86 internautes sur 88 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Few of today's web-savvy would contest Google's superiority among search engines. Behind the austere and simple interface lies a wealth of information just waiting to be tapped. Until now however, tapping all that information and power would likely require scanning dozens of websites hunting down tips for making the most out of Google. Fortunately, Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest and their colleagues have done most of the legwork for us in O'Reilly's Google Hacks.
Google Hacks is another in O'Reilly's Hacks series, "Industrial Strength Tips and Tools". In this case, 100 recipes for just about every imaginable use for Google. O'Reilly uses the term 'hack' in a positive way, meaning a clever technical feat or trick, as opposed to the negative connotation associated with those blackhats who break into computer systems for fun and for profit. Each "hack" is a stand-alone recipe demonstrating some aspect of using Google to find just what you're looking for. Most hacks also contain cross-references to other relevant hacks in the book, so you really don't have to read it from cover to cover. You could start with whatever interests you, and go from there.
The book is divided into several chapters, each of which contains several hacks. The first few chapters are targeted at the general end-user, describing in detail all of the various syntaxes you can use when searching with Google, as well as introducing the various topical collections (U.S. government, Linux, Mac, etc.), and other tools (Google Groups, Google News, etc.,) available. The authors are careful to point out where the various syntax pieces are incompatible, and which syntax features are available with which services. Also covered are various tools you can use to (legally) 'scrape' Google search results for further analysis. These chapters will be useful for just about anyone who uses Google. Some of the material (such as directly manipulating URLS to tweak search results and custom HTML forms) may be beyond the reach of some newbies. A general understanding of URLs, HTML and CGI scripting will be helpful in making use of most of the book.
The next few chapters are targeted more to developers and propeller-heads, describing the Google Web Service API, as well as providing dozens of scripts (mostly in Perl) for manipulating Google's index via its XML interface. Newbies and the casual user might find all this a bit overwhelming, but anyone with a Perl interpreter could potentially use these scripts to their advantage. One chapter also provides examples of using the API in various other languages including PHP, Java, Python, C#/.NET, and VB.NET. There are enough examples here of using the API in various fashions to get anyone with a sense of programming plenty of starting off points for whatever project they may imagine with Google's wealth of information.
The next to last chapter involves a handful of pranks, games, other oddities you can do with Google. Fool your friends with 0-result searches, let Google write poetry or a recipe for you. Draw pictures with Google Groups, or see just how good you are at Google-Whacking. This is the chapter for all of you who have way too much time on your hands ;-).
The last chapter in the book is targeted towards webmasters and offers several tips not only on getting your website well-placed in Google's search rankings, but also general help on getting traffic to your site in the first place. The authors also discuss strategies for using Google's AdWords system to the advantage of your business.
Overall, the book is very readable, and easy to move through (well, for a geek anyways). Each hack is self-contained, and can be read in a few minutes. Read it near your computer, as you'll likely be wanting to try some of these hacks out as you read them. As for its usefulness, I'm already using things I learned in the book on a regular basis to my daily advantage. However, if you're not more than a casual user of Google, all the scripts and API-speak might be overkill for your needs. The first few and last chapters probably justify the Amazon price for most users, however.
The book isn't perfect, though. I did find a few typographical errors scattered through the text, but they weren't prevalent enough to be too distracting. Also, with coverage of such a moving target as a major Internet property like Google, there will likely be links and even certain hacks that may not work, and features that change with time. Finally, the idea of narrowing down your search results to a manageable number surfaces often. In my opinion, what's important is not so much how many search results are found, but rather, whether or not Google can get me what I'm looking for within the first page or two of results, which it usually does, and which is why I use Google in the first place. The real value of the book shows itself on those occasions where Google doesn't necessarily get you where you want to be on the first shot.
In summary, true to its cover graphic, Google Hacks will provide you with a large number of tools to get the most out of Google, whether for serious research, casual browsing, procrastination activities, or just plain old fun.
