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Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the google-your-google dept.

155

Graeme Williams writes "In thinking about Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition it occurred to me that the Google search box is like the Tardis -- there's a lot more inside that little box than you expect. Writing a manual for Google must have felt a little bit like writing a Manual of Everything, and I'm not sure I'm qualified to review Everything. However, I did read the book, and found a lot I didn't know about Google and using it. You will too." Read the rest of Graeme's review.

Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition adds two new authors, 151 pages and two chapters, Google Analytics and Gmail, to the first edition. One comment about the authors: Rael Dornfest, one of the two authors of the first edition, is included as an author in the online O'Reilly catalog entry but not in the actual paper book.

The first part of the book presents two related topics: searching and the search box. Because it's cumbersome to distinguish between searching for "blah blah blah" and "blah blah blah" (no quotes), I'll use slashes to delimit the text that goes into the search box: /"blah blah blah"/ versus /blah blah blah/.

The authors mention that a long time ago other search engines had pages that were slow to load, then Google introduced a fast loading search page with almost nothing on it, and partly because of that, it became popular. They single out Yahoo! as having a slow and bloated front page. But now Google has an alternative front page with more content, and Yahoo! has an alternative search page with less content. The comparison wouldn't be fair even if this was a book comparing Google and Yahoo!, and it isn't.

The book covers searching clearly and thoroughly, I'd be flabbergasted if you didn't discover something you didn't know. The book also presents nine other things you can type into the search box, such as /define:syzygy/, or /phonebook:white house washington dc/. You can find a list on the Google Web Search Features page. I think it's great that the authors included this section, although some of the "features" seem more robust than others.

The book explained one thing about searching I should have realized: the order of search terms matters. /red frog/ will give you slightly different results than /frog red/. For that example, the difference is small, but it's greater the more complicated the search. The authors would like more people to use the Search within Results feature: "Google has a great feature for helping you narrow down your results to find the really relevant pages, although almost nobody uses it". Almost nobody uses it because it's not all that useful. All it does is add the new term(s) to the end of your previous search. But to the extent that the order of search terms matters, maybe you want the new search term added to the beginning of the search. Or if you're searching for a phrase, perhaps the additional words should be part of the phrase, inside the quotes.

Here's one hack that's missing from the manual. Instead of enclosing a phrase in quotes, /"to be or not to be"/, you can replace the spaces with periods, /to.be.or.not.to.be/. This example turns out to fail, because Google thinks you're looking for a web site in Belgium, but it works most of the time. As a typing-impaired person I like it because it saves having to find the shift key.

The second part of Google: The Missing Manual is the largest part of the book, and the hardest to categorize. It's almost 200 pages long, and covers all the user features other than GMail and the basic search box. Depending on how you count them, there are over a dozen different services described, including desktop, image, news, and print search, shopping with Froogle, Google Local (which has absorbed maps), Groups, Answers, and the wireless and SMS interfaces. Browser features include searching from the sidebar, address bar, toolbar, Googlebar, buttons and bookmarklets.

When the book was written, the Google Deskbar was a search tool for the web with some useful specialized searches such as UPS and USPS, as well as the data indexed by desktop search. It had a miniviewer which I quite liked for looking at search results without opening a full browser window. The miniviewer has since disappeared, and the deskbar has morphed into the Google Desktop, which can appear either as a deskbar or a sidebar, and in the latter incarnation can be configured with multiple pop-out panes. There are other, less significant changes as well. If you have a Google account, your choices for personalized news are stored in your account, and news alerts is out of beta, and they're stored in your account as well. These changes affect the screenshots in the book more than the explanatory text.

Overall, the material in part two is very useful, even as it goes out of date. Just like other parts of the book, I'm sure you'll learn things you never knew, or have forgotten. During an excellent introduction to Froogle, Google's search-powered shopping service, the book reminded me of Google Catalogs, the service for searching catalogs.

