- Paperback: 325 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596004478
- ISBN-13: 978-0596004477
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,347,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools 1st Edition
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Everyone loves Google, and it's the first place many people turn to locate information on the Internet. There's a big gap, though, between knowing that you can use Google to get advance information on your blind date and having a handle on the considerable roster of fact-finding tools that the site makes available. Google Hacks reveals--and documents in considerable detail--a large collection of Google capabilities that many readers won't have even been aware of. Want to find the best price on a pair of leg warmers? Try the Froogle price-searcher that's hidden within the Google site. Interested in finding weblog commentary about a particular subject? Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest call your attention to the special Google syntaxes for that purpose. This book makes it clear that there's lots more to the Google site than typing in a few keywords and trusting the search engine to yield useful results.
If you're a programmer--or even just familiar with a HTML or a scripting language--Google opens up even further. A large part of Google Hacks concerns itself with the Google API (the collection of capabilities that Google exposes for use by software) and other programmers' resources. For example, the authors include a simple Perl application that queries the Google engine with terms specified by the user. They also document XooMLe, which delivers Google results in XML form. In brief, this is the best compendium of Google's lesser-known capabilities available anywhere, including the Google site itself. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to get the most from the Google search engine by using its Web-accessible features (including product searches, image searches, news searches, and newsgroup searches) and the large collection of desktop-resident toolbars available, as well as its advanced search syntax. Other sections have to do with programming with the Google API and simple "scrapes" of results pages, while further coverage addresses how to get your Web page to feature prominently in Google keyword searches.
"All in all "Google Hacks" is a fun book to read through and to play with the examples to see what you get." Linux Magazine, September 2003 "In-dept details on getting the most from Google, including site optimisation and submission tips for Web developers." MacUser, December 12th 2003
Top customer reviews
This is not for light reading, it is intended for people who want to get the most out of the web, and are not content with Wizards and auto-pilot.
"Hacks" in the title is a misnomer. There's a section of cool hacks outside the Google API, but most of the book is simply a manual to Google. I don't see using built in features as "hacking" (which is a positive term, "cracking" is the term for what pop culture calls hacking).
The book is definitely readable from beginning to end, but would be most useful as a reference for a specific task than a general guide.
All the information in the book is correct, and it's fairly entertaining reading for a book about a search engine. There is a ton of useful information for most average computer users - things that can help you find what you're looking for, faster, easier, less hassle, more fun. Google is indeed much more than "just" a search engine. This would be excellent for people who use the web a lot for anything, but especially researchers.
My problem is that it seems to be marketed toward the computer professional, someone with at least a little programming experience. Smart move, how many others are going to buy a book about a search engine? The reviews I read raved at how useful it was to them, as programmers. However, I found most of the book to be either stuff I already knew, stuff that you could easily find in online help, or things that aren't very useful.
I still did get a few things out of it. I didn't know about the phone book lookups, newsgroup archives, and there is some good stuff for webmasters at the end. A lot of the scripts and script ideas are somewhat interesting, but do not seem generally useful.
Of course, I didn't know all the syntax and a bunch of other details, but this stuff is available easily by clicking the help button. The first few chapters are generally and widely useful. The games are interesting, I guess. For a lot of the stuff in the middle and the end, some programming experience is very useful. People who have this experience don't need the beginning. But the people who need the beginning probably can't do much with the rest, though it is still readable and interesting.
Overall, if you are interested enough to be reading reviews about it, I would probably recommend buying it, but not for tech-types who already know Google pretty well. Still, I can't really imagine someone for whom large parts of this book would be either not useful or not relevant. For occasional search engine users it would be extremely helpful, but how many from this group are going to sit down with a book about a search engine?
O'Reilly, the publisher, produces excellent books on all kinds of tech topics, and this is the first I've been disappointed with. Several of their books are considered the definitive resource on their topics, and served as my guides to learning Unix and different programming languages. I would not have bought this book if it wasn't from them.
And in my opinion was worth the buy. And frankly I didn't want to share this review because I don't want my competition knowing the secrets. There was a reason this was a best seller. The section about how to get 15K visitors a day makes you take a hard look at your current website. It provides the rights and wrongs and hints at sticking with legitimate website building techniques. Keeps you honest. Which is the way it should be. And for that honesty you get rewarded handsomely on the search engine.