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January 17, 2005

"Google Hacks, Second Edition": Making the Difference Between Searching and Finding

Sebastopol, CA--When all you need is a quart of milk, you don't care how many items a store has to offer. All that matters is that you can get the milk and that it's usable. And, perhaps, you'd like for the price to be reasonable, for the milk to be your favorite brand, and low-fat, ideally (because you don't like whole or skim milk); also, in a perfect world, it would be organic. It's a little like searching on the Web: the number of choices is irrelevant as long as you can find what you're looking for...but, having so much to choose from virtually ensures that you'll find what you need.

The sheer amount of information on the Web can be staggering, but today's search tools make it possible to zero in on data with amazing precision. Google is the ultimate search tool: never intimidating and so powerful that even neophyte researchers become convinced that they're wizards. However, Google itself is constantly growing and changing. To keep up with Google's extended reach, the new edition of Google Hacks by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest (O'Reilly, US $24.95)--the first and best selling book about using Google--has been updated and expanded to cover Google's new services and capabilities.

According to coauthor Calishain, the second edition of the book is vital for researchers or anybody who uses Google seriously. "Search engines are growing more and more important," says Calishain. "The first edition of Google Hacks covered Google with its two billion pages. Now Google indexes eight billion, and Yahoo and MSN are right behind it. The search engine wars are back, and that means new offerings, new features, and new ultracool ways to make Google go."

Calishain notes that the new edition has been completely reorganized and offers many new searches, along with coverage of Gmail, Google Desktop, Google Site Search, and tips on using Google AdWords. But most importantly, Calishain says, "Readers will be able to use syntax in a meaningful way to narrow down their searches from the original pool of eight billion pages. Did I mention that Google has quadruple the pages it did the first time we wrote about it?"

As with the first edition, Google Hacks, Second Edition is a unique collection of tips and tools gathered from expert users of Google, as well as developers who work with Google's API. The book offers a variety of interesting ways for power users to mine the enormous amount of information that Google has access to, including how to:

  • Search smarter with Google's flexible search syntax
  • Pull results from hard-to-reach places using the Google Web API and a little Perl, PHP, Python, Java, or .NET programming
  • Bring the power and flexibility of Google search to your desktop with Google Desktop and to your web site with Google Site Search
  • Break down the barriers to online advertising with Google AdWords and make money yourself with AdSense on your site
  • Gain a clear understanding of how Google looks at your site and learn more about Google's famous PageRank algorithm
  • Change your emailing ways with Gmail, Google's unique take on online correspondence
  • In his foreword to the second edition of Google Hacks, Craig Silverstein, Director of Technology at Google, observes, "Since Google Hacks first appeared, search has, if possible, only grown in importance. Not only is there more information than ever to be found--via email, computer hard drives, and newly digitized repositories of previously offline content--there is also a greater need to automate tasks and to locate that needle of information in a haystack that will just not stop growing."

    And Calishain agrees, "Data on the Internet will only get more extensive. I think we'll see more ways of searching for it, and I think that Google will lead the way in offering different methods of cutting though the data to get what you want."

    Praise for the previous edition:

    "Use Google a little? Use Google a lot? Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest have published Google Hacks: 100 industrial Strength Tips and Tools, a book that'll help you improve your searches or, if you're of a mind to do some coding, let you perform miracles... Honestly, if we'd had any idea that Google was this smart, powerful and adaptable, we'd have asked 'it' to run for mayor in 2001."
    --Time Out New York

    "Think you know how to use the search engine Google? Think again. Unless you've read the recent book Google Hacks by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest, you probably haven't utilized the many tools, syntaxes, and special services Google offers."
    --Jan Dempsey, "The Syracuse Post-Standard"

    "Google is richer than its Preferences menu suggests. Which is why Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest's Google Hacks (O'Reilly, $24.95) is essential reading for web searchers. Tweaking Google's preferences is only the first of its tips, and there are a hundred to work with. It's only July, but unless something improbable happens, I'll name this computer book of the year in December."
    --Paul Gilster, "The News & Observer"

    Further reviews of Google Hacks can be found here.

    Additional Resources:

    Google Hacks, Second Edition
    By Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest
    ISBN: 0-596-00857-0, 443 pages, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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