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Google: The Missing Manual 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596006136
ISBN-10: 0596006136
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Editorial Reviews


"Even if you think that you know all you need to about Web searching, this book will amaze you." - John Bryant, BJHCandIM, September "Even if you think that you know all you need to about Web searching, this book will amaze you." - John Bryant, BJHC&IM, September 2004

About the Author

(author and editor) is O'Reilly Media's Managing Editor for Consumer Books. Previously, she was the Missing Manual series editor and a freelance business and technology reporter. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times and a slew of other publications, most of them now defunct. When not planted at the keyboard, she likes to take epic walks, play poker, watch baseball, and rearrange the furniture.

(author, Chapters 8 and 9, previous edition) is O'Reilly Media's Chief Technology Officer. He has co-authored various O'Reilly books, including Mac OS X Hacks, Google Hacks, Essential Blogging, and Peer to Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies, and he's program chair for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. Email: googlemm@raelity.org.


Product Details

  • Series: Missing Manual
  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Pogue Press; 1 edition (May 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596006136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596006136
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,362,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
[Edited review for 2nd edition - 05/20/2006]

Every time I read a book on Google, I find new stuff to get excited about (and get reminded about stuff I need to use more). This one is no different... Google: The Missing Manual (2nd Edition) by Sarah Milstein, J. D. Biersdorfer, and Matthew MacDonald.

Part 1 - Searching with Google: Google 101; Superior Searching
Part 2 - Google Tools: Googling Further - Images, News, Maps, and More; Googling with Others - Groups and Answers; Shopping with Google; The Google Toolbar; More Cool Google Tools
Part 3 - Google for Webmasters: Becoming a Search Result; Making Money with Google; Google Analytics
Part 4 - Gmail: Gmail
Part 5 - Appendix: The Google Wide Web

The book starts out with the requisite coverage on the search syntax of Google. For those who have never gone beyond a basic search, this will be an eye-opener. For people like me who have tried some of the other options, this serves as a good refresher for some techniques I may have forgotten. The book really becomes valuable to me once it gets into the second part. That's where I'm reminded about and exposed to the other features of Google that fall outside the normal searching. For instance, I didn't know that you could do a personalized homepage using Google (much like MyYahoo). I have that going on now. Google Desktop? I'm inclined to try it again after having dropped it during the initial download frenzy. And using SMS and my cell phone to get Google information like driving directions might become a regular part of my techie toolbox. While it's true you can dig around on the Google site and find all this stuff ("why buy a book for it?"), I much prefer to have that type of information packaged up for me.
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Format: Paperback
This missing manual is O'Reilly version of Google Hacks for normal people. Where Google Hacks gives Perl scripts for bending and twisting the Google API at the code level, the Missing Manual covers how to use Google from the web site to find the information, news or images you are looking for. if you don't know that the word Perl is spelled correctly, and you are having trouble finding what you are looking for on Google, this is the book for you.

That's not to say that there isn't some high end stuff. Part four has useful information for web professionals looking to optimize their presence on Google and even to make money from it.

So if all you know about Google is what you see on your browser, and you think you could be getting more out of Google, this book is worth the look. I gave this book five stars because the overall construction of the book is focused, and the content is useful and well written.
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Format: Paperback
You use Google, don't you? With the plethora of print spilled about it, can anything useful be added? Well, Milstein and Dornfest have. They show many options that most users are simply unaware of.
Nifty capabilities that deserve wider knowledge. Perhaps the best is that you can search for an essentially arbitrary alphanumeric string. How is this useful? The string may be an ISBN. The results will often show the book listed under major booksellers like BookFinder, Booksmatter, eCampus and Amazon. Or the string might be a tracking number issued by USPS, DHL, Fedex or UPS. Or course, you could go to those websites and type it there. But if you are a heavy Google user, it may be quicker to start in it. Other useful cases are where that string is a US Patent Number or a Universal Product Code or a Vehicle Id.
But this book is independent of, and not endorsed by, Google. The authors demonstrate this by describing contexts where Google might not be suitable, and other search engines might be more fruitful. Like, if you want to see clustering of results, Google leaves you out of luck. Try Vivisimo instead. In this case, I don't know why Google doesn't offer this capability. Altavista had it in 1998. It surely can't be a technical limitation of Google.
Such examples of when to look elsewhere are reassuring. The authors DO recommend Google. After all, that is what this book is all about. But they are not bedazzled, and readily share with you its boundaries.
A crucial minority of you (Web administrators) may be intensely attracted to the discussion at the end of the book. AnSense and Adwords. These are ways to put ads on your website and (hopefully) derive revenue, and how to advertise on Google, respectively. For some merchants, the latter has lead to heavy sales to a global audience.
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Format: Paperback
The second edition was only released last month, so all reviews written prior to March 2006 are referring to the first edition. This is a worthwhile upgrade, with about 80% new content from what I can tell from comparing the two editions. This should be no surprise, as Google's usability and features have been growing right along with its stock price over the past two years.

The authors start out with simple features such as the "cached" and "similar pages" links, the little-known but powerful Google Answers, and the timesaving and pop-up-avoiding Google Toolbar. The authors also show how to use Google as a calculator, dictionary and package tracker. Readers will also learn techniques and tricks such as which search words to choose and how to ask for the specific items that Google can find. A full chapter is devoted to Gmail, which is Google's reliable free email service. Part 3 of the book is devoted to webmastering with Google by guiding readers through getting listed in Google, and taking advantage of AdWords, AdSense, and Google Analytics to make money on the Web.

The one new tool that Google sports that worries me is Google Desktop. Google Desktop Search is what you might call a distributed application. Part of the application gets installed onto your own computer, while part of it runs off of Google's Web site. The idea behind coding the application in this manner is that you can visit Google and search either the Internet or your own PC through a single interface. After installing Google Desktop Search, an index is made of the contents of your PC. Included in the index are E-mail messages contained in Outlook and Outlook Express. The software also indexes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as plain text and AOL Instant Messenger chats.
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