The third part of the book is for webmasters, starting with a good introduction to the legitimate ways to structure your site to improve its ranking, as well as using a robots.txt file to hide some or all of your site from Google's spiders. Google: The Missing Manual also explains the two complementary programs for Google ads: Adsense is the service where Google provides ads for your site; Adwords is the service where you can advertise your site on Google, or on sites that have subscribed to Adsense. Finally, Analytics is a service for tracking visitors to your site. It integrates with Adsense but doesn't require it. At the moment, it's available only by invitation. Obviously, these services are of less general interest than the other parts of the book – you can't put Adwords on your MySpace or MSDN Spaces page.

The fourth part of Google: The Missing Manual describes Gmail. As with other parts of Google, there are new features that just don't appear in the book, like mailing lists or the built-in chat, as well as features that have moved around, like the new button for "Delete". Also, you used to need an invitation to sign up for GMail, but now you can sign up if you have a cell phone that can receive a text message from Google with a code in it.

The book mentions the fact that GMail includes a "standard HTML" mode for older browsers, but implies that this mode has limited functionality. I suspect that Google has improved the interface since the book was written, since I couldn't find any significant difference between the two modes, although the book does mention one difference: the lack of a spell checker in standard HTML.

The book confuses new messages, which Google doesn't keep track of, and unread messages, which are counted and displayed in bold.

The authors acknowledge (p 8) that between the time the book was written and the time it was published, Google will have introduced new services, such as Google Finance or Google Pages, as well as changes in existing services. Since it's not realistic to expect the book to describe the features Google put in yesterday, it might have made sense for the authors to mention when the contents of the book were frozen. It's sort of unfair, but a lot of this book will be ancient history in another year.

Despite the fact that some of the material in the book is out-of-date, I think everyone will find this book useful. When we get into a rut using programs and services in the same old way every time, we need a hard push to explore new features, and Google: The Missing Manual is just the thing to help learn more about Google. If you don't use Google, you should read it to find out all the neat features you're missing out on. If you DO use Google, you should read it to find out all the neat features you're not taking advantage of."


You can purchase Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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I don't trust a book that lies in the title (-1, Troll)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353155)

If this was really the "Missing Manual," it wouldn't be available for sale, now would it?

If they can't even get through the title of the book without lying, how can I trust anything they say?

Re:I don't trust a book that lies in the title (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353225)

I'm assuming your post was supposed to be a joke. But if it wasn't, the point behind the "Missing Manual" series is that these are substitutes for the manuals that don't come with software anymore.

Slightly OT - Google Notebook (3, Informative)

nytes (231372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353170)

Did anyone notice that Google Notebook [google.com] has gone live?

Re:Slightly OT - Google Notebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353206)

yesterday morning

Re:Slightly OT - Google Notebook (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353374)

and it SUCKS!!

Re:Slightly OT - Google Notebook (2, Informative)

Who235 (959706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353398)

OT or not, I have to weigh in on this.

I am already a fan, mainly because of the "note this" feature it adds next to searches which is huge AFAIC.

Anyway, I think it rules.

Re:Slightly OT - Google Notebook (1)

Xichekolas (908635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353821)

If by 'anyone' you mean everyone on slashdot, then yes. (There was an article on Google Notebook and some other new betas a few days ago.)

Re:Slightly OT - Google Notebook (1)

athena_wiles (967508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353848)

i'm hoping it's going to turn out to be useful (as a college student, I do a lot of internet research as very preliminary work on essays etc, in order to get a feel for a topic or whatnot). i've been messing around with it for the past day or two - here are some preliminary thoughts:

so far, I really like the ease of adding notes to the notebook (it's nice that it's as simple as hilight and right-click with the firefox extension installed), but there are some things I'd change about the options for actually organizing notes within the notebook. i'd also appreciate some sort of comment feature on public notebooks - ie. what if I'm doing, for example, research on possible sites for a family reunion and want my family to be able to give feedback?

on the whole, though, i'm pretty happy with it as a brand new service, and i'll be interested to see what improvements they make on it in the future...

