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1.8. Quick Links

If you're a Google regular, you've no doubt noticed those snippets of linked information proliferating near the top-left of the first results page (see Figure 1-2). Where once there was only a sponsored link or two between you and your results, now there are spelling suggestions, news headlines, stock quotes, and all other manner of bits and bobs of rather useful information.

Figure 1-2. Quick links augment search results with relevant, current, and local information

Google is going beyond Web search results to include relevant finds from its other properties and those of third parties. Here, briefly, is the current catalog of quick links:


One nice side effect of Google's listening to the Web is that it picks up a lot of words along the way. Some appear in the dictionary, while others haven't quite made their way into common parlance. Some are made up, while others are simply misspelled. Query Google for something that is commonly spelled another way, and it'll proffer some suggestions. [Hack #9] delves further into the wonders of Google's spell checker.


TLAs (that's "three-letter acronyms") and geek speak abound. Rather than smiling knowingly when you've not a clue what someone just said, ask Google if it knows what your friend, boss, or medical professional is talking about. Prepend just about any word, obscure or garden-variety, with define (e.g., define happy) and the first item on your results page will in all probability be a definition pulled from one of any number of Web dictionaries. Use define: (note the colon—e.g., define:osteichthyes) and you'll pull up a whole page full of definitions [Hack #10] .

News Headlines

Google News (; see Chapter 4) scrapes stories from (at present count) 4,500 news sources. Don't be surprised if there's something new and noteworthy related to your Google search.

Travel Information

Before you hop on that plane, Google your destination using the airport name (e.g., Los Angeles) or code (e.g., LAX) and the word airport. Click the "View conditions at [in this case] Los Angeles International (LAX), Los Angeles, California" link to visit the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) real-time airport status information. At the moment of this writing, LAX has no destination-specific delays, and both departures and arrivals are experiencing fewer than 15-minute gate hold and airborne delays, respectively.

Street Maps

If Google gleans something looking like a geographic location in your search query, it'll provide a link to Yahoo! and MapQuest maps of the area.

Google Local

Include the name of a city, state, or Zip Code anywhere in the U.S. or Canada in your search and Google Local ( [Hack #7] just might suggest a local find. Google for indian food portland oregon and you'll find yourself tempted by the flavors of India House on SW Morrison Street or Wazwan on SW Fourth Street.

Google by Numbers, 1-2-3

You may remember a few important numbers from math class: pi or E or C, for instance. But numbers hold a very special place in Google's collective heart—after all, the name Google comes from googol, or 1.0 10100. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the geeks at Google have taught the search engine to pay attention to particular patterns of numbers, including anything that looks like a calculation ( [Hack #47] or fits a special pattern usually found in particular reference numbers, including:

  • UPS, FedEx, and U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers (e.g., 1Z9999W99999999999), linking to the package service's tracking page and filling in the number to get you going.

  • Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers (e.g., AAAAA999A9AA99999).

  • UPC codes (e.g., 073333531084) at

  • Telephone area codes (e.g., 510) at

  • Patent numbers (e.g., patent 4920273) in the U.S. Patent Database

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane registration numbers (e.g., n199ua), particularly entertaining when you're waiting to board your plane, smartphone in hand [Hack #67] ; look for it on the plane's tail.

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) equipment ID numbers (e.g., fcc B4Z-34009-PIR).

Stock Quotes

Search for a stock symbol [Hack #8] and you'll be quick-linked to Yahoo! Finance.

Froogle Products

If Froogle ( finds a product that seems to be what you're after, it'll link to "Product search results" and two or three offerings at sites like eBay, Golfsmith,, and many more.

There are sure to be more quick links by the time you read this. To keep apprised of what's new, periodically visit the Google Web Search Features (, or just keep Googling and see what appears.

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