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Cool Things You Can Do With Google

Cool Things You Can Do With Google
Google Tips

No one would argue the fact that Google is one of the most useful sites on the Internet. Unfortunately, most people only use about 3% of its power.

Smart Google users, on the other hand, know how to turn Google into a quick calculator, translate foreign sites, create their own customized search engine, and search for movie reviews and stock quotes with special search queries. In this article, we’ll show you how to do all of that and more.

Turn Google Into a Quick Calculator

Google enables you to perform a number of math operations including
addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentages.
All you have to do is use some calculator operators, which include:

  • + (addition)
  • – (subtraction)
  • * (multiplication)
  • / (division)
  • % of (percentage of)
  • ^ (raise to a power)

Here a few example queries to get you started.

Take Notes while Browsing the Web with Google Notebook.

This note taking application allows you to organize all of your online research quickly and easily. With Google Notebook, you can clip text, images, and links from web pages while browsing. Your notes and clips are saved to an online “notebook” that you can access from any computer, and may also be shared with others. So whether you’re planning a vacation or writing a school paper, Google Notebook makes it easy. To get started, go to Google Notebook’s main site.

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Translate Foreign Sites

A large portion of the web sites on the Internet are not in English. This means that you’re missing out on a big portion of the Web. Fortunately, Google has provided a solution.

First, translate the word you want to search for into the desired language. You can do this at BabelFish. Next, go to Google, enter your search query, and press enter.

On the results page, you should see a link that says, “Translate this page” to the right side of the search results. Click on that link and Google will automatically translate the page to English
for you.

I have used just this one tip to discover a number of great new sites that I never would have had access to if it weren’t for Google’s translation tools.

Looking for Movie Reviews?

Google’s got you covered. Simply go to http://www.google.com/movies and type in your favorite movie. Here’s an example of my most recent search for Shrek the Third:

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Google Movie Search

Google also has lots of specialized search portals catered to technology enthusiasts.

Are you a Mac junkie? Google will allow you to search for all things related to Mac and Apple at http://www.google.com/mac.

Search for all things Microsoft at http://www.google.com/microsoft/.

Not a Microsoft fan? Google’s got a special Linux search engine waiting for you at http://www.google.com/linux.

Forget the Weather Channel.

Who needs television when you’ve got Google? To get your local weather, simply go to www.google.com and type in weather:”areacode”. Fill in your area code and you will be given a 4-day weather forecast and today’s temperature, wind, and humidity.

Looking For a Stock Quote?

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Find it quickly at Google by typing in: “stocks:msft”. This search query will give you a quick snapshot of Microsoft’s stock performance. To find other stock information, just change the stock symbol.

Create your own Customized Google Search Engine.

Google is allowing everyone to join in the fun with Google Custom Search Engines. This Google product allows anyone to create their very own search engine.

You get to choose the sites, invite others to contribute to your search engine, and even customize the look and feel to suit your preferences.

You could make your very own customized search for jobs, videos, digital camera reviews, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Start building your own search engine at http://google.com/coop/cse/.

Hidden Google Pages

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There are also a number of hidden pages on Google that you’ve probably never seen before. Here are just a few of them:

Google Moms – A tribute to Google moms for Mother’s Day.

Google Dance 2004 , Google Dance 2005 and Google Dance 2006. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but Google has their very own dance. They’re packed with plenty of food, drinks, games, product demos, and a hotspot where you can meet the engineers.

Google Holiday Logos – About the only thing that spices up the Google homepage are their cool logos. They’ve dedicated a special
page to commemorate all of the holiday logos dating back to 1999.

Dilbert and the Google Logo – Check out the first and last Dilbert cartoon on Google.

The Future of Google

Google always has new ideas brewing in the Google Labs. Everything from Experimental Search to Google Voice Local Search. Find out what they’re up to at http://labs.google.com. Play around with their prototypes and then send in some feedback. Who knows, maybe we’ll see your ideas in the next Google tool.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 Essential GTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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