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Flight Tracking, Airport Conditions, Real-Time Traffic, & Other Thanksgiving Search Tips
With the US about to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, how are the
major search engines gearing up to support an onslaught of Thanksgiving queries?
Let’s take a look at how you can use them, ranging from flight tracking tools to
special "shortcut" or "smart answer" boxes leading to related information.
Many people travel by air on Thanksgiving. Want to know if friends or family
are going to make it on time? Several of the major search engines prominently
list flight tracking information, as well as airport conditions and related
information. Do the right search, and you’ll get special links at the top of the
pages, like this, showing flight tracking at the top of Google:
Here are traffic conditions on Yahoo:
And here are airport conditions at Ask:
How to make these special links come up?
- Google: Enter the name of an airport or a flight number to get
relevant information or links at the top of the search results. Weather info
is also offered. More is explained at Google help
Some examples: aa123,
- Yahoo: Get information about airport conditions, flight tracking,
as well as local weather and traffic reports, all at the top of your search
results. See more advice covered
at Yahoo. Some examples:
weather los angeles.
angeles. NOTE: A search like
ohare airport is
supposed to bring up special info, but I found it didn’t, so the airport
conditions feature might not be working as advertised.
- Ask: Get weather info, as explained
weather los angeles
brings up an example). Airport conditions aren’t explained on that page or in
the help files that I can find, but they do work for some, such as
lax airport, but not
Want more flight tracking resources? See ResourceShelf’s recent post on
flight tracking services, which are free and easy to use. Nothing is cooler
than tracking the flight of friends, family, and loved ones as they progress to
Back on earth, remember that most of the major search engines have real-time
traffic info available through their mapping services. Our
Google Maps Tailgates
Yahoo, Microsoft With Real-Time Traffic Info explains more about this, with
illustrated examples. Mobile editions of the mapping tools from the major search
engines also have real-time travel, if you have the right type of phone. Get
them here: Google Mobile Maps,
Yahoo Go, &
Microsoft Live Search Mobile.
That chart above? That shows you how,
according to Google Trends, searches for "thanksgiving" ramp up before the
actual day, then skyrocket when it happens. How have the search engines prepared
for the rise in queries?
Over at Yahoo,
there’s a Yahoo Shortcut telling you the exact day of Thanksgiving in the US
and leading to an encyclopedia
hosted at Yahoo about it. There’s also a link to Thanksgiving menus and recipes
at Yahoo Food:
Yahoo has also
blogged about their turkey recipes shortcut that appears.
Ask also provides the
date and a recipe links, but the Ask Smart Answer it runs further includes a
link to history, Thanksgiving crafts, games, and more. An screenshot of this is
at the top of this article.
Some of these links really just run a new search, such as the
history link bringing up a search for
history of the First Thanksgiving. That’s a crafty way to get people to
generate more searches on Ask, but I would have preferred if they send me
directly to some selected information, rather than a new search page with yet
another Smart Answer box at the top.
Ask also has a special blog
illustrating how to search for Thanksgiving information from video sources to
As for Google and
neither have anything special going. But over at
Quintura, those that light the idea of
clicking on through "clusters" or topics to get search results will find a new
"Thanksgiving" tab at the top of the page. Select that, then you can click on
Thanksgiving-related topics to generate results.
Searches on the term "black friday" and "black friday ads" are up 174 and 143
percent respectively, compared to last week. Combined, the percent of U.S.
searches on the two terms has increased nine percent compared to 2006.
The iPod and the Nintendo Wii were the most popular search terms sending
visits to Shopping and Classifieds websites for the week ending Nov. 17, 2007.
The terms "ipod", "nintendo wii" and "wii" were the top three product searches.
Video game consoles remain a popular product search so far this holiday season
as the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 were all among the top 10
searches this past week.
Finally, tomorrow, expect to see some custom Thanksgiving logos hit the