Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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New nifty Google stuff

I got the latest issue of the Google Friends Newsletter and it has some nifty stuff in it.

You've probably heard of the Google calculator (e.g. try googling for e^(i pi) + 1 or furlongs per fortnight in km/h), but did you know about:

Area Codes

With the proliferation of U.S. area codes, it's not easy to figure out who's calling from where these days. Now you can enter a 3-digit U.S. area code into any Google search box for a link to a map of that area code's location.


Universal Product Codes (UPC)

Is your checkout scanner on the fritz? Find out more about a product by entering its UPC code into the Google search box. The UPC code is the number on the bottom of the zebra striped bar code displayed on most product packages.


Flight tracking

Attention, travelers (and those picking you up): find the status of a U.S. flight without delay. Just type a flight number into the Google search box (for example, USAir 50) to see a direct link to that flight's status information.


Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers

Want to learn a little more about that car you're about to buy? Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), then type it into Google for a link to a page with more information about the year, make and model of a specific car.

Package tracker

Eager to find out what happened to that fruitcake you ordered last December? Enter a tracking number for any package from UPS, Federal Express, or the U.S. Postal Service in any Google search box and you'll see a direct link to information about the delivery status of that package.

All of these new search features are available now for English language users on throughout the world. (International versions will be available in the coming months.)

Learn more at

Finally, the newspaper headline convention of using a comma instead of a conjunction threw me when I read about "A WORLD OF TALENT - GOOGLE ENGINEERING IN SWITZERLAND, INDIA"—quaint place names they have there in South Asia... or maybe imperialism striking back?

Oh, and for the Perl geeks: read about DBD::Google - a Perl interface that lets you query Google with SQL statements! (It appears that the link in that blog entry is wrong: replace both instances of 'google' with 'Google' and it should work.) Under the hood, it uses the SOAP interface, apparently, so you'll need your own Google API key.

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