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Google Apps Hacks [Paperback]

Philipp Lenssen

Price: CDN$ 29.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

April 27 2008 059651588X 978-0596515881 1

Can Google applications really become an alternative to the venerable Microsoft Office suite? Conventional wisdom may say no, but practical wisdom says otherwise. Right now, 100,000 small businesses are currently running trials of Google office applications. So are large corporations such as General Electric and Proctor & Gamble. Google Apps Hacks gets you in on the action with several ingenious ways to push Google's web, mobile, and desktop apps to the limit.

The scores of clever hacks and workarounds in this book help you get more than the obvious out of a whole host of Google's web-based applications for word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint-style presentations, email, calendar, and more by giving you ways to exploit the suite's unique network functionality. You get plenty of ways to tinker with:

  • Google Documents -- Share and edit documents with others in real time, view them on the run with Google Docs mobile service, and use Google Notebook for web research


  • Google Spreadsheets -- Add real-time data to spreadsheets, and generate charts and tables you can embed in web pages


  • Google Presentations -- View them on a mobile phone and save them as video


  • Gmail -- Send email to and from a mobile phone, adjust Gmail's layout with a style sheet, and a lot more


  • iGoogle -- Create your own gadgets, program a screenscraper, add Flash games, and more


  • Google Calendar -- Add web content events, public calendars, and your Outlook Calendar to this application


  • Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google SketchUp: the new 3D modeling software tool


  • Picasa, YouTube, and Google Video -- discover new ways to customize and use these media management apps


In addition, Google Apps Hacks outlines ways you can create a simple web site with nothing but Google tools, including Page Creator, Blogger, Google Analytics, and content from other Google apps. This amazing collection just might convince you that Microsoft Office is not the last word in business applications. The price is certainly right.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059651588X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596515881
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 20.7 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #709,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1977, Philipp Lenssen is a web developer, blogger and author from Germany. Since 2003, Philipp runs Google Blogoscoped at blogoscoped.com, a daily news source started in Malaysia covering all things Google, from Gmail, Orkut and web search to Google Docs, usability issues, YouTube and everything in-between. The blog also spawned a book called 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Philipp likes to tinker with programming, drawing, writing and game design, and has a special interest in the intersections among those areas.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Age of Google Web Apps April 29 2008
By Brett Merkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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Sometimes I wonder how Microsoft can presume to compete with Google in the Web world. So much depends on search nowadays -- the Internet is one big store of valuable information. Yet I have to use an unsupported freeware utility to search my little Windows XP hard drive because the search feature that comes with the operating system is so slow and inflexible.

**Google Apps Hacks** introduced me to a Google universe that was even bigger than I had expected. I expected --and got-- lots of material on plugging into Google maps (lots of people are taking advantage of the possibilities here) and lots of tips on using GMail, gadgets, calendars and news feeds.

The biggest surprises for me were contained in the chapters on Google Docs. Part of the material was basic "how-to" and "did you know that..." information to help get acquainted with the features of Google word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. In fact, it appears that this book itself was collaboratively composed by Philipp Lenssen along with O'Reilly staff with Google Docs.

I was most impressed by how easy and flexible the spreadsheet application is to use. The author provides a pile of tricks and tips useful for both the ordinary user and the programmer.

This book should attract programmers (and other Web citizens) who want to investigate and test drive the latest cool things that many people are having fun with -- and a bunch more are making money from.
§
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected July 29 2008
By Al - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The word 'Hacks' implied secrets, insider information, or the ability to do something others cannot. I checked the index before I bought it. I wanted some insight on how to program my own Google Apps. I thought this book had some. But there was really nothing useful for a programmer here. The book gave little more than what you can find online in tutorials. Nice book in terms of explaining what Google Apps are and how to use them in a Google domain, but no insider information here.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opened my eyes to quite a few new Google tricks I haven't tried... July 20 2008
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I happily take advantage of a number of Google applications such as Gmail, iGoogle, Google Calendar, and a few other things. But there's more to the Google Apps family than that, and I know I'm not getting all I can out of the offerings. After going through Google Apps Hacks by Philipp Lenssen, I have a number of new tricks to try out both on stuff I already use as well as a few other apps. Fun stuff!

