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Everyone loves Google, and it's the first place many people turn to locate information on the Internet. There's a big gap, though, between knowing that you can use Google to get advance information on your blind date and having a handle on the considerable roster of fact-finding tools that the site makes available. Google Hacks reveals--and documents in considerable detail--a large collection of Google capabilities that many readers won't have even been aware of. Want to find the best price on a pair of leg warmers? Try the Froogle price-searcher that's hidden within the Google site. Interested in finding weblog commentary about a particular subject? Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest call your attention to the special Google syntaxes for that purpose. This book makes it clear that there's lots more to the Google site than typing in a few keywords and trusting the search engine to yield useful results.
If you're a programmer--or even just familiar with a HTML or a scripting language--Google opens up even further. A large part of Google Hacks concerns itself with the Google API (the collection of capabilities that Google exposes for use by software) and other programmers' resources. For example, the authors include a simple Perl application that queries the Google engine with terms specified by the user. They also document XooMLe, which delivers Google results in XML form. In brief, this is the best compendium of Google's lesser-known capabilities available anywhere, including the Google site itself. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to get the most from the Google search engine by using its Web-accessible features (including product searches, image searches, news searches, and newsgroup searches) and the large collection of desktop-resident toolbars available, as well as its advanced search syntax. Other sections have to do with programming with the Google API and simple "scrapes" of results pages, while further coverage addresses how to get your Web page to feature prominently in Google keyword searches. [via]