Did you ever notice how when you do certain types of searches on Google that the results include cool and useful things above and beyond just pages that match? The one I use a lot is math equations. Try it by searching for “(300*0.75)/2″ or similar. Neat, eh?
Turns out that not only does Google have quite a few of those tricks up its proverbial sleeve (try searching for a FedEx tracking number or movie title) but it turns out that those customized search results are part of a program Google calls “Subscribed Links”…
Truth be told, I had no idea that they existed until a few days ago when i was poking around on some Google Advanced Search settings and options. Google describes it thusly: “Subscribed Links let you customize Google search to show special results from sources of your choice.”
Before we go there, however, let me show you a few more neat things that you can do in the search box. You have explored some of the capabilities of Google’s search box, right? It turns out that there are a ton of useful options above and beyond simply typing in a few words and getting the results you seek.
A quick example or two.
Let’s say you’re curious about the status of a plane flight? Search for the flight info directly:
37 minutes late. Not too bad! Remember, if you’ve a cellphone with Internet access, you can do this sort of search on the go too.
Not flying anywhere but want to go see a movie instead? Google’s got you covered:
Those are cool, but what else can you do? Turns out that these are good examples of Subscribed Links, and without much fanfare, Google actually has a surprisingly big directory you can browse: The Google Subscribed Links Directory.
As of this writing, there are fifty different links you can sign up for to have integrated into your search results where appropriate, split into the following categories: Tools, Fun and games, Lifestyle and Technology.
Here’s a typical entry:
I click on “Subscribe” and now the results show up in my Google searches when I’m logged in to the search service itself, though, confusingly, it shows up as the fourth, not first entry.
Here’s an example. Without the flightinfo subscribed link added here’s what I see when I search for “PDX airport”:
Subscribe to the link and now, on the fourth entry, is:
So there you have it. That’s Google Subscribed Links. Is it compelling and a must-have? Probably not. But it’s pretty darn interesting, and it might just make those search results even a bit more useful for you.