Contents:
Meet The Google Docs Family; The Google Docs Family - Google Documents; The Google Docs Family - Google Spreadsheets; The Google Docs Family - Google Presentation; Become a Gmail Power User; Customize Your Google Home Page; Manage Your Events With Google Calendar; Keep Up On News With Google Reader; Manage Your Photos And Videos With Picasa and YouTube; Create Your Own Home Page, Blog, or Group; Dive Into Google Maps, Google Earth, and Sketchup 3D; Google Analytics And Beyond - Market Your Site, Track Visitors
Credits; Index

This book follows the same format as other O'Reilly Hack titles. For each of the chapters, you get a number of tricks, or "hacks", that show you how to do things that may not be intuitively obvious. There's a difficulty meter after each hack title that gives you a clue as to whether its something that is easy to pull off or something that takes a degree of technical skill. The first couple of hacks in each chapter tend to be introductory in nature. They explain the package and get you started. For instance, the first hack in the first chapter is "How to Get Your Google Account". Likewise, the first hack in the iGoogle chapter has you adding Google tools to your iGoogle home page. The hacks get more in-depth after that, such as "Backing Up Your Email" or "Create Google Maps Overlays On the Fly". I personally was intrigued by some of the possibilities in the Google Spreadsheets area. "Add Live Data to Your Spreadsheet" was interesting, as was "Automatically Complete Lists of Related Items". That one is completely unexpected, and shows the power of integration with the Google search engine results. There's also a way to import data from web sites into a Google spreadsheet. That has some particular interest for a project I'd like to do. Finally, there was a *really* cool hack to show how to track packages via RSS using Google Reader. That one will be getting some significant use with my next Amazon order...

As with all Hacks titles, some items will be absolute gems for you, while others will hold no interest. That's OK, and it's to be expected. All it takes is one or two hacks to make a radical change in the way you do things. In terms of usefulness, Google Apps Hacks ranks up there with the best of the Hacks titles.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to many different Google applications Aug. 10 2008
By ueberhund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While this book wasn't chock full of the kind of insider information that you usually get from a "hacks" book, it did offer a lot of good information that I haven't seen altogether in one place. Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware of all the different tools that Google is making available: from Google Docs to Gmail to iGoogle and more. This book does an excellent job showing how to use these tools and how to get more out of them than you probably thought possible.

The book spends the first 4 chapters going through the various applications within the Google Docs family--which is essentially an online, non-Microsoft version of the Office suite. Subsequent chapters are then dedicated to Gmail, iGoogle (a customization of the Google home page), Google Calendar, Google Reader, Picasa, blogging, Google Maps (and related programs), and analytics. Even with all this information, there are still Google applications that were left out--but I suppose that is to be expected, otherwise this book would be well above its current 400 pages.

I found each chapter to be well written, and I felt that each "hack" was something a real user would try/want to do. The author includes lots of screen shots and includes extra HTML and javascript within the text where appropriate. The author goes so far as to show (in a few cases) some 3rd party applications that rival the Google offering. For example, in discussing Picasa, the author shows some non-Google alternatives.

I thought this was a great book that was well-written and easy to follow. It opened my eyes to many of the possibilities that currently exist within Google products. If you're looking to get more out of your Google experiences, this book is highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be Gmail and Google Docs Hacks, not Google Apps Oct. 25 2009
By Eric Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a contract system administrator that is constantly recommending and implementing Google Apps for business (formerly Google Apps for Your Domain) I thought this would have some more in depth insight. This is not good for an administrator, but would be alright for an end-user.

I also purchased Google Apps Administrator Guide which was recommended on the same page and IT was the one that had the information that should be in this book too. There was very little mention about the business implementation and administration of the actual Google Apps. This was a how-to book for users of Google Docs, rudimentary usage of Google Sites, and being a "power user" with Gmail. Not a "hack" book of the business version of Google Apps.

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