Everyone knows that Google lets you search billions of web pages. But few people realize that Google also gives you hundreds of cool ways to organize and play with information.
Since we released the last edition of this bestselling book, Google has added many new features and services to its expanding universe: Google Earth, Google Talk, Google Maps, Google Blog Search, Video Search, Music Search, Google Base, Google Reader, and Google Desktop among them. We've found ways to get these new services to do even more.
The expanded third edition of Google Hacks is a brand-new and infinitely more useful book for this powerful search engine. You'll not only find dozens of hacks for the new Google services, but plenty of updated tips, tricks and scripts for hacking the old ones. Now you can make a Google Earth movie, visualize your web site traffic with Google Analytics, post pictures to your blog with Picasa, or access Gmail in your favorite email client. Industrial strength and real-world tested, this new collection enables you to mine a ton of information within Google's reach. And have a lot of fun while doing it:
Search Google over IM with a Google Talk bot
Build a customized Google Map and add it to your own web site
Cover your searching tracks and take back your browsing privacy
Turn any Google query into an RSS feed that you can monitor in Google Reader or the newsreader of your choice
Keep tabs on blogs in new, useful ways
Turn Gmail into an external hard drive for Windows, Mac, or Linux
Beef up your web pages with search, ads, news feeds, and more
Program Google with the Google API and language of your choice
For those of you concerned about Google as an emerging Big Brother, this new edition also offers advice and concrete tips for protecting your privacy. Get into the world of Google and bend it to your will!
Chapter 1 Web
Google Web Search Basics
Anatomy of a Search Result
Understanding Google URLs
Browse the Google Directory
Glean a Snapshot of Google in Time
Visualize Google Results
Check Your Spelling
Google Phonebook: Let Google’s Fingers Do the Walking
Look Up Definitions
Find Directories of Information
Cover Your Bases
Hack Your Own Google Search Form
Compare Google and Yahoo! Search Results
Cover Your Tracks
Improve Google’s Memory
Find Out What Google Thinks ___ Is
Browse the World Wide Photo Album
Find Similar Images
Chapter 2 Advanced Web
Assemble Advanced Search Queries
Like a Version: Search with Synonyms
Capture Google Results in a Google Box
Cook with Google
Permute a Query
Summarize Results by Domain
Measure Google Mindshare
SafeSearch Certify URLs
Search Google Topics
Run a Google Popularity Contest
Scrape Yahoo! Buzz for a Google Search
Compare Google’s Results with Other Search Engines
Scattersearch with Yahoo! and Google
Yahoo! Directory Mindshare in Google
Spot Trends with Geotargeting
Bring the Google Calculator to the Command Line
Build Your Own Google Search Feeds
Search Google by Link Graph
Download Google Videos as AVI Files
Chapter 3 News and Blogs
Beyond Google for News and Blogs
Scrape Google News
Visualize Google News
Map Google News
Track Your Favorite Sites
Scrape Google Groups
Seek Out Blog Commentary
Glean Blog-Free Google Results
Find Blog Commentary for Any URL with a Single Click
Rael Dornfest is Chief Technology Officer at O'Reilly Media. He assesses, experiments, programs, fiddles, fidgets, and writes for the O'Reilly Network and various O'Reilly publications. Rael is Series Editor of the O'Reilly Hacks series and has edited, contributed to, and coauthored various O'Reilly books, including Mac OS X Panther Hacks, Mac OS X Hacks, Google Hacks, Essential Blogging, and Peer to Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies. He is also Program Chair for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. In his copious free time, Rael develops bits and bobs of freeware, particularly the Blosxom weblog application, is Editor in Chief of MobileWhack, and (more often than not) maintains his Raelity Bytes weblog.
Paul Bausch is an independent web developer living in Corvallis, Oregon. When he's not hacking together web applications, he's writing about hacking together web applications. He is the author of Amazon Hacks for O'Reilly in 2003, Yahoo! Hacks in 2005, and co-wrote Flickr Hacks in 2005. Paul also helped create the popular application Blogger (http://www.blogger.com), maintains a directory of Oregon blogs called ORblogs (http://www.orblogs.com), and co-wrote a book about blogs called We Blog (Wiley). When he's not working on a book, Paul posts thoughts and photos to his personal blog onfocus (http://www.onfocus.com).
I generally love O'Reilly books because the authors usually have a close relationship with the subject and can therefore write about the things that will be true when the book comes out. However, this book came out in August '06 but the SOAP API stopped working in December '06. By the time I bought it at the Maker Faire in San Mateo in May '07, none of the web pages or sample code in the first chapter worked.
I suggest forgetting about this book. Google moves too fast, you might as well get the information directly from them instead of reading about APIs and websites that don't work. I sure wish I had.
I'm not a novice surfer but even I rarely scratch the surface of the long list of features
Google offers. This book serves, at the vry least,
to remind me of them. It's a reference book, well indexed to find the feature that will
best serve the purpose at hand. For example, did you know that Google serves as a powerful phonebook? Sadly, it's only for the US so far, but entering in the Google search bar [phonebook:smith ca] without the brackets will list all
the Smiths in California. Entering [phonebook:john smith ca] will narrow the focus. And it returns phone number, street address and zip code for each. Similar keywords exist to restrict information searches to specific websites
[site:] website titles [intitle:], website text [intext:] and to find an expired page [cache:] to name just a handful. We have Gmail accounts and they come with a generous 2GB of mailbox space (each!) but I didn't realize that there is a simple installation that will turn that space
into appearing as an additonal 2GB drive on your machine.
Handy enough if an extra 2GB will buy you some
time before having to get new hardware, but if you want to share your Gmail log-in with family somewhere, you can now have a shared drive for those family photos. An entire chapter deals with tips and tricks for Gmail.
Google maps [http://maps.google.com or http://
maps.google.ca or http://maps.google.co.uk -- you get the idea] offers a quick serving of a map of any location you ask for. Type in an address, or a business name and city, or simply "hotels in Toronto" and up comes a map, zoomable and scrollable, marked with whatever you asked for. A word of caution is warranted here. Many of the features appear to be VERY browser-dependent
(and likely OS-dependent as well). I got VERY
different results using IE5 and IE6 on two different machines.
The newer browser gave the results described
in the book while the older one did not. For example, refocusing the map centre by dragging, or zooming in by clicking a spot, worked in one but not the other. Ever think of Google as a dictionary? Try it! Type in [define:oxymoron] or even [define:phat] since it will offer
up definitions of slang as well as accepted English. Note especially that the syntax for all these keywords requires (a) that the keyword be all lower case and (b)no space following the colon. This book ranges from quick and easy tips to cut through the millions of search hits and more tightly focus your results to programming hacks that you can add to your websites to customize and harness Google's amazing
power. In fact, a full chapter -- 50 pages of the 500 -- are for the programmer and require registration with Google after which you can download a Deveoper's Kit.
Although I may at some point dabble with programming again, for now I'm satisfied to comb through the 47 pages of the Webmastering chapter which shows you how to tweak your own websites to get the most out of Google. I added a search button to mine so that visitors can use
the Google engine to search within the sites. The book also offers links to webmaster tools such as registering your site with Google and submitting a site map to help Google help you and your visitors.
Yes, this is a book that will remain within reach of my keyboard. If you use Google more than rarely, you'll use this book.