This article was last updated on February 19
Google plays a big part in my life and my blogging business. Apart from it’s Adsense publisher program which provides the bulk of this blog’s income, Google’s search engine provides the basis and background for a number of the topics that I write about. I am not alone with 70% of the world using Google Search for most of their search and online questions. However there are a lot of cool features around Google search that can specifically help you improve your knowledge and understanding of the finance and investing world. Rather than just type in the search words, use some of the following “super” search tips to make you more productive and perhaps even grow your bottom line. Best of all – these are all FREE.
1. Use Google as a personal finance and investment dictionary. Not sure what a structured settlement is or what term life insurance is. Then use the “define:” operator to return definitions from various dictionaries (for example define: capital gains tax). So rather than return a whole bunch of sponsored search results, you actually see a straight definition.
2. Key economic Indicators – Want to know the unemployment rate in California, GDP of American vs China or population of Brazil (if investing in one of the Brazilian ETF’s) then just use google to get this data instantly. Type unemployment rate CA (13%) or GDP America ($14.6 Trillion) or GDP China ($4.33 Trillion). A cool site I found when researching this article was US Debt Clock, which shows all of the key US economic indicators (in real time) for America. Some big numbers.
3. Use the “site:” operator to limit searches to a particular site. I use this one all the time, and it’s particularly handy because many site’s built-in search tools don’t return the results you’re looking for or have a decent site feature. For example, even though I have a search feature at the bottom of this page, you could search content on my site specifically by using a search phrase like: Another Extension to Home Buyer Credit site:savingtoinvest.com
4. Google Finance . The reason that discount brokers can offer ultra low stock trading rates less than five bucks is that they do not need to spend a ton of money on research offerings for their customers. That’s because savvy, cost efficient investors can find pretty much most of the public information and recent news articles on particular stock or investment at sites like Google Finance. Want to know the latest news and market data on Apple (AAPL). Go to Google Finance and search for Apple or the ticker AAPL. On the results page, you can click the link to see more data from Google Finance such as free options quotes. You can use the Compare tab in Google Finance to track the performance of several different stocks or indexes at one time, or to give you a better idea of how different stocks are doing. Also, see all the blog posts on your favorite stocks in one place.
5. Use the google search box as a calculator. Google has a built-in calculator — try entering a calculation like 110 * (654/8 + 3). Yes, your computer also has a calculator, but if you spend most of your day inside a browser, typing your calculation into the browser’s search box is quicker than firing up your calculator application.
6. Get quick currency conversions for your currency trading or that overseas trip. Google can also do currency conversion, for example: 100 pounds in dollars. If you would like to convert minor currencies, be sure to be specific about the country. So, if you want to find out how many nuevos soles your dollars might buy, you could try: 100 dollars in Peruvian nuevos soles. You can also do unit conversions for pretty much any measure as well via google search. For example to figure out how many pounds 3 kilograms is equivalent to, type in the phrase 3 kg in pounds
7. Find the Best Prices at Google Shopping. Looking for a deal on that item you want. For example, I recently purchased a ASUS 1005PB Netbook (see my netbooks review) and to find the best price I did on google shopping. Worth checking out for some real-time bargains and as a price comparison option to Amazon and other online sites.
8. Flight Tracker. To see flight status for arriving and departing flights, type in the name of the airline and the flight number into the search box. Eg Type UA 893 and you will see recent flight times. This is a much more efficient way than going to the airlines websites and trying to find the flight status page. Also if you are on your mobile, google search is much, much faster than a flash enabled airline website. As a frequent flier this search has definitely saved me time (and money) over the last few years.
9. Build a blog and some passive income with Google Adsense. If you are interesting in blogging or putting up an informational website then Adsense is probably the easiest way to make some extra money on the side. You make money via people clicking on the Google hosted ads on your site. I found that visitors that come through Google search are the best for revenue opportunities because they are looking for something specific. It takes time and traffic though to build up a decent income but it is very much possible. In 2 years I went from about $1 p/day to a personal daily best of $430 through the Adsense publisher program.
10. Find and Search for images. Looking for that particular image in a presentation or for invitations. As the old saying goes an image can tell a thousand words and Google Images allows you to search millions of images. Just make sure you pay attention to the copyright and attribution rules for the owner of the picture.
Bonus 11. Collaboration via Google Docs. This is one I have been using more and more. After reading the 4-hour work week, I decided to take some of the productivity advice and get a virtual assistant to help with managing some of this blogs administrative and SEO activities. However working across different countries was challenging and sending documents could cause version control issues. This is where google docs came and I was able to create shared a documents and spreadsheets which I am able to share with multiple people all over the world. It is safe, feature rich and free. Another use is if you are doing a shared budget. With Google Docs you and your family can track and update income/expenses in one shared place. Searching across the documents is also much easier!
What other Google tools or search tricks have you found useful?