- Tapa blanda: 330 páginas
- Editor: O'Reilly Media, Inc, USA; Edición: 1st (31 de enero de 2002)
- Colección: Hacks
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0596004478
- ISBN-13: 978-0596004477
Detalles del producto
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.
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.
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!