3 Cool Tips for Searching Google on Your Mobile, Plus Bacon and Egg

As a search engine marketer, I earn a living by helping clients make money from people searching Google so it’s a job requirement that I be a Google watcher. For me, watching Google involves attending conferences, reading blogs and hanging out with friends that work there.  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about their expansive offerings. I’ll be writing a series of posts sharing what I think are the some interesting Google products that may help your business or save you time.

“Dominate mobile” is the battle cry of the search world, and with good reason. According to a recent Forrester report*, “mobile commerce will top $31 billion in five years.” That’s a lot of activity, which is naturally attracting more  advertisers. To ensure Google keeps their grip on the search market, they are offering more ways that users can use search. In this post, I’ll cover three mobile features for searching Google: voice, photo and handwrite. Plus, I’ve got an Easter egg for you involving Kevin Bacon.

Get the Google Search App 

App for searching Google.

Get the search app to use novel ways of searching Google on your mobile.

To use the first two features, you’ll first need to get the Google Search App. From a mobile device, go to www.m.google.com/search. IOS users can get it from iTunes and Android users can use the Quick Search Box widget already on their phone. After installing the Google Search App, a blue icon will appear with a lowercase “g” on it. After opening the icon,  users should see a Google screen with three smaller icons at the bottom: Apps, Voice and Goggles.

Searching Google with Your Voice

Voice search is probably the most useful and robust feature for searching Google from your mobile. Android users can use the Quick Search widget and everyone else can access this feature by opening  the Google Search App and clicking on the microphone icon labeled “Voice”.  To search, simply say something like “coffee shop in Mountain View” and the app will return results with the same look as the desktop version. I like to use this feature a lot, especially when I’m traveling.

For Android users there is expanded functionality for voice searching Google from your mobile. You can get directions to the location you’ve searched. To do so, click the microphone and say something like this, “Directions to Google, Mountain View, California. The route will come up and speak back turn by turn directions. This is much safer than looking at a map or fumbling with a keyboard while driving.

Other cool features for Android are calling a friend, leaving notes to yourself, or playing your favorite song. Below is the full list of voice commands that users running Android 2.2 (Froyo) can currently use. To learn more about this feature and watch a short video demonstration, visit http://www.google.com/mobile/voice-actions/

  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • listen to [artist/song/album]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • send email to [contact] [message]
  • go to [website]
  • note to self [note]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]

This only takes a minute or two to set it up and it’s easy to use. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly, and have fun!

Searching Google with Photos

Now users can search by snapping a photo with a mobile device. To use this, open the Google Search App and click on the camera icon labeled “Goggles”. Shoot a picture, and Google will then return image and text results related to your photos. Note there are also desktop versions available for Chrome and Firefox desktop.

While the “wow” factor is strong, Goggles is still in the early stages of development so this may not become your primary source of searching Google, but it is fun to play with. It’s most useful for finding art images, logos, landmarks and wine labels. I’d love to see it developed further to aid in identifying plant and animal classifications. Imagine taking a hike in the near future and snapping a picture of that cool looking plant to learn more about its origins, or find out if it’s poisionous. If nothing else, playing around with Goggles could be a fun diversion at your next cocktail party. To learn more about this feature and watch a short video, visit http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/#text

Searching Google with Your Fingers

searching Google with your fingers

Got ‘fat fingers?’ Try searching Google by writing with your fingertip.

Another new way to search is by using a finger to spell out the search query. If you suffer from fat finger typos and hate the auto correct suggestions, this feature might be for you.  Additionally, speakers of character based languages like Japanese and Chinese may find this to be a real time saver. Here’s how to enable it.

  • From a mobile device go to google.com
  • Scroll to the bottom of your screen and select “Settings”
  • Scroll down to “Enable Handwrite” feature
  • Now a lower case “g”  will appear in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The “g” will look like it’s handwritten, tap on the “g” then use your finger to start your search
  • To return to searching with the phone’s keyboard, tap the search box and enter your query using the keyboard

For more details about Handwrite go to : ttp://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/search/handwritinginput/index.html

Image source from http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&p=sbw_help&answer=2649515&rd=1

Now for the Bacon and Egg

In search marketer lingo, an Easter egg is a surprise search result or function. One of my favorite quirky functions for searching Google is the “Bacon Number” function, which allows you to find out how many degrees of separation a celebrity has from Kevin Bacon. To use it, type in “bacon number” and the person’s name.

bacon function for searching Google

Try searching Google for your favorite celeb’s “Bacon number”.

Have you used these features? Try them out, and let us know what you think.


Sheila Fruge

About Sheila Fruge

Sheila Fruge is the owner of Fruge Consulting Inc. and specializes in helping organizations attract qualified leads online to increase exposure and grow sales. She is a Google AdWords Certified Partner and has spoken to UC Berkley and UC San Francisco MBA and marketing classes about SEO and Paid Search best practices. Learn more about Sheila at www.linkedin.com/in/sheilafruge.


  1. Wow, Shelia! Great information here. I love the idea of being able to search through voice on my phone. And the potential for Goggles is amazing. Thanks~

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