The Missing Manual.... (1, Funny)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353176)

Or "How Google Is Helping You To Help Google Rule The World"

404 File Not Found *Missing Manual?* (2, Funny)

infinityxi (266865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353184)

The requested URL (books/06/05/17/1347228.shtml) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@slashdot.org.


Way to get literal on me Slashdot.

Gmail (3, Insightful)

DarthChris (960471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353185)

The review says the book includes Gmail. Last time I checked (admittedly a few months back) Gmail was still in beta and invite-only. Has this changed?

Re:Gmail (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353254)

Last time I checked (admittedly a few months back) Gmail was still in beta and invite-only. Has this changed?

Hmm... no, and I have a couple of invites to sell you. interested?

Re:Gmail (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353456)

Gmail is still in beta, and still invite only. HOWEVER if you have a cell phone that is SMS capable, you can get a free invite sent to your phone (like you dont have one...)

Re:Gmail (1)

HoboMaster (639861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353514)

And on top of that, every gmail account is given more invites than we know what to do with.

I think it's to stop gmail from being used for spam.

Re:Gmail (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353658)

Actually I don't have a cell that has SMS, nor do I have a gmail account. I intend to never have either, though you could change my mind about SMS.

Re:Gmail (2, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353503)

Last time I checked (admittedly a few months back) Gmail was still in beta and invite-only.

Yeah, it's still beta but considering how much things change on google why shouldn't it be included?

As for the invites? They're a dime a dozen. Infact I have enough invites right now to give 2 mail accounts to every Chinaman.

Re:Gmail (1)

ElderKorean (49299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354225)

Gmail is still invite only, but they say that is to stop spammers from signing up heaps of accounts.

You can (providing you've got a mobile phone) get an account without any friends - Google SMS you an invite code.

https://www.google.com/accounts/SmsMailSignup1 [google.com]

The Manual of Everything... (3, Funny)

crerwin (971247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353194)

...is right here. [everything2.com] You'd think that would have turned up in a Google search, sheesh.

TARDIS! (4, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353218)

For the dwindling class of people who don't get the ref, the TARDIS [wikipedia.org] is Doctorr Who's time machine, which is bigger inside than it appears from outside. Graeme Williams gets several hundred bonus nerd points.

Re:TARDIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353258)

Surely "Doctorr Who" would use a TARRDIS?

Re:TARDIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353361)

Except he spelled it "Tardis" instead of TARDIS -- it's an acronym.

Half bonus.

Re:TARDIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353383)

You're all a bunch of re TARDIS , Star Trek's not real!

Please be Taking Remedial English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353418)

Dwindling doesn't mean what you think it does.

Re:Please be Taking Remedial English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353463)

"Dwindle" means "to become gradually less until little remains" and he was using it to refer to the shrinking group of people which get a Doctor Who reference; how do you figure that he's using it incorrectly?

Re:Please be Taking Remedial English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353536)

One more who needs to learn how to read. Notice the word "don't" in the original message? He says the group of people who _don't_ get the TARDIS ref is shrinking.

Re:Please be Taking Remedial English (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353679)

Which is because there's a new series on.

By the way, I'm assuming you're the same AC who originally complained about the use of the word dwindling, which incidentally was spot on. If you aren't, then you could probably mitigate that kind of confusion. I've heard there's a way to uniquely identify yourself when making a comment on Slashdot.

Re:Please be Taking Remedial English (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354277)

'I've heard there's a way to uniquely identify yourself when making a comment on Slashdot...'

Yeah... Just type your posts with correct punctuation, grammar and spelling. Your posts light up like a christmas tree..

Re:TARDIS! (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353488)

There's a new Dr. Who series going on you know.

Re:TARDIS! (2, Funny)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353708)

"the TARDIS is ... .
Graeme Williams gets several hundred bonus nerd points."


