Anyone else notice how much better these have gotten over the past few years? Google especially has stepped it up, not only improving their actual search but adding so many other tools and features. When I saw Google has started their "Google Print" search I felt I needed to write a small blog showing some of the many uses of Google I use and others that are available. I know most of this isn't new but I think a lot of people just don't know... hope this helps someone.
Before I go on raving about Google, let us not forget about Yahoo! and their new search engine called Mindset. Mindset allows you to search anything as you would normally but after the initial search it gives you the option to filter searches from commercial to non-commercial sites via 'slide bar'.
I'll start off with the Google homepage. I'm sure you all know the links on here but I'll do a quick run thru. Google Image Search is probably the best way to quickly find an image or just about anything. Froogle is a decent search comparing prices on most items but in my opinion, doesn't have the best selection. Pricegrabber and Pricewatch are my personal favorites in that area. Google Groups is an easy way to search Usenet posts... if you don't know what usenet is, maybe you should Google it. ;-) The rest of the links on the main page are self explanatory.
In this section I'll be showing some of the other things you can do with Google. I often find myself using Google to look up local weather forecasts. If you type "weather 'zipcodehere'" Google will display the current weather along with the next few days... example here. Ever need to look up tracking information on a package but don't know what company shipped it... or needed to look up a product by the UPC code? Have a look at the Search by Numbers help page for details on that and other number involved searches. A new favorite of many is the new Google Maps feature already used by tons of websites dealingwith any kind of directions. This surely will improve over time and probably be the best way to get directions within a few months if not already. I could write for days about how great Google is, but I'm not. This is just something to get people aware of whats out there. Check out the rest of the Help Center to see the rest of the features including Calculator, File Type Search, and even movie times.
I'm not going to get into the Google hacks but if you're interested you can check out johnny.ihackstuff.com or just Google it. My favorite one has to be the WebCam Hack.
Haven't tried Google's GMail yet? I'll give anyone who asks a gmail invite... just leave your email address in the comments section.