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34. Can't get enough of a Google thing

By Mark Alberstat

Have you been Googled? Do you Google? Have you tried the Froogle Google?

Today's internet society is full of Googleisms and with good reason. The little, simple-to-use search engine has become almost synonymous with Internet searches. It is also front and center in the news these days with a prominent splash on the business pages as it prepares to go public. Google even made the cover of a recent Newsweek issue.

While the focus of the tech world is on Google, a bit of a deeper look at the popular site is in order.

In addition to the famous or search site, the company has branched off into other areas of Internet usage, although some of these are in the beta stages. One of the most popular of these is the Google news portal. Auto generated from approximately 4500 news sources, this page is not only constantly updated, it is also relatively customizable with versions for Canadian, U.S., U.K. and other country's news featured prominently on the page.

If you are looking for a special image for that birthday card for great-uncle Albert, check out Here you can search thousand of images in a jiffy. One caveat, however, is that you might want to go into the preferences first and set the "safesearch" feature before you hit the search button. This option will help filter out any explicit hits that might pop up.

Another interesting side of Google is its Special Searches. These five engines allow you to run very specific searches on the U.S. Government, Linux, BSD, Apple Macintosh and Microsoft.

If you like playing with these extra Google services, you should head your browser over to Google labs. Here you will find a number of projects being worked on by the Googlers (Google programmers). You can find early versions of everything from Google Webquotes to a personalized Google, in which you set up your own profile with a variety of predetermined categories.

One of the latest releases from the lab is the Google deskbar. This handy little window resides in your Windows taskbar. You type in your query and hit the binoculars to start a Google search without launching your browser. This desktop helper application has several features, which are bound to be expanded, but the beta version now available is well worth a try if you like playing with the latest Windows add-ons.

One of the criticisms most often leveled at Google is that when you search for something, the number of hits that come back is enormous, often in the hundreds if not thousands. One group of intrepid webheads have made a sport of coming up with legitimate search targets that only produce one hit. Googlewhacking, as it has come to be known, has its own website, which you can contribute to or at least take a look at for a few fun minutes.

With its new free e-mail accounts, shopping searches, news updates and other services, more and more people will be spending time at Google, all adding up to oogles of Google time, not to mention the oogles of stock profit for the new shareholders.

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about computing, email If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


The Mousepad Index


Originally published 16 May 2004


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