163 internautes sur 175 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
First off, I have to admit: I fell in love with this book while looking at the description at ora.com before it was ever published. I'm a geek. I've used Google for years. I live and breathe this stuff. I know the high editorial and production quality that O'Reilly puts into their technical books. But the pre-publication descriptions left an open question for me: just how useful would this book be for normal people?
To those who know nothing about programming/scripting, fear not. About half of this book is stuff that anyone anywhere can use with no programming skills whatsoever. And if the hacks described in the other half of the book sound useful, sufficiently-motivated people will find a way to use them: talk to their technical friends, their children, or (heaven forbid!) teach themselves how to use Perl/Python/etc. And even that's kind of missing the point: the book is about giving you a taste of what is possible to do with Google. You will get an education simply by leafing through the examples.
How do the authors get so good? Clearly, they're smart folk. But they have a much more important quality: a sense of adventure and, at times, a giddy quality of fun in what they do. Chapter 7 -- Google Pranks and Games -- is as good a place to start reading this book as any. And a non-technical person who reads and tries the examples in Chapter 1 will have a far better working knowledge of google than 99.5% of the technical types out there. Finally, Chapter 8 is an excellent intro to webmasters to understand how google picks which pages rank higher for any particular search. It gives valuable advice on how to get a good rank for your website. This book should be a good antidote for small-time operators who are currently getting hustled by "rank booster" con artists and other snake-oil salesmen.
One side comment: hacking is a good thing. In the past two decades, the word has been co-opted to mean a dubious or possibly-illegal activity. Nonsense. Hacking is a most honorable activity; it's part of what makes the world works. Kudos to O'Reilly for starting their "Hacks" book series.
Google is an Internet search engine database, but it's far more than that. It's existence has begun to shape the very fabric of the Internet. Anyone wishing to be literate on the Internet would be wise to understand quite a bit about it.
I'm buying a copy of this book for my mother tonight.
44 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Google Hacks is a fascinating book that catalogs pretty much anything you ever wanted to know about Google. But, the book really consists of two broad sections: One for searchers and researchers; and one for web developers.
While there is much to like about the book, there is also much to ignore. I think at times, the authors emulate the writing style of programming books too closely. That's a problem for all the non-technical people who likely bought the book. As it stands now, the book seems terribly unfocused. Still the authors do an admirable job of trying to tie everything together for their unique audiences.
As a developer, I found the "Google API hacks" to be useful, but the vast majority of the readers probably will not. And the programming tips take up almost half the book.
This is not the only reason I gave Google Hacks three stars. In addition to the problem with focus, the section for webmasters is laughable. Brett Tabke of WembasterWorld, a supposed search engine marketing expert, contributes several of the webmaster "hacks." His sections are perhaps the weakest parts of the book. He tries to explain how to make sure your site ranks highly in Google's search results, but his advice should be ignored.
He makes all sorts of proclamations that have no basis in reality; most of his tips are simply his own personal opinion masquerading as fact. It would be nice if he were to cite his sources, but unfortunately for us readers, he does not.
On the other hand, the guest section written by Andrew Goodman about Google AdWords tips is top-notch and reason enough for buying the book.
All in all, if you're remotely interested in Google, definitely buy this book. But be forewarned about the lackluster guest authors and lack of focus. Who knows? Maybe version two will be better. Keep in mind, also, that this is a book about the Web, so many of the tips contained in the book may be obsolete by the time you read it!
71 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
It has been quite a while since I have come across a book I'd label `essential.' The last for non-programming computer users was Robin Williams' `The Mac Is Not A Typewriter' which I bought for a number of new Macintosh users. `Google Hacks' by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest and published by O'Reilly will appeal to an even wider audience, I can imagine buying this for friends who haven't cottoned on to `net searching at all and friends who complain "Google returns too many sites." People who are afraid to code shouldn't be put off by the "Hacks" in the title: O'Reilly have obviously taken a wider meaning of "hack" than just a neat piece of code. This book is a marvelous compendium of tips and tricks for Google, ranging from simple ways of getting the search results you want, through using Google's newer services such as phone books and image search, all the way to advanced ways of using scrapers and the Google API.
