search box.

8) Calculator: Type an equation into the search box.

9) Definitions: Type "define" followed by a word in the search box.

10) Q & A: Ask a fact-based question by typing it into the search box and you will see the answer at the top of your search results, as well as a link to the source.

11) Sky: Browse the universe at sky.google.com.

12) Search nearby: Find a destination on a map, for example, a hotel. In the information bubble, "search nearby" to find businesses and attractions in the same area.

13) Use business name/category in directions search: Instead of looking up a store's address and then having to get directions from one place to another, simply type in "deli chesterfield, mo to gas station creve coeur, mo" and Google will provide you with a list of businesses to choose from and directions from point to point.

14) Public transit directions: Go to google.com/transit.

15) My Maps: You can create maps by adding lines, pictures, and more to a Google Map.

16) Check gas prices: Go to maps.google.com, select "My Maps" and browse for "gas prices by gasbuddy.com." There are other great tools here, such as accuweather.com, area calculator, and real estate search.

17) Check traffic: In many cities, Google provides real-time traffic information. Type in your city and click on the "Traffic" button in the upper right corner of the map to view traffic patterns, road closures, and construction sites.

18) Street View:b> View and navigate high-resolution 360-degree, street-level images of various cities. Just click on the Street View button and drag the "person" onto a blue-outlined street.

19) Editing Google Maps: You can add or edit business listing information to Google Maps.

20) Weather in Google Earth: Get weather forecasts, conditions, clouds, and radars in the Weather folder in Google Earth's layer menu.

Google programmers continually work on new ideas. Go to labs.google.com to check out some of their new ideas. Here is a sample of what you will find: Google Suggest, Goog-411, Google Reader, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google Video, and Google Glossary.

The possibilities seem endless at www.google.com. What started out as a silly-sounding name has evolved into something special.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine, and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. He is a cofounder of the Give Kids A Smile program. Contact him by e-mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax at (314) 567-9047.

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