The Verge reporter Chaim Gartenberg recently learned a harsh lesson about the power of Google's autocomplete feature when he tried to do an innocent search for a character from the brand-new God of War game. Wham! Spoiler, right there in the autocomplete field. He didn't even make it to the (spoiler-filled) results.
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If your Google search just isn't returning the quality content you want, this little URL trick might find more in-depth articles on the subject you're searching for.
Some Twitter users are unable to send links in Direct Messages (DMs) right now. Twitter is aware of the problem, but until it rolls out a fix, you can use a URL shortening service to bypass the restriction.
Link-shortening services like TinyURL have become nearly ubiquitous in space-restricted places like email, Twitter, and mobile sites—which is why it's odd it's taken so long for a similar service to offer traffic tracking, thumbnail caching, or other advanced services. Free URL shrinker Bit.ly jumps into that void with a slick set of features. The site remembers the last 15 links you shortened on your landing site, and it stores a thumbnail graphic of each link on its own space. Obsessive traffic-watchers can see how many have clicked through their links, where they found them, and compile all that data from simple XML or JSON feeds. There's a handy bookmarklet for quick Bit.ly conversion, and the developers are working on geo-locating features for the near future. All in all, a viable link-snipping service for web workers and info geeks. Bit.ly
It can take awhile to figure out all the shortcuts and features in the ever-growing list of Google web applications. The Google Operating System blog unearths a quick URL hack to display a Google app's entire help file—normally split up on cross-linked pages—in easily-saved and printable HTML. Head to the app's "support center," usually found at, for example, mail.google.com/support/, and add ?fulldump=1 to the end of the URL. Hit the Google Operating System link for direct, download-able links to the most popular apps' full help files. Download Google's Help Files
Find yourself on the wrong side of the ocean (or border) from a US-only YouTube video? Don't want to log in to glimpse a clip that might have content that's "inappropriate for some users"? Both are fairly easy to get around by slightly altering the video's URL, according to the Google Operating System Blog. Most YouTube URLs take the form of:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIDEOIDNote the 11-character code at the end, and place it like so:http://www.youtube.com/v/VIDEOIDThe swift move brings up the widget normally used to play embedded videos—a bit over-sized, sometimes, but nicely distraction-free as well. Watch restricted YouTube Videos
Whether you're a frequent user of large file-sharing sites like RapidShare or frequently get emails with messed-up formatting, you've likely had to spend time copying, pasting and trimming URLs to actually work. Linkrr, a free web utility, has a single purpose and fix for the problem. Type or paste in one or more URLs, and the site creates a page of click-able links, along with a button that can launch them all (assuming it can play nice with your pop-up blocker). Might be worth a bookmark for the next time Aunt Gertie sends along all those links to AOL photo galleries.
We all know how to use Google for quick spelling lookups, but weblog Google Operating System suggests you can use the same method for quick URL "spell checks" when the address you're trying isn't working. The "similar addresses" suggestion you see in the screenshot doesn't always show up, but I found that when it doesn't you'll still often receive the classic "Did you mean" correction—both of which should work to find the correct address.