You’re finally getting into the swing of your new back-to-school schedule, and the No. 1 tool for today’s students isn’t a backpack, pencil, or paper: it’s Google. With seemingly endless tools, uses, and resources, Google is a virtual powerhouse for all things learning. Of course, Google’s even better if you know how to step beyond the simple search box and take advantage of everything the search giant has to offer. That’s why we’re highlighting 52 different tricks that you can use this back-to-school season, whether you’re heading off to college or getting started on your online degree.
Curious about your campus? Find out the real deal with these Google tricks.
- Check out your campus with Street View: Get familiar with your campus from the comfort of your dorm room by checking it all out on Google’s Street View maps.
- Find out what’s great on campus: Use Google Places to discover and read ratings about coffee shops, book stores, and other great places to check out around campus.
- Check out the weather: Find out what the weather’s like in your college town by simply typing weather, plus the city and state or zip code into Google’s search bar.
Social, Groups & Collaboration
In recent years, Google has introduced lots of great tools for interaction and collaboration, including Google Docs and Google Hangouts. These tricks will help you make the most of Google’s social tools.
- Plan club meetings: Planning a back-to-school meeting for your club? Video chat with up to nine of your members to discuss what it’s all about.
- Plan events efficiently: Use Google+ Events to invite friends with a personalized video greeting, and even upload photos during the event with Party Mode.
- Share your schedule: Let your buddies know your class schedule and what you’re up to by sharing your Google Calendar.
- Keep everyone in the loop: Use Google+ to organize your friends and bring them all into the conversation together.
- Create forms for your group: Using Google forms, you can quickly gather information from club and group members.
- Put sticky notes in your Hangouts: With the Symphonical app, you can add sticky notes for group scribbles.
- Plan study group meetings: Create a shared Google Calendar for your study group to plan your meeting schedule efficiently.
- Create shared folders with Google Drive: Make group project materials easy to access with Google Drive’s shared folders.
- Keep your groups together: Organize meetings, social events, and more with Google Groups’ private email lists.
Efficiency & Time Management
Use these great tricks from Google to stay on top of every assignment and commitment.
- Become a better searcher: Try these Google search challenges to test and improve your search skills.
- Get organized with Google Calendar: Juggle your classes, assignments, extracurriculars, and social life with ease by organizing all of your commitments on Google Calendar.
- Never be late for class: Download the doubleTwist Alarm Clock from Google Play and you’ll be sure to wake up on time.
- Plan your day with Google Now: Using Google Now, you can get the right information at the right time, like traffic conditions before class and game times for your favorite college team.
- Import class syllabi: With Google Docs and Calendar, you can import your class syllabi, so you’ll always be on top of your assignments and readings.
- Stay on task: Download the Todo.ly Chrome extension to get organized and remember to get everything done, whether it’s running errands or finishing your term paper.
- Take notes in Google Docs with your pen: Using Livescribe pens, you can take notes that go straight to Google Docs.
- Read back-to-school issues online: Check out Google Play’s collection of back-to-school magazine issues to get caught up on the latest looks and ideas this fall.
- Find the right words: Look up synonyms, dictionary definitions, even check your spelling, right from Google’s search box.
- Fly though your inbox: Use Gmail’s priority inbox to automatically identify your most important email.
- Print anything anywhere: On Google Drive, you can send just about any file to FedEx to be printed using your laptop or even your phone.
- Stay focused with Chrome: Google’s Chrome browser offers an add-on that will help you stay focused and on track, blocking websites that tend to eat up your attention.
- Track care packages: If you’ve got something special coming from home, stay on top of its arrival by typing your tracking code into the Google search bar.
- Wage war on inbox spam: Use Gmail’s auto-unsubscribe feature to rid your inbox of mailing lists and newsletters you’re no longer interested in.
Travel & Mapping
A long way from home? Don’t worry, Google’s got your back. Find out where everything is and how to get there with these mapping tricks from Google.
- Find your way around the mall: Conquer your back-to-school shopping list with indoor Google Maps available for malls and department stores.
- Find a flight home: Homesick already? Get connected with your next flight home using Google’s Flight Search.
- Find a place to live: Search for an apartment or house to rent in your college town with the super slick PadMapper app for Chrome.
- Find out what time it is at home: See the current time in any city in the world by typing time and the name of the city into Google’s search bar.
Learning & Research
Search is still Google’s best trick, and these tips will help you make the most of Google’s capacity for learning and research.
- Learn about your professors: Google offers extensive people profiles, especially for individuals who are on Google+. Type the name of your professor or new classmate into Google to find their profile and learn more about them.
- Learn anything: YouTube EDU is full of endless resources for learning, from English lessons to real-life math.
- Find credible resources: Search with Google Scholar to find and cite scholarly literature including journals, books, and abstracts.
- Create your own flash cards: Use Chrome’s FlashCards extension to learn languages faster, prep for exams, and even entertain yourself with fun trivia.
- Do research inside Google Docs: With a handy research pane, you can add useful information like quotes, statistics, and expert opinions without even leaving Google Documents.
- Track down rare books: Use Google’s Book Search to get access to hard-to-find books, whether it’s online or at your local library.
- Make Google do the math for you: Google search offers a calculator function, so you can type any equation into Google’s search box and get an answer.
- Create graphs with Google, too: For advanced math users, Google has a graphing functionality. Just plot mathematical functions into the search bar, and you’ll get an interactive graph.
- Download educational apps: Turn your Google Chrome browser into an educational powerhouse with loads of education apps available in the Chrome Web Store.
- Explore cool tools in Google Earth: Find the path of Lewis and Clark, places quoted in Shakespeare, even National Geographic content through Google Earth tools.
- Become a Google Intern: Have you always dreamed of working for Google? Get a taste as a Google BOLD intern.
- Find public data: Public data is quickly available at your fingertips through Google search. Just type in “population” or “unemployment rate” plus a state or county to find the information.
- Get a Google dictionary: Add the Google Dictionary app to your Chrome web browser, and you can view definitions without even leaving the page.
- Find millions of free books: Check out Google Play where you can find millions of free books, including classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Gulliver’s Travels.
- Use a Chromebook for class: A super streamlined option for education, the Google Chromebook is a fast laptop with thousands of apps, automatic updates, virus protection, and cloud backup.
- Manage shared expenses: Chances are, you’re living with a roommate in college, and you may have some shared expenses. Manage them all in a Google Docs spreadsheet to make sure everyone’s in the loop.
Health & Safety
Stay healthy on campus with these health and safety tricks from Google.
- Set a ring schedule with Google Voice: Embarrassed by your phone going off during class? You can set up a custom ring schedule so that your phone only rings during certain times or days of the week.
- Look up health conditions: Enter a common disease or symptom into Google’s search box to get an expert summary.
- Find back-to-school immunizations: Get protected against meningitis, HPV, and more with back-to-school immunizations, and find out where to get them with Google Maps.