ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

20 things you never knew you could do with Google

20 things you never knew you could do with Google

20 things you never knew you could do with Google
08 December 2015

Google, eh? It's bloody brilliant. 

All that searching. Finding stuff you had no idea was out there, such as those regional records for the UK's Ultimate Frisbee Nationals, 2009-2010, or that photo of the Gladiators cast from 1993.

But did you know the true talents of the internet's most popular search engine. Like its hidden games? Or secret stop watch?

Here are 20 things you probably never knew you could do with Google.

(Thanks to this Imgur post for starting us off)

Test your geographical knowledge

Always pulled your pub quiz team along during the geography round? Time to give that knowledge a sterner test with Google's own trivia game, Smarty Pins.

You answer geography trivia questions by dropping a pin on Google Maps to represent your answer. It's your new favourite way to kill your lunch hour.

Find new fonts

Are you a sucker for a gorgeous piece of typography? Of course you are - you bloody love words and stuff, right?

Type "Fonts" into Google and squeal like a stuck pig as you're returned a list of excellent fonts, free to use wherever you may please. 

No, Comic Sans doesn't feature.

Play Atari Breakout with Google Images

Search "Atari Breakout" and select Image results.

Then forget about the rest of the work you were supposed to finish today.

Get classic cocktail recipes

Regretting that boast you could make a mean Old Fashioned? Google can help.

Google now understands that if you type in "How to make a", you'll more likely want a simple instruction list than a page of website results. 

Cocktails are an easy example, but it also works for many food recipes. 

Watch Shakespeare in 360 degrees

Part of Google's growing Art Project scheme, you can now watch sections of Henry V, and varios classical music performances, in 3D. 

Head to Google's Cultural Institute to find out more.

Phonetic numbers

Got a massive number that you'll be buggered to know how to read? 

Punch it into Google, followed by "=english" and it'll tell you how to read it.

It'll only work with numbers smaller than 12 digits mind. No squillions here.

Search art galleries in high-res

Google's Art Project is staggering, compiling the collections of thousands of galleries around the world into a searchable library of high-resolution images.

Need a new fancy desktop background? Head here to find it.

Get more specific search results

Know that a website has some content containing a specific term or sentence?

Type "site:" followed by the name of the website (e.g. "") and then put the world or phrase in "speech marks".

You'll then be returned a series of results in which that word or phrase appeared on the target website. 

Search the night's sky

Space is awesome. You'd love to visit - but becoming an astronaut is out of the question. You've got too many episodes of Gotham to catch up on, and who's going to feed the cat?

Explore space from the comfort (and relative safety) of your own desk by heading to "".

If the galaxy is too vast for you, have a look at the surface of the Moon or Mars.

Search book mentions

Google's Book project has been filing away every word in 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008.

With the nGram tool, you can search for mentions of individual words from some 500 years of literature, viewing the results as shifting percentage.

Generate your own timer

Should a scenario ever arise in which you need a 78 second timer (beating an incredibly specific speed record?), Google can help.

Just search "78 second timer" and bingo, you've got one.

There's also a stopwatch function as well. 

Observe Conway's Game of Life

No, not the board game. Conway's Game of Life is a cellular automaton - a demonstration of how cells can divide and multiple over a given period of time. 

Just type "Conway's Game of Life" into Google and observe it building populations to the right of your search results. 

Build LEGO in Chrome

A partnership between the foremost breaker of feet/children's toy and Google means you can actually build LEGO models in Chrome and drop them onto Google Maps.

And never do any work ever again.

Compare calories

There's no chance you're going to attempt that three-layer lasagne you copied down from your mum's recipe stash any time soon - so what damage will the contents of your freezer do to you?

If you want a nutritional breakdown of any foodstuffs, just type "[food] vs [food]" into Google, and its clever Search Graph result will give you a neat comparison of data.

Find templates for documents

Need to polish up that CV?

Got a business report you can't even begin to start?

Google Docs has a Template Gallery, filled with suggested outlines for a whole heap of common documents that should make life a lot easier.

Draw your own script in Google Translate

Sure, you've been using Google Translate since you had to organise that stag do on the Spanish coast (never again) - but did you know you can draw symbols for Google to detect the language?

Head to Google Translate and select the pencil button in the bottom left of the input box.

Play Zerg Rush

Slow day? Type "Zerg Rush" into Google and click your productivity away as your search results are attacked by a group of hungry Google 'O's. 

There are high scores to be had.

Define anything

Got yourself into an argument over the exact definition of "literally"? 

Type "Define:" and the word in question, and Google will bring up its accepted definition.

Currency converter

Take the faff out of looking up the latest currency conversions by typing your desired currency unit directly into Google.

It'll recognise your local currency and convert it with the latest financial data.

Unit converter

Stumped to know how long to cook your 12 pound turkey for?

Typing any unit measurement into Google will bring up its unit converter - letting you tweak miles to kilometres, pounds to kilos and countless other units without the hassle of finding a unit converter app.