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Hack 37. Google by Email

Access 10 of Google's search results at a time via email.

Long before the Web existed, there was email. And now, thanks to the Google API, there's Google email. Created by the team at Cape Clear (http://capescience.capeclear.com/google/), CapeMail queries Google via email. Send email to google@capeclear.com with the query you want on the subject line. You'll receive a message back with the estimated results count and the first 10 results. Here's an excerpt from a search for Frankenstein:

Estimated Total Results Number = 505000
URL  = "http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/Frankenstein/frankhome.html"
Title = "Frankenstein Exhibit Home Page"
Snippet = "Table of Contents Introduction The Birth of Frankenstein, 
The Celluloid Monster. Promise and Peril, Frankenstein: The Modern 
Prometheus. ... "
URL  = "http://www.literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/Frankenstein/"
Title = "Online Literature Library - Mary Shelley - Frankenstein"
Snippet = "Next Back Contents Home Authors Contact, Frankenstein. Mary 
Shelley. Preface; Chapter 1; Chapter 2; Chapter 3; Chapter 4; 
Chapter 5; Chapter ...  "

Like many other Google API applications, CapeMail may be used only 1,000 times per day; the Google API allows the use of the API key only 1,000 times a day. Don't rely on this to the exclusion of other ways to access Google. But if you're in a situation where web searching is not as easy as email—you're using a mobile phone or PDA, for example—this is a quick and easy way to interface with Google.

37.1. CapeMail Tricks

CapeMail comes in handy with the combination of an email application and a way to automate sending messages (cron, for example). Say you're researching a particular topic—a relatively obscure topic but one that does generate web page results. You could set up your scheduler (or even your email program if able to send timed messages) to fire off a message to CapeMail once a day, gather, and archive the search results. Further, you could use your email's filtering rules to divert the CapeMail pages to their own folder for offline browsing. Make sure your search is fairly narrow, though, because CapeMail returns only 10 results at a time.

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