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2.2. Google's Current Offerings

Google's web search (http://www.google.com/) covers over 3 billion pages. In addition to HTML pages, Google's web search also indexes PDF, Postscript, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Rich Text Format (RTF). Google's web search also offers some syntaxes that find specific information, like stock quotes and phone numbers, but we'll save that for later in the book.

[Hack #29]

The Google Directory (http://directory.google.com/) is a searchable subject index based on The Open Directory Project (http://www.dmoz.org). As it indexes sites (not pages), it's much smaller than the web search but better for general searches. Google has applied its popularity algorithm to the listings so that more popular sites rise to the top.

[Hack #30]

Usenet is a worldwide network of discussion groups. Google Groups (http://groups.google.com/) has archived Usenet's discussions back 20 years in some places, providing an archive that offers over 700 million messages.

[Hack #31]

Google Images (http://images.google.com/) offers an archive of over 330 million images culled from sites all over the web. Images range from icon sized to wallpaper sized, with a variety of search engines for homing in on the closest one.

[Hack #32]

Google News (http://news.google.com/) is still in beta at the time of this writing. It checks over 4,000 sources for news and updates the database once an hour. Google News is different from most other search engines in that it "clusters" headlines on its front page into similar topics.

[Hack #33]

Searching print mail-order catalogs probably isn't the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Google, but you can do it here. Google Catalogs (http://catalogs.google.com/) has digitized and made available catalogs in a dozen different categories. If you don't see your favorite catalog here, you can submit it for possible consideration.

[Hack #34]

Google Catalogs is a great way to do offline shopping, especially if you like to browse with nothing more than a couple of keywords. However, if you're the modern type who insists on doing all your shopping online, you'll want to check out Froogle (http://froogle.google.com/). Froogle, a combination of the words "Google" and "frugal," is a searchable shopping index that looks a lot like the Google Directory with a focus on getting you right to an online point of purchase for the item you're interested in. The service was launched in December 2002 and, at the time of this writing, is still in beta.

[Hack #35]

There's no telling what you'll find at Google Labs (http://labs.google.com/); it's where Google parks their works-in-progress and lets the general public play with `em. At the time of this writing, you'll find a way to search Google via phone, a glossary search, keyboard navigation, and a search that allows you to create a set of similar words from a few search results.



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