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Hack 68. Visit the Google Labs

Google Labs, as the name suggests, sports Google's experiments, fun little hacks, and inspirational uses of the Google engine and database.

Be sure not to miss Google Labs ( The whole point of this part of Google's site is that things will appear, vanish, change, and basically do whatever they want. So, while the site might be different by the time you read this, it's still worth covering, because you might find one of the tools here useful in sparking ideas.

At the time of this writing, there are a number of experiments running at the lab, some of which are covered in depth elsewhere in this book:

Google Desktop Search (

Covered in [Hack #61] .

Google SMS (

Covered in [Hack #67] .

Site-Flavored Google Search Box (

Tailor a Google search box to return results of a particular slant (e.g., kids' content, computers: hacking, etc).

Google Groups 2 (

Covered in [Hack #56] .

Google Personalized Web Search (

Tailor your Google results to suit your interests—essentially an individualized version of Site-Flavored Google Search.

Froogle Wireless (

Covered in [Hack #67] .

Google Deskbar (

Covered in [Hack #60] .

Google Compute (

An add-in to the Google Toolbar [Hack #60], Google Compute borrows a few cycles from your computer as it sits idle and applies this computing energy to solve difficult scientific problems around the world.

Google Sets (

Enter a few terms, and Google will try to come up with an appropriate set of phrases. For example, enter Amazon and Borders, and Google will come up with Borders, Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, Media Play, SunCoast, Samgoody, etc. It doesn't always work like you'd expect. Enter vegan and vegetarian and you'll get veal, Valentine's Day, Tasmania; it goes a bit far afield. Clicking any item in the group list will launch a regular Google search.

Google WebQuotes (

Many times, you can learn the most about a web page by what other web pages say about it. Google WebQuotes takes advantage of this fact by providing a preview of what other sites are saying about a particular link before you actually meander over to the site itself.

From the Google WebQuotes home page, specify how many WebQuotes you'd like for a particular search (the default is three, a number that I find works well) and enter a search term. Google WebQuotes returns the top 10 sites (or, if you suffix the resultant URL with &num=100, the top 100 sites) with as many WebQuotes for each page as you specified. Note, however, that not every page has a WebQuote.

This comes in rather handy when you're doing some general research and want to know immediately whether the search result is relevant. When you're searching for famous people, you can get some useful information on them this way, too—and all without leaving the search results page!

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