The book demonstrates 100 hacks, of which close to half are useful for everyone -- newbie, programmer and non-programmer alike. The first 35 hacks, in chapters one and two, will educate you about the intricacies of getting the best out of searching both Google's main web catalog and the newer `Special Services and Collections.' This is the part of the book that should be essential reading for Google users -- in the two days I've had this book these have proved invaluable. The rest are for those who are either looking for extremely advanced search tips, increasing their web site's Google page rank, or programming an application to use the Google data -- all topics well covered in this volume.
What's Good In This Book
To start, it is well written, well laid out with a good contents section, good index, and some appropriate introductory material before getting down to the first hack. Each of the hacks are numbered and a single hack will often cross-reference other hacks that add information relevant to it. The hacks in each chapter nicely add on each other in both complexity and function.
The hacks themselves seem to cover every area of Google that you might want. They range from the downright frivolous (there is a chapter "Google Pranks and Games") to serious ways of improving your search results and excellent examples of good ways to use the Google API.
Most of the code fragments are in Perl, and among the hacks are ways of getting the job done without over extensive use of extra modules such as XML Parsers and SOAP::Lite (including a hack that uses regular expressions to parse the XML).
What's Bad In This Book
It's hard to find anything bad to say, apart from some frustration that a couple of the hacks that interested me used ASP or VB rather than a more portable language.
Oh, another minor quibble, the allied web site O'Reilly Hacks Series has been slow and has none of the code in the book or any of the URLs mentioned listed anywhere -- it seems more geared towards marketing the books than helping the readers.
55 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Meryl K. Evans
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Google is powerful for basic searches, which most people conduct by entering a few keywords and letting Google do the rest. Imagine the possibilities especially researchers, students, writers, professionals, and anyone who need to find specific or obscure information just by learning a few tricks. Entering _book reviews_ pulls out any resource having both words in it, not necessarily together as a phrase. Add quotes to "book reviews" and the results display sites with book reviews together as a phrase. This hardly unleashes Google's power. Even entering the keywords in a specific order can affect the results.
You can search around Google's Web site to learn lesser known tips and tricks, but you won't find most of the hacks on the Internet without, ironically, hard searching. As a fervent reader, too often I read well-written books and never take the time to apply the tools and techniques. While reading this one, I immediately put the newfound knowledge to use with cool results and still use it though it's been a few weeks since I opened the book.
You may be aware Google offers Google News, which searches and provides the latest news ([...] But did you know Google News supports two syntaxes? They are "intitle" and "site." "Intitle" searches for keywords within the headline or new item's title while "site" looks for the keyword in a specific site. The authors are straightforward when they mention Google News is not one of the best places for news.
Non-techies, don't let the fact that O'Reilly and Associates is the publisher scare you away because the company's books are often synonymous with high tech topics and the name "hacks" in its title. It doesn't mean "bad" as a hack is also known as a trick or add-on for adding more power to a program or system. The tech-speak is kept to a minimum, which makes the hacks easy to read and reference. The book has tips for beginners, moderate users, and experts and each hack is represented by thermometer's temperature (high for expert and low for easy) for easy reference.
Techies and programmers have nothing to fear as the book covers APIs (Application Programming Interface), which provide a basic building block for building software applications. In other words, Google Web APIs ([...]) allow developers to query Google's search tool for use in developing software that accesses the many Web sites through Google. For example, a Web site providing the latest news on books and the book industry could use the Google API to regularly update the site with any new news relating to books. APIs for PHP, Python, ASP, C#, .NET, VB, and Java are included.
Try out some of the hacks and get tips from other readers from the O'Reilly's Hacks Web site ([...]) and Tara Calishain's ResearchBuzz buzztoolbox ([...] Reduce the time you spend sifting through garbage by hacking your way with Google using this book.