Excellent; we're finally narrowing in on that elusive exchange rate:

several hundred bonus nerd points == 5 Karma Whoring points

Re:TARDIS! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353782)

And you lose several thousand bonus nerd points for not knowing that the character is named 'The Doctor' while the show is titled 'Doctor Who'.

Unless of course you're referring to the title character of the 1960s American movie "Doctor Who And the Daleks", of course, which might make sense considering that 'Doctor Who' travelled around in the 'Tardis' which wasn't an acronym like TARDIS is.

Re:TARDIS! (2, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354363)

And you lose several thousand bonus nerd points for not knowing that the character is named 'The Doctor' while the show is titled 'Doctor Who'.

True, but at the end of the show he's usually credited as 'Doctor Who' rather than 'The Doctor'.

Re:TARDIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354322)

For the dwindling class of people who don't get the ref, the TARDIS is Doctorr Who's time machine, which is bigger inside than it appears from outside. Graeme Williams gets several hundred bonus nerd points.

Reading his review, he's definitely a TARD, anyway.

Wow I know something else (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353231)

Here's one hack that's missing from the manual. Instead of enclosing a phrase in quotes, /"to be or not to be"/, you can replace the spaces with periods, /to.be.or.not.to.be/.

And, if you replace the periods with dashes, behold... IT WORKS TOO!

Who needs a book on Google eh? just Google it, it's cheaper...

Just Google it... dangerous! (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353755)

Who needs a book on Google eh? just Google it, it's cheaper...

Won't that cause a tear in the space-time continuum?

Re:Just Google it... dangerous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353827)

I think the word you're looking for is "anomaly," as in "There's an anomaly in the space-time continuum! We need to modify the main deflector array to modulate a tachyon stream!"

You need to watch more ST:TNG.

Re:Wow I know something else (1)

L7_ (645377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354153)

/to-be-or-not-to-be/ actually returns the correct thing without any errors but /to.be.or.not.to.be/ does not. why would the reviewer mention something that doesn't work is beyond me.

Re:Wow I know something else (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354226)

The reviewer just didn't think things through. I've never heard of this type of search before, but it seemed common sense that adding another period to the end would make it work. And it did. /to.be.or.not.to.be./

Re:Wow I know something else (2, Insightful)

yertle38 (106381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354424)

And since when is hitting the period between every word easier than finding one of two of the large shift keys on the keyboard? Shift and Space seem large to me for a reason, but that's just me...

Most rimmed company in teh world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353239)

Google or Apple?

Re:Most rimmed company in teh world (0, Offtopic)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353275)

I think it's NTP.

New (To Me): Discography, FedEx Tracking (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353245)

Maybe these are just new to me, but two features I've found and use are how Google interprets searches and provides links to their own database, or directly to the deep-linked page I'm looking for.

For example, search for "U2 Joshua Tree Discography" and the top hit is for Google's own music CD database, giving me exactly what I wanted in a clean, efficient, fast-loading manner. (I know, this keeps me on their site, seeing their ads longer, but I'm still happy.)

The second feature is package tracking. Just type in the package number (for example: "736805130363") into the box and search. There is only one link - directly to the FedEx tracking page for the package. Given that I have a Google search box in my browser, this saves typing "fedex.com", waiting for it to load, then finding their own tracker search box.

Re:New (To Me): Discography, FedEx Tracking (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353453)

"U2 Joshua Tree Discography"

I think you meant -U2?

U2 are a bunch of second rate muscians who rip off decent music and have a laughable narcisist sing over the top. Then again, perhaps you're into that sort of thing... is that you Mr Gates?

Re:New (To Me): Discography, FedEx Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353621)

Man your package arrived today! Interesting that you posted a real tracking number...

Re:New (To Me): Discography, FedEx Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353674)

The tracking is also VERY usefull for me at work when I may not know the sjipping carrier. There are very few that Google can't identify.

Re:New (To Me): Discography, FedEx Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354018)

In addition to FedEx, this also works for (at least) UPS and USPS; likely more.

