IT for Donuts: five secret Google functions

By: John McGarvey

Date: 19 August 2014

Google parcel trackingIT for Donuts is our regular weekly feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This week, here are five secret (ok, secret-ish) Google functions for you to try.

1. Check the time anywhere

If you need to check the time in another location, don't worry about trying to work it out manually.

Go to Google and enter time in [location]. It'll tell you. Here's an example.

2. Do difficult sums

Google will solve sums when you type them in, like this. And if you type calc into the search engine, a full scientific calculator will pop up.

3. Check flight status

If you need to meet someone at the airport (or have a flight to catch), you can use Google to see if the flight's running on time.

Just enter the flight number into the search box. Here's the result for BA005, British Airways' daily flight from London to Tokyo.

4. Create a countdown timer

If you're heating up your lunchtime soup or trying out the Pomodoro Technique to concentrate, you might need a countdown timer.

No problem. Just enter timer into the search box. Or if you enter five minute timer, a timer will start counting down from five minutes.

5. Track your deliveries

Google has got pretty good at recognising courier tracking numbers, so you don't have to find the ‘track package' function on the carrier's own website.

Sometimes you'll see the status of the item itself. Other times you might just see a direct link to the tracking page, as in the screenshot above.

What Google secrets have you discovered?

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.