Google tips Google searches, iGoogle, Google Translate and Google Labs

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This article, Google tips, was last updated on 10 April 2009 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Technology articles.

Google: more than just a search engine

Google has 87.3% of the web search market in the UK

Google has a whopping 87% of the search engine market in the UK, and around 70% in the US, according to Hitwise. Google also has 160 international versions of its site, from Google Cambodia to Google Haiti.

But there’s more to Google than searching. Google also owns webmail service Gmail, or Google Mail in the UK, the Chrome web browser, free voice chat service Google Talk, photo-indexing tool Picasa, Google Earth, Blogger and more. 

You should have a Google account to make the most of these tips. Go to Google's home page, click Sign In then Create an account now. If you already have Google Mail, you can use your login details.

Which? top tips for using Google

1. Personalise Google using iGoogle

iGoogle lets you access important at-a-glance information through a customised homepage. You could create a series of windows featuring email, today’s weather, stock quotes or news headlines. There are also gadgets you can add to your page, such as a quote of the day. 

2. Smarter Google searches

  • Movie screening times Type the name of the film you want to see, along with your postcode into Google and it’ll direct you to cinemas close to your location.
  • Special delivery Expecting a special delivery? Just type its tracking number into the Google search box and you can click through to the relevant Royal Mail web page. 
  • Currency conversion For simple British currency conversion, type ‘£10 in American money’.

3. Using Google Translate

Imagine how frustrating it would be to find exactly what you’re looking for, only to discover that the webpage is written in French, German or Spanish.

Google Translate can convert these pages to English for you. Just paste the web address into Google Translate, and Google converts the page into English. 

The results are a little crude, but if you think you can do a better interpretation, hover over the words in the resulting translation box, click Suggest a better translation, enter the correct translation and click Contribute.

4. Find out what's coming soon at Google Labs

Be the first to know what Google is working on next by visiting its 'technology playground', Google Labs. There, you can check out all sorts of new ideas and prototypes that Google is developing, such as the experimental 'Accessible search', which provides Google search listings in large fonts and in contrasting colours, or 'Google Mars', which lets you view detailed infrared maps of the red planet.