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Thursday, November 17, 2005

55 Ways To Have Fun With Google

I’ve decided to write a book titled “55 Ways To Have Fun With Google” (working sub-title: “A wunderkammer of search engine curiosities, games, riddles, artefacts, and a little bit of usefulness”). Unless a publisher comes along – if you are one or know one, let me know – I will self-publish via, which allows me to sell at the Amazon Marketplace too. All I need for that is Open Office Writer, a spellchecker, time and energy, ideas for 55 ways to have fun with Google, and your support. Some of the 55 ways will be based on ideas blogged about here. Others will be brand new for the book. And some I’ll post here for you to read and comment on.

What are some of the challenges I’m facing? Well, I work online on my own since over a month (I decided to quit my last job after a successful relaunch of a larger website). I’m working on different projects that one day might make money, but don’t pay yet (like Flix’d, Forty Faces, blogging, Performancing), so money will slowly run out. But that’s not scary, as the only scary thing (putting on a Rupert Pupkin expression here) would be not having tried, right?

What else do I need? Your feedback for ways to have fun with Google. And later on, your support when the book is ready. Comment ahead in the forum thread for this post with links, ideas, or anything that comes to mind. The scope is unlimited as long as it broadly fits the definition of “having fun with Google” (including not only the search engine, but Gmail, Google Reader, Google Base, Google News and what-not). Your emails are welcome as always. And one question, “What is fun?”, Google itself answers with an instant web definition above the search result: activities that are enjoyable or amusing.

A fitting domain for the book is in the works and will feature the book, and also contain URLs I might need. So instead of linking to “” – an address that may linkrot, and is complicated to enter – I’ll simply go for “” which will then redirect or contain the information itself.

What’s Google to me to write a book on it? Not a company (that book has been written, by the way). A metaphor, if you want, an approach – to tap the global brain. The book could therefore be called “55 Ways To Have Fun With The Global Brain, And Make It Talk To You” but that just doesn’t sound as catchy. But I do believe that whenever we type something into Google, we’re interacting with all the people in the world. Besides, I’d be lying if I’d pretend you can do most of the tricks in the book without a search engine... and also, some of the fun ways shown in the book will indeed just be about Google without any further relevance at all (another Pupkin grin here).

So what are some ideas I already have in mind? Here’s a selection – if you’re a frequent reader, you might know some of these:

My intent is to write a book that can be enjoyed both with and without a working internet connection. Some things will need you to get online. Others should be fun to browse through, discover, and maybe even learn from while sitting on your armchair. I already jotted down more than 55 ideas, but that has to compress and be categorized for the book. Plus, the current list doesn’t include all the things I have yet to discover – and all the things you tell me.


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