Enter an airline flight number — for example, “united 80,” — and the popular search engine will provide links to reports on that flight’s status at Travelocity.com and Fboweb.com, including maps showing its progress.
Type an area code into the search box, and you’ll be pointed to a MapQuest.com map of the general region that area code covers. A U.S. Postal Service package tracking number yields a link to a delivery-status page at the Postal Service’s Web site. A vehicle identification number will call up a page describing the car’s year, make and model type.
Or you can type in a universal product code number — minus the dashes, but including any tiny numbers appearing to the far left or right under the bar code — and Google will look up the product’s full name, then generate a list of Web sites selling the item or providing other information about it.
Check out Google’s own explanation, or this article from The Washington Post. The real question is where search engines are headed, and whether Internet gatekeepers will get more or less centralized. I have already predicted that Google essentially has peaked, though I will confess I used Google to find that very link.