Tardis Analogy (-1, Offtopic)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353250)

I'm mildly annoyed by all of these Tardis, K9, and Doctor Who analogies. No one would be making them except really, really hard-core science fiction fans if the show hadn't been resurrected after its 1989 cancellation and 1996 television movie. No one is making any Red Dwarf analogies, or continuing to reference Star Trek except for The History Channel and their Shatner-centric universe. We also never get any Blakes 7, Starlost, or Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (starring Gil Gerard) references, while we're LOADED with Battlestar Galatica, The Prisoner, and Forbidden Planet comments.

When are we going to stop this madness?!?!

Re:Tardis Analogy (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353300)

42

Re:Tardis Analogy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353439)

Tip:
Douglas Adams Wrote and Edited for Dr. Who for a couple of seasons under a pseudonym. City of Death is one of his works.

Re:Tardis Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353367)

When are we going to stop this madness?!?!

Not for at least 2 million zymes!

May you run out of gleek sooner than that!

MUHAHA!

Re:Tardis Analogy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353377)

BS Dr. Who ran for almost 30 years. Even without its resurrection it would continue to be referenced due to its geek factor. So smeg off before I drop you in the eye of harmony!

Looking for really good sunblock,
Omega

Re:Tardis Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353389)

We have a closet at work that has been dubbed "the tardis" for over 20 years, so you're wrong. Dr Who has suffered since that fag-lord brought it back, even the mid eighties trash was stellar by comparison.

Shameless OT plug! (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353397)

Well, if you're looking for Buck Rogers, I have an article about him for you right here. [binarydeathtrap.com] There's no nudity or anything, but the language may be NSFW.

Anyway, the proof is - some of us DO remember the old stuff.

Re:Tardis Analogy (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353506)

No one is making any Red Dwarf analogies

Until some movie studio hires a bunch of some short native American actors for its next high-fantasy movie.

or continuing to reference Star Trek

On the KHAN-trary [khaaan.com] ...

Re:Tardis Analogy (1)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354161)

Committee for the Liberation of Inter-Terrestrial Organisms and their Reintegration Into Society

Re:Tardis Analogy (1)

JPribe (946570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353509)

What's a matter??? You lose your cat???

Re:Tardis Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353630)

Don't like Doctor Who? Where are you from, Cypress Corners or something?

Re:Tardis Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353869)

Don't be afraid; fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death that brings total oblivion...

Re:Tardis Analogy (2, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354501)

I'm mildly annoyed by all of these Tardis, K9, and Doctor Who analogies. No one would be making them except really, really hard-core science fiction fans if the show hadn't been resurrected after its 1989 cancellation and 1996 television movie.

In other words: fewer people would be talking about Doctor Who if it wasn't currently on TV. Wow. Insight into the human condition there.

At any rate, even if there were not new episodes being aired, TARDIS analogies would certainly not be dead. Perhaps in the US the show was all but forgotten until the appearance of the Ninth, but in the UK its cultural impact was far, far greater. Anything which is deceptively small, and which is larger inside than you might have originally expected, can and will be compared to the TARDIS, and not just by geeks but by anybody.

The fact that the TARDIS was bigger on the inside than on the outside was probably the most remembered thing about that show. Hotly followed by 'the special effects were awful', 'hiding behind the sofa', 'scarf', and 'you're safe if you run up the stairs'.

I bet it doesnt talk about death rays... (4, Insightful)

kusanagi374 (776658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353279)

or how they try to use it [dilbert.com] while not doing evil...

hmm (4, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353326)

Here's one hack that's missing from the manual. Instead of enclosing a phrase in quotes, /"to be or not to be"/, you can replace the spaces with periods, /to.be.or.not.to.be/. This example turns out to fail, because Google thinks you're looking for a web site in Belgium, but it works most of the time. As a typing-impaired person I like it because it saves having to find the shift key.


Blank stare...

Re:hmm (2, Informative)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353447)

Shift key for the enclosing quotes, which are not required when using dots.

