If you're a programmer--or even just familiar with an 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.
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. --David Wall, Amazon.com
From the Publisher
About the Author
Tara Calishain is the creator of the site, ResearchBuzz. She is an expert on Internet search engines and how they can be used effectively in business situations.
Rael Dornfest is a Researcher at the O'Reilly & Associates focusing on technologies just beyond the pale. He assesses, experiments, programs, and writes for the O'Reilly network and O'Reilly publications. Dornfest is Program Chair of the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Chair of the RSS-DEV Working Group, and developer of Meerkat: An Open Wire Service. In his copious free time, he develops bits and bobs of Open Source software and maintains his raelity bytes Weblog.
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Googles full-word wildcard stands in for any keyword in a query.
Some search engines support a technique called "stemming."Stemming is adding a wildcard character usually *(asterisk)but sometimes ?(question mark)to part of your query, requesting the search engine return variants of that query using the wildcard as a placeholder for the rest of the word at hand. For example,moon*would find:moons, moonlight,moonshot,etc.
Google doesn t support stemming.
Instead, Google offers the full-word wildcard. While you can t have a wildcard stand in for part of a word,you can insert a wildcard (Googles wildcard character is *) into a phrase and have the wildcard act as a substitute for one full word.Searching for "three *mice",therefore,finds:three blind mice, three blue mice,three green mice,etc.
What good is the full-word wildcard?It s certainly not as useful as stemming, but then again, it s not as confusing to the beginner. One *is a stand-in for one word; two *signifies two words,and so on. The full-word wild-card comes in handy in the following situations:
Avoiding the 10 word limit [Hack #5] on Google queries. You ll most frequently run into these examples when you re trying to find song lyrics or a quote;plugging the phrase "Fourscore and seven years ago,our fathers brought forth on this continent "into Google will search only as far as the word "on," every word after that will be ignored by Google.
Checking the frequency of certain phrases and derivatives of phrases, like:intitle:"methinks the *doth protest too much"and intitle:"the
Filling in the blanks on a fitful memory.Perhaps you remember only a short string of song lyrics; search only using what you remember rather than randomly reconstructed full lines.
Let s take as an example the disco anthem "Good Times "by Chic. Consider the line:"You silly fool,you can t change your fate."
Perhaps you ve heard that lyric,but you can t remember if the word "fool "is correct or if it s something else.If you re wrong (if the correct line is,for example,"You silly child, you can t change your fate "), your search will find no results and you ll come away with the sad conclusion that no one on the Internet has bothered to post lyrics to Chic songs.
The solution is to run the query with a wildcard in place of the unknown word,like so:
You can use this technique for quotes,song lyrics,poetry,and more. You should be mindful, however,to include enough of the quote that you find unique results. Searching for "you *fool"will glean you far too many false hits.