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These are the 15 awesome features you never knew Google had

At nearly 20 years old, Google is one of the few original internet giants to still be going strong. It's come a long way since it first found its place on the world wide web in 1998: gone are the simplistic logo and Windows 98 font, and in its place are fancy logo artworks from various designers, a whole web browser with the same name, and, most noticeably, the adoption of the term "Google" as a verb.

But what many people might not know is that their trusty search engine is so much more than a simple information-seeking platform. It's also got a ton of hidden features that many users have never even noticed.

1. Compare the calorie content of foods

Want a quick way to find out what you should (or shouldn't) be snacking on? Simply type in [food] vs [food] and Google will give you a rundown of their nutritional values.

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2. Set a timer

If you've got a deadline to hit, but don't want to be distracted by constantly checking your watch or your phone, get Google to set a timer for you. Just remember to keep the tab open!

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3. Split a bill 

This is perhaps the handiest function for when you're out and about. Google's tip calculator will not only let you know how much to give your server, it'll also help you split it between a number of people.

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4. Filter your emails

This is really helpful for people who allow their inboxes to get packed full of junk. If you add "+anything" to your Gmail address it still works, meaning you can sign up for certain websites using '[email protected]' and create a folder that all emails from that site automatically go into.

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5. Play with Lego

Go to buildwithchrome.com to check out Google's awesome lego feature. Not only is it a great time waster, it also gives you a warm rush of nostalgia.

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6. Explore Middle Earth

If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, this is the thing for you. Google set up this project to allow mere mortals like you and me to explore Tolkien's magical world of Hobbits and Wizards and who knows what else. Check it out at middle-earth.thehobbit.com

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7. Stargaze

For those of us who are trapped indoors, or can't see the stars due to all the light pollution floating about, Google has the answer. This tool is really fun to just play around with, but can also be a great educational resource as well.

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8. View all the old Google doodles

If you go to the main Google homepage and hit 'I'm Feeling Lucky' without typing anything in, you'll be greeted with a gallery of all the old doodles - you can also play with the interactive ones!

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9. Play Atari Breakout

This one is a personal favorite of mine. If you find yourself needed a little break from spreadsheets or powerpoints or whatever other boring stuff you've somehow got roped into, just type in 'Atari Breakout' into Google Images and have fun smashing a load of picture tiles.

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10. Visit art galleries

Everyone needs a little culture in their life now and then, but not all of us have the luxury of being able to visit a gallery. Luckily, good old Google has got you covered.

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11. Plan your wedding

This is quite a niche function, but one that many people will find an opportunity to use nonetheless. By using functions such as Google Sites, Google Docs, and Picnix, you can plan large-scale events and keep all the details in one place.

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12. Translate characters from drawings

If you're trying to translate from a language that doesn't use the Roman alphabet, you may run into one or two problems. Thankfully, Google has thought of that and has the ability to translate characters from doodles. So now there's no excuse to get a mistranslated tattoo.

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13. Find cool fonts

Times New Roman is cool and everything, but it's a bit dated now. Why not spruce up your monthly report by chucking in some fonts that your bosses have never seen before. You'll blow their tiny corporate minds.

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14. Teach you to pronounce huge numbers

Again, this is a tool with a very specific use that most people will probably never need in their lifetimes. But, hey, it's still neat.

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15. Test your geography trivia

If you want to waste time in a way that might actually be useful in the future, check out Smarty Pins. The site helps you brush up on your geography skills, and you never know when that will come in handy.

alt Credit: Google

So, next time you catch yourself twiddling your thumbs, don't go to Facebook or Twitter - check this out instead. Or, you know, VT is pretty good too.