Re:hmm (1)

teeseejay (967400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353592)

Maybe it's because I'm not "typing challenged," but I can't fathom how it's easier to replace spaces with dots than to "find the shift key" twice to enclose a phrase in quotes. And for a bonus, demonstrate the "dot-technique" using an example that doesn't even work. Priceless. Maybe the 3rd edition will have a chapter about avoiding the pesky space- and shift-keys, but till then, the reviewer should maybe stick to the Google-stuff that's actually in the book.

Re:hmm (1)

zokum (650994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354492)

It's not the shift key itself that is there problem you clueless idiot, it's the act of pressing down one key while using another. Let's say you had only your right hand, can you not see how this.would.be.easier than "this would be easier". A lot of keyboard layouts have the . right next to space, making it very easy to type, while " is a lot harder to reach on most. If you still don't get this, try imagining you only had 1 hand with 1 finger on it, good luck using " in an easy manner then, and no, sticky keys are not "easy".

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353804)

I use single quotes... no shift key involvement.

Re:hmm (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354057)

Um, I just tried and single quotes don't do anything. Google just ignores them.

Re:hmm (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353702)

"Blank stare..."/I.

Don't.you.mean."blank.stare"?

Re:hmm (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354262)

Don't.you.mean."blank.stare"?

The whole point was to avoid using the shift key. How did you type the question mark?

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354265)

S.T.F.U.
;)

Useless book (3, Interesting)

DerCed (155038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353394)

I don't really understand why one should read such a book and why the reviewer rates it so high. The features of google are clearly described on their website and there are hundreds of books about the usage of search engines on the internet.

Useless?

Re:Useless book (2, Interesting)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354093)

I don't really understand why one should read such a book ...

It's for people who want to read about Google and its uses, not for people who want to use Google.

A few years ago, between jobs, my wife bought me a "how to get a job" book produced (or at least endorsed) by the people at Monster. Equally useless. I needed to get a job, not read about how to get a job.

Re:Useless book (1)

wired_parrot (768394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354393)

Useless?
I tend to think not. When I did my undergraduate degree a mandatory course for all freshmen was a short 2 hour course on finding material at the library, and it helped me immensely. It seems simple enough, but most people I talk to don't know how to carry out basic research on the web. With Google's increasing role as a starting point for research online, I think a simple course on searching with it is equally important. Even obscure words can turn up millions of hits on Google, so knowing how to properly limit your search is extremely important. Unfortunately too many people's idea of searching on the web is to type in a single keyword on google and see what comes up.

How valuable is this? (4, Insightful)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353423)

With a shelf life somewhere between milk and bread, this book would have to be pretty darn cheap for me to buy it.

Re:How valuable is this? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353717)

Reminds me a bit of those books listing "cool" web site links when the dotcom bubble yet had to burst.

Re:How valuable is this? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353812)

I remember buying the 1st edition of the "Internet Yellow Pages" back in 1994 (I think) at Costco. It even had a listing of "all" the Usenet newsgroups in the back. I still have it...

Re:How valuable is this? (1)

DerCed (155038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354029)

Well, 24 Euro seems reasonable. But still a bit too much if you ask me. The author had better sold his content to some print journals.

omfg stop humping googles legs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353552)

this is just sick.

My favorite google search (2, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353602)

My favorite google search is "sqrt(-1)"

Re:My favorite google search (1)

quincunx55555 (969721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353745)

That's cool! I like the:

/160 pounds * 4000 feet in Calories/

search even better ;)

Re:My favorite google search (3, Funny)

pisces22 (819606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353850)

Narcissus.

Re:My favorite google search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353952)

The fact that "e^(pi*i)" actually works makes me cream repeatedly.

Re:My favorite google search (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354010)

The "e^(pi*i)" search is much cooler. Still the closest thing to an entertaining equation math has to offer.

