Even if you’re on Google dozens of times a day…even if you use it for everything from finding phone numbers to pre-screening dates…you’re not even close to making the most of it. Google’s more powerful than you ever imagined, and Google Hacks will help you grab that power -- whether you’re a user, programmer, or web professional.
Sure, you can just toss in a few keywords and often get what you want -- sometimes, in the very first item, if you’re “Feeling Lucky.” But what happens when the right results don’t float to the top? The authors show how to choose smarter keywords, take advantage of Boolean searching, and master “special syntaxes” you probably didn’t know existed.
Did you know you could search a single site? (Works better than lots of individual site search engines do.) Did you know you can reverse-search phone numbers to find names? Or that you can list pages related to a specific page?
You’ll learn plenty more ways to tweak your searches: by localizing them with local jargon; by swapping word order; by using wildcards; even by duplicating search terms. And if you’re really ambitious, you can even tweak the long URL that accompanies your results page.
The authors dip deeply into an endless stream of new ideas for using Google. (Looking for an old newspaper article that costs money or isn’t online anymore? Here’s how to see if someone else has reprinted it.)
Google Hacks also offers detailed coverage of Google’s growing set of tools -- including translation; the Google Groups newsgroup collection; the handy Google toolbar; and all the “alpha” stuff cooking up in Google’s Labs. (Did you know you can search Google by phone? Experimentally, of course.)
There’s also a full chapter on third-party Google-based web tools (like GooglePeople, which answers questions like “Who’s the world’s tallest woman?”)
All this is just the beginning. If you can write a little code, Google has created a comprehensive API for integrating Google search into your own sites and applications. The authors show how to use it, with plenty of examples (most in Perl, a few in PHP, Java, Python, and other languages).
They also introduce several new third-party applications built around the Google API. For instance, if you use Word, you know its dictionary leaves much to be desired. Now, there’s CapeSpeller, which supplements Word’s spell-checker with suggestions for thousands of proper nouns and common phrases.
Along the way, you’ll find dozens of cool Google hacks and tricks. For example, here’s how to figure out your company’s “GoogleShare.” (“What percentage of ‘weatherman’ does Al Roker hold? Who has the greater ‘Beatles’ GoogleShare: Ringo Starr or Paul McCartney?”) Of course games like GoogleWhacking (thinking up searches with only one result) aren’t neglected, either.
If you’re a webmaster, there’s a full chapter for you -- including everything you must know about PageRank, how to buy AdWords more intelligently; even how to remove your content from Google. If you rely on Google -- and who doesn’t? -- this book is nothing short of amazing. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.