Every time I turn around, Google's come up with something new, cool and innovative. It's no wonder it has Microsoft on the run. Here's a quick round-up of some of the functions available from the web’s most popular search engine.

Nifty Google features

Calculate this:

You can use Google Calculator to crunch numbers and figure out conversions. Try entering 12*12 and see what happens; you can also run more complex equations, like G*(6e24 kg)/(4000 miles)^2). Google Calculator handles conversions of all types, such as three ounces into tablespoons, $16 into euros, or 19999GB to MB.

Find that number:

You can track FedEx and UPS postal service shipments just by sticking the tracking number into Google's search field; do the same with postcodes and area codes, vehicle IDs, patent numbers, aeroplane registration numbers, and even UPC codes.

Make me special:

Google has special search sites. There's one for Firefox users, another for Linux users and even a spot for those of you who can't get enough of Microsoft .

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Useful Google services

Sights on Google:

My friend Leo sent a note asking if I wanted to create a quick web page, or something fairly complex, with just novice skills. "Google Sites is fun to play with," Leo said, "and even makes a useful web page, too. Of course, it's free."

Ongoing experiments:

f you like poking around with web tools, you need to explore Google Labs. For instance, Experimental Search gives you five new ways to search, each aimed at tightening and focusing on specific results.

Alert me!

Google sends me an email every time it sees a new occurrence of "steve bass PC Advisor," or keywords about my various hobbies and interests. If you haven't tried Google Alerts, you're missing out on a terrific service.

Hello, Google?

If you're using Firefox and find something cool on the web, you can use Google send to phone to pass the info along to a mobile phone. It's a nifty service that's really useful for, say, sending a map to a lost friend. However it's available only in the US at the moment.

NEXT PAGE: There’s even more fun to be found on Google.

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