Re:My favorite google search (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354230)

My favourite is:
/the answer to life, the universe and everything/

Re:My favorite google search (1)

CFrankBernard (605994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354441)

I believe Douglas Adams claimed he came up with the answer 42 while staring at his garden. Perhaps he had his alleged favorite Earl Grey # 42 in hand as well.
42 = for tea two = tea for two: http://www.cafepress.com/42_tea_for_two [cafepress.com]
"So the best advice I can give to an American arriving in England is this. Go to Marks and Spencer and buy a packet of Earl Grey tea." --Douglas Adams Salmon of Doubt

Re:My favorite google search (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354560)

>sqrt(-1)
We're sorry. Your search cannot be completed as dialed. Please rotate your query string ninety degrees and try your search again.
>life, the universe, and everything
If you search for the meaning of life on Google, you get to a not-bad philosophy page.

Calculator (1)

Z1NG (953122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353758)

It is a pretty basic feature, but people are amazed when I show them that google can act as a scientific calculator by simply typing into the search bar.

Missing? (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353774)

It's always in the last place you look.

Re:Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353893)

I've seen this post before, but it's never more apt than when the review is of those terrible 'Missing Manual' pieces of junk.

Re:Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354108)

Of course! Why would you continue to look for it after you found it? :)

Punctuation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353842)

So, with google, how do I search for the difference between the following LaTeX commands:
\circle
\circle*

Google's dropping of all punctuation is quite annoying, and makes some queries impossible, as /LaTeX \circle \circle*/ is the same as /latex circle/, which is completly different.

Re:Punctuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354227)

yeah, that sucks. I also hate that google returns results which don't even have the words you're searching for when I'm doing an exact quote search.

Re:Punctuation (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354380)

So, with google, how do I search for the difference between the following LaTeX commands:
\circle
\circle*

Google's dropping of all punctuation is quite annoying, and makes some queries impossible, as /LaTeX \circle \circle*/ is the same as /latex circle/, which is completly different.

Just search for "latex circle" (sans quotes). You'll find plenty of results on the first page that answer your question. You don't need to be that precise.

GBook (0)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353919)

I would think this would be a good read. Could add some insight to some new ways of utilizing some of Googles services.

I bet I sound like a troll in saying this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353993)

"Here's one hack that's missing from the manual. Instead of enclosing a phrase in quotes, /"to be or not to be"/, you can replace the spaces with periods, /to.be.or.not.to.be/. This example turns out to fail, because Google thinks you're looking for a web site in Belgium, but it works most of the time. As a typing-impaired person I like it because it saves having to find the shift key."
The reason it is missing is because it must be the stupidest "hack" ever devised. The shift key is less than an inch away from the period key, not to sound insulting but, are you retarded or something? This is as bad as the time some twits thought that by increasing the number of characters used in a |\/|3554g3, they could somehow save time. Damn wannabes.

Gwigle (4, Interesting)

ornil (33732) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354081)

One really cool way to explore the advanced google features is to play The Gwigle game [varten.net] . If you could get through the entire thing in less than a few hours, I'd be really impressed. The last problem is particularly cute.

MOD UP PARENT (1)

quakeroatz (242632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354375)

Why buy the book when you can Gwigle?

Another interesting Google feature (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354117)

A feature I found a little while ago relates to real estate. Google seems to have (silently) upload many of the US Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases for residential real estate. Try searching:

san francisco real estate

You get an option to "refine your search" - if you use this interactive tool, you can search the MLS database in San Francisco for properties with specific characteristics. Who needs realtor.com anymore?

Save $9.25! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354177)

Save yourself $9.25 by buying the book here: Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Meta-view. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354431)

I've read the reviewed book, as well as Amazon and Firefox hacks. The thing that got me excited was the possible meta-layers one could create on top of these and other services. The future is going to be aggregation, and its benefits.

BTW O'Reilly has a book on Game Physics.

If Google uses the same technology as the Tardis (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354624)

then it must use the same principle of Dimensional Transcendentalism which, as any Who fan knows, just means that it's bigger on the inside. However, Tom Baker's Doctor Who once commented that he felt there was something fundamentally wrong with DT, so Google had best be careful.
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