Google, the great decider of arguments, recipient of ever stranger questions asked by humans and verb, is turning 20 today.

The search engine began life as a research project and today its one of the most valuable companies in the world.

To celebrate its birthday Google has compiled a homage to its Google Doodles but arguably its crowning function is Search.

Search was the first thing Google did and did well. Today Search is available in 150 languages in 190 countries and to celebrate the firm we’re going to share some useful tricks you can do with Search, besides search.

Time conversion

This is a feature we use quite often to great effect. Instead of checking GMT timezones and calculating the difference between CAT and PT you can simply key in the time including the time zone – 10AM PT for example – and Google will give you the local time, with daylight savings factored in for good measure.

Currency Conversion

Need to know how badly the rand is performing against the dollar or euro? Simply type in the two currencies you’d like to convert between and Google will do the rest.

Weather Forecast

Pretty self-explanatory. Search for the term “weather” and Google will give you a week-long weather forecast.

Sports schedules

Not sure when the big sports ball game is on? Simply search for the name of the team you want to watch followed by the word game and you’ll get a full schedule of games, past and forthcoming.


Need to remember to call a client back but your phone is charging at a plug on the other side of the office? Not a problem. You can set a timer in search by simply typing timer into the search bar. When time is up Google will sound an alarm.

Speed test

Type speed test into Google to get a quick look at how your internet connection is performing.

Find seriously old newspaper articles

Did you know that Google archives newspaper articles going back as far as 200 years ago? Now you do. Visit this link to get lost in time.

Find similar websites

Tired of getting news from one source? Simply enter into the search bar and Google will return related websites. We’re not entirely sure how we are related to Mariah Carey but we’ll take it.

Search for a specific file extension

If you are searching for a particular file type related to a search term, no sweat. In order to find a children’s story in PDF, for example, you can search for Little Red Riding Hood PDF.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the …

Not quite sure how a particular phrase goes? Type the parts of the phrase you do know and replace the missing words with a * and Google will return the most common versions of that phrase.


Want to know what that “word” means? Simply type define along with the word you want to know the definition of into the search bar and Google will tell you the definition.

Google Translate in Search

Need to know what a word is in another language? Simply type translate [word] into [language] and Google will give you the translation.

Track stocks

Simply type the name of the stock (for example GOOG for Alphabet) you want to get the performance of and Google will give you an overview.


If for some inexplicable reason the stopwatch on your phone stops working you can use Google search’s built-in stopwatch by simply typing stopwatch into search.

Flight status

We’ve used this one a fair few times. To get your flight details simply key in the flight number in search and Google will return the relevant results.

Make sure you don’t double buy

If you’ve spotted a great deal on an item but can’t recall if you’ve purchased it already not to fear. Searching for the item will activate a prompt within search that will allow you to search your Google account – provided you are logged in of course. Click that link and it will tell you when you purchased it and for how much.

Happy birthday Google, I for one appreciate your service because it has let me win countless arguments. Oh, and I suppose it helped me learn a thing or two as well.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.