For a tool most of us use every day to find stuff on the web, Google has more than a few helpful tricks up its sleeve that aren’t super apparent unless you know where to look.
Here are a few I’ve found recently that have saved me countless clicks, spared me visits to garishly designed apps, and generally made things a little less complicated.
Order up some food
There are enough food-ordering services out there that you might starve before flipping through them all to find something you want.
Instead, just navigate to orderfood.google.com, and you’ll be presented with a map of nearby restaurants that offer pickup and delivery.
Google pulls in listings from popular apps and services and lets you browse by category if you’re in the mood for a particular style of food.
Once you’re ready to order, you can do so via a clean, easy, very Google-like interface instead of being shuttled off to a third-party app or site. I’ve actually found it easier to use than just about any other service out there. So check it out the next time the fridge is empty or you don’t want to mess up your kitchen.
Search with a friend
My wife and I are planning a trip to the Bahamas next year, but our cabin fever has gotten so out of control that we’re already researching bars, restaurants, beaches, and stuff like that.
In the past, we would have texted links back and forth to each other and, come time for the trip, forgotten just about everything. Not this time!
Using the Google search app (Android, iOS), we can create collections to house all our findings.
I created a “Bahamas Trip” collection (here’s how) and then invited my wife as a contributor. Between now and our trip, we can add interesting sites, photos, videos, and other fodder to our collection (here’s how), then revisit them once we (finally) reach our destination.
For those of you keeping score, my prospects for a dynamite pale ale don’t look too good. Send any recommendations my way.
Find something to watch
When it comes to entertainment, we’ve got an embarrassment of riches at the moment, and things won’t slow down anytime soon. The problem is finding something you want to watch that also happens to be available on one of the dozen or so streaming services you regularly use.
For that, just type “what to watch” into Google and you’ll get a nearly endless list of shows and movies to choose from. From there, you can drill down by category, select just shows or movies, and—best of all—click the “Edit your services” button in the upper-right corner to select the services you subscribe to.
By default, you’ll see stuff in your chosen genre that can be rented. But there’s a “free” option among the genres that then shows you the titles that are available as part of one of your subscriptions.
Select that along with the genre or genres that interest you and you’ll get a much better selection of titles that you can stream without spending any extra money.
Now that we’re all GameStop millionaires, it’s time to diversify our portfolios, right?
Even if you regularly use a single brokerage firm, Google’s finance portal—finance.google.com—is quick, easy, and clean.
You can follow all the stocks you own by searching for their respective ticker symbols and clicking the blue Follow button in the upper-right corner of each one’s summary search result.
Once you’ve got everything squared away, a quick visit to Google Finance gives you a bird’s-eye view of your gains and losses, shows you upcoming earnings calls, and serves up financial news headlines.
Like the aforementioned food-ordering features, Google’s flight finder—flights.google.com— just does flight searches better, more cleanly, and less annoyingly than other flight-search sites.
Flight info is pulled from 300-plus travel sites and can be presented based on what’s best from a price-to-convenience standpoint. There are also helpful little extras such as information on seat features—legroom, outlets, Wi-Fi, and the like—and price predictions to help you decide whether to buy now or wait a bit.
If the latter makes sense, you can view additional flight dates and prices from a straightforward calendar grid to see if other days are cheaper, or just let Google track the prices of your trip for you, sending you an email once things start trending downward.