Book Review - Google Hacks 2nd Edition by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest
It seems like nary a month goes by that I don't learn something new about Google that hooks me ever more deeply into the site. After reading Google Hacks (2nd Edition) by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest (O'Reilly), I have enough "hooks" for the next year...
Chapter list: Web; Advanced Web; Images; News and Groups; Add-Ons; Gmail; Ads; Webmastering; Programming Google; Index
You probably know it by now, but the Hacks concept is built around 100 cool tips, tricks, and "hacks" related to the particular subject of the book. In this case, the subject is Google. I must have missed the first edition, because I don't remember ever reading any of this material in this form before. The first chapter deals with basic search tricks like mapping (#7 - Think Global, Google Local) and stock tracking (#8 - Track Stocks). Nothing incredibly new there that I haven't seen elsewhere, even though I may not always remember it when I need to. :-) The advanced section starts to pick up with things like #46 - Spot Trends with Geotargeting and #47 - Bring the Google Calculator to the Command Line. Learning how to "browse" the World Wide photo album in #51 was cool. For me, the book completely earned its keep with the gmail chapter. I didn't know about "plus addressing", which really rocks. And based on #79 - Use Gmail as a Windows Drive, I now have a 1 GB spare hard drive that I can use to transfer 10 MB files (or less) from home to work and back... Tres cool!
If you have a background in programming, you'll get even more out of the book. There are plenty of scripting examples using Perl, Python, and other languages that allow you to manipulate the Google API to integrate Google features into your applications. But even if that's not your forte, you'll still benefit a lot from the non-programming tips. Especially if you've never taken a lesson in the search syntax that Google provides.
If Google is your search engine of choice but you've never gotten beyond the basic search interface, you need this book. There's a whole world out there you know nothing about... Highly recommended.