Thursday, August 31, 2006

Free Books from Google Book Search

Google is expanding Google Book Search to include the free downloading of complete books. These are older "classics" (Hamlet, Aesop's Fables, Dante's Inferno, and the like) that are presumably in the public domain -- that is, books whose copyrights have expired. The books are downloadable in PDF format, for reading on any PC. Just search for the book you want and then click the Full View option.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google and eBay

Google and eBay just announced an advertising alliance between the two companies. Google is now responsible for selling ads on eBay outside the U.S. (Yahoo! has the assignment for eBay U.S.) The interesting thing about this announcement is the emphasis on integrating "click-to-call" technology (from eBay's Skype unit) with Google web advertisements. Interested users will be able to click on a Google ad and immediately be connected to the advertiser, via Google Talk and Skype.

I'm not hip on this whole click-to-call thing. I'm not sure too many consumers will want to talk directly to advertisers, and I'm less sure that many advertisers will want to spend the money to staff a 24/7 call center to handle these click-to-call communications. While there are apparently some market segments where this might make sense (mortgage brokers seem to be keen on the idea), I think this is yet another attempt by eBay to justify its ill-thought-out acquisition of Skype. (eBay has already added click-to-call as an option in its online auctions; sellers are not flocking to embrace it.)

In any case, this is more confirmation that Google is really in the advertising business, not the search business. It's all about the ad dollars, folks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Google Apps for the Corporation

It was bound to happen. Google is now bundling a suite of applications for corporate use. While this isn't an office suite per se -- and certainly doesn't compete directly with Microsoft Office -- it's still a foray into the corporate world.

The new suite is called Google Apps for Your Domain, and is centered around Gmail; an organization gets to give every user in its domain a Gmail address. Other applications in the suite (all web-based) include Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Panel (to manage user accounts, mailing lists, and the like).

Google Apps for Your Domain (AKA Gmail for Your Domain) is currently available as a limited beta test. Click here to learn more and potentially sign up.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Google Sitemaps and Webmaster Central

If you read that particular chapter in Googlepedia, you know that one of the ways to enhance your search ranking with Google is to create a sitemap for your site. Well, don't freak out, but Google Sitemaps is no more. It isn't gone, however; Google has just integrated it into a new set of Google Webmaster Tools. The Sitemaps protocol still works just like it did before, it's just under a new name.

The name change is part of a new site initiative that Google calls Google Webmaster Central. This new site is a one-stop-shop for webmasters trying to optimize their sites for the Google search engine, and includes site submission tools, a site status wizard (so you can find out if site is currently indexed by Google), a discussion group and blog for webmasters, a webmaster help center, and the aforementioned Webmaster Tools, of which Sitemaps is just one of several. If you run your own website, this new Webmaster Central is definitely worth checking out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Google Video

Google recently revamped their main page to include a link to Google Video, right alongside the Images, News, and Maps links. Clicking the Video link takes you directly to the Google Video page, where you can search for and download a variety of different videos, both paid and free.

The change to the main page is a big deal; Google doesn't often muck with perfection. To their credit, the change is minor -- what's one more link at the top, more or less?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Googlepedia in the News

Googlepedia was featured in an article in the Wilmington (Delaware) News Journal. Here's the article online:

Getting the most from the Web’s most-used search engine

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Google Spreadsheets

One new Google feature barely covered in Googlepedia is Google Spreadsheets. That's because Google Spreadsheets launched the same week the book was supposed to go to the printer; I was able to insert a few paragraphs at the last minute, but timing was against us.

That's one reason why I recently wrote a Digital Shortcut "electronic book" for Que Publishing, titled Using Google Spreadsheets. This is a 50 pp. book in PDF format that you can purchase and download online. It covers everything there is to know about Google Spreadsheets, from basic operation to advanced formatting and functions, and everything in-between. You'll also learn how to import your existing Excel spreadsheets into Google Spreadsheets, and share your spreadsheets and collaborate online with others. There's even a comprehensive Google Spreadsheets function reference, essential for all advanced spreadsheet creators.

Here's the complete table of contents for the e-book:
  • Introducing Google Spreadsheets
  • Migrating from Excel to Google Spreadsheets
  • Navigating the Google Spreadsheets Workspace
  • Creating, Opening, and Saving Google Spreadsheets
  • Entering and Editing Data
  • Working with Ranges
  • Sorting Data
  • Inserting, Deleting, Moving, and Copying Data
  • Changing Column Width and Row Height
  • Formatting Google Spreadsheets
  • Entering and Editing Formulas
  • Using Functions
  • Working with Multiple Sheets
  • Printing Google Spreadsheets
  • Sharing and Collaborating with Google Spreadsheets
  • A Final Word
Click here to read more, or to purchase and download the e-book. The price is right, at just $4.99.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The New Blogger

If you're reading this blog, one of the most obvious changes to Google since the publication of Googlepedia is the beta launch of the new Blogger. (I wish Google would give it a name, like Blogger 2.0 or something, rather than forcing everyone to call it the "new Blogger.")

The new Blogger has several nice new features, most of which have to do with personalization. You can choose from a variety of new templates, as well as modify the font and color choices via an an easy-to-use color picker (that modifies the accompanying CSS template). There are also a ton of items you can add to the basic template, including pictures, links, and lists. And you can move everything around on the page simply by dragging modules around on a template-builder grid.

Behind-the-scenes, the new Blogger is built on a completely new platform. This removes the old need to republish your entire blog after any template change; changes are immediate, with no "republishing lag." Plus the new spell checker is actually usable. (Yay!)

The only drawback to the new Blogger is that it's still in limited release. You can't yet move your existing blog to the new platform; for the time being, the only way to see the new Blogger is to create a new blog with a new user name. Google promises to make the new platform to existing bloggers at some point in time, however, so hold on tight -- it's coming!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Googlepedia is Number-One!

Great news -- Googlepedia was the #1 book in the computer category at Barnes & Noble for the week ending August 12th. Thanks to all my readers for giving me my first number-one book!

Welcome to Googlepedia: The Blog

Welcome! I'm author Michael Miller, and this blog is in support of my book Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource. Look here for regular updates to the book and coverage of new Google features!