Advice For Poets 16: Small Ways Writers (and Readers) Can Utilise Google

As the world’s leading search engine, Google is always trying to improve how it returns reacts to our requests for information. Recently this has involved trying to give us the information we are looking for in the actual search results, with a little less emphasis on directing us away from Google products.

There are loads of cool ways that Google helps us interact with information right in their search results, from reviews to hotel/flight bookings to playing games so we’ve compiled a few that you, as readers and writers of poetry and fiction, may find useful.

Google Translate

Sometimes author’s will pop chunks of text or dialogue into their books in other languages. Most of the time, not understanding them isn’t going to massively impair your enjoyment, but there’ an easy way to check online if you’re curious. You can search Google for a translation service, but a quicker way is to just search on the normal Google search engine for ‘translate *your phrase*’ and the translation will pop right up in your search results.

If you’re looking for words in other languages to use in your own creative writing then you’re probably better off looking for single words, preferably nouns rather than verbs where the tenses may get lost in translation, or short and simple phrases. Google Translate is good, but it’s not quite up to speed with the finer points of most languages.

Google Booksgoogle books

If you are, or have recently been, a student then we’d be shocked if you didn’t already know this! A lot of books, especially older ones that are out of copyright, are available on Google Books to browse either in their entirety or in small sections, entirely for free. The downside is you of course need to be connected to the internet to access them, but it can be really useful for research purposes whether you’re writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction or academic works.

To access it, either click ‘Books’ under the search bar or go to books.google.co.uk (or the equivalent for your country.)

Definitions

Simply add the word ‘define’ before you put in the word and Google will pull a snippet from a dictionary and save you a few clicks.

Numbers, Conversions, Currency

I have used the currency converter when writing fiction about other countries and the measurements converter when talking about the recent past (inches instead of centimeters!)

If you’re in the flow of writing and need a quick answer so you can get right back to it, use Google rather than navigating to a new site. This is about phrasing your question clearly, and Google will pick up what you require. Keep your queries simple and clear – type ‘convert 6 foot into centimetres’ or ‘100 British pounds in euros’ for an immediate answer. You can also use it as a calculator by just typing in your sum.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your creative writing pursuits. If you find yourself writing a well researched poetic masterpiece with your new search engine knowledge, then perhaps you’d consider submitting it for inclusion in our charity poetry anthologyIf you are looking for more Google tips then you can always just, you know, Google them!

Of course, if you’re not in the mood for reading or writing right now than that’s okay – you can always search for ‘do a barrel roll’ and have a little chuckle.

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