For COVID-19 updates, visit the official government website www.sacoronavirus.co.za for free.
While most people use Google as a search engine, the website actually has more tools than you might realise. In fact, typing certain phrases into your search bar will load a number of different features. These embedded tools aren’t hidden, but they don’t appear on the main search page either. As a result, many people don’t know they’re there.
From finding your Android devices to getting weather forecasts, here are four of the coolest and most useful tools you can load using Google Search.
1. Track or find your phone
If you have an Android phone and you’ve misplaced it, you can use Google Search to find its location. Simply type 'find my phone' into the search bar and Google will load a map, the devices you’ve signed into with your Google account, and options for tracking these devices.
If your phone is just somewhere around the house and you can’t find it, select 'ring' and your phone will play a tune. This is incredibly handy since it works even if your phone is on silent.
If you’ve lost your phone, you can use 'recover' to track its location and where it was last used. If your phone has been stolen, you can remotely lock or erase your device, as long as it is still online.
2. Get updates on a flight
You can track flights and get a summary of relevant information by simply typing a flight number into Google Search, instead of checking the airline's website or airport arrivals.
Once you type in the flight number, Google will load a summary and the flight’s status for the day. You can change the date to find the specific flight that is relevant to you (since flight numbers are recycled).
3. Check the weather forecast for your area
You can type 'weather' into Google to find the current conditions, high and low temperatures, the chance of rain, wind speed, and the forecast for the next few days.
The exact location may depend on which device you’re using – if you’re searching on your phone, Google can load the specific location you’re in down to your suburb. However, if you’re using a device without GPS, it may search a broader area based on your IP address.
4. Load converters and calculators
Google has a number of calculator tools you can use to quickly do maths or convert certain units and currencies. To load a standard calculator, simply type 'calculator' into the search bar.
You can load a currency converter by either using the term 'currency converter' or by specifying the currencies you want to convert between. For example, searching for 'dollars to rands' will load a currency converter showing the current rate of dollars to rands as well as fields where you can enter specific amounts for conversion.
The converter features also work for measurements and other units. You can search for 'kgs to pounds' to load a weight converter, for example, or 'centimetres to feet' for length measurement conversion.
If you want a standard unit converter for a variety of measurements, you can use the general term 'unit converter' and Google will load a tool that you can toggle.