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Google Pocket Guide

by Calishain, Tara, Rael Dornfest, and DJ Adams

Google Pocket Guide cover Google is my preferred search engine for many reasons. The Google folks have never fallen for this "more is less" philosophy of portals. Nice, clean, stable page which opens quickly in the creakiest of browsers on the most dated dialup connections on the planet.

Just the same, I wasn't interested in learning everything there is to know about Google, because let's face it, I don't consider myself a hack. It's all I can do to squeeze every bit of performance out of my mac when the world can only think pc and somehow thinks it's O.K. to sell products for macs but not know anything about how to install or make them work on macs.

So, no, I wasn't interested in Google Hacks. But as a longtime loyal follower of Tara Calashain's Research Buzz, I knew she knew lots of stuff about Google. In fact, actually enjoyed every blink of Google's eye. So when the Google Pocket Guide came out, I was interested.

First of all, it was a nice, comfortable size. No CD-ROM with 6 million pieces of free clipart tossed in with a few add-ons which only work with pcs, no 600 pages of text to break my toe should it fall off my lap onto my foot, and no promise to teach you Google in 14 easy lessons. Just a nice, simple, well-illustrated list of the basic features of Google and how to use them to narrow searches enough to return the best, most usable information.

There are subtle ways to manipulate Google searches, and it didn't take me long to read how this is done and to understand, although I can never remember the precise details so have to look up how to do it when I need a special kind of search. At least the Google Pocket Guide is something I can keep on my desk and still have room for the papers I'm working on. Even better, the Google Pocket Guide has a real index, a good one: five pages of index for a 119-page book. This means you can actually find references to what you're looking for in the index. A novel concept.

And last, but not least, what's the very best discovery I made in Google Pocket Guide? How to look up phone numbers. This small sliver of information makes the book worth it's price alone. There's nothing like trying to wade through a phone directory portal only to find that the back button doesn't work when the number you're looking for doesn't come up. Bravo for Google!

And Bravo to Tara, Rael, and DJ for a really good, small book on how to get the most out of Google's search abilities.

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