Blog Archive

14 June 2006

Review: 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

Following my previous post, I’m pleased to say that my copy of 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google finally arrived on Monday. Here are a few comments on the whole experience...

Placing the order

I ordered my copy from and paid a whopping £9.01 for the ‘International Express’ shipping option in order to receive it within 4-8 business days. For some reason, that option had increased to £12.49 when I checked their website yesterday! And since the book only costs £9.20, I think that’s a little high. (My copy actually came from Spain.)

I noticed that other authors selling self-published books through Lulu opted to make them available for download. With international shipping costs being so high, that would seem like a more sensible approach if they plan to sell lots of copies to people outside the United States – especially since royalties aren’t received from the shipping costs. Having said that, I would much rather read from a physical book in my hands than an e-Book on my screen, so I probably would have opted for the printed version anyway – I just wish the shipping charges were lower!

Checking the quality

The print quality and appearance of the book is pretty good – much the same as most mass-produced books for this price. However, I did notice one small oddity whilst reading the book; the pages seemed to be narrower at the spine of the book than they did at the edge. I wasn’t sure whether this was just an optical illusion or not so I actually measured the book. To my surprise, the book was indeed a whole 2mm narrower at the spine! This is a bit odd, but obviously no big deal. To be honest, most ‘normal’ people wouldn’t even notice this (and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t measure the book to check). You probably even get this on shop bought books, but I don’t actually read that much so I wouldn’t know.

Reading the book... finally!

I love books that just contain lists of fun facts and seemingly useless information; you can pick them up, read a bit and put them down again a few minutes later. 55 Ways is definitely one of those books. Having said that, I read the entire book from cover to cover in around four to five hours over two sessions. But I was reading pretty fast so that I could (i) give my feedback on the book as soon as possible and (ii) see how many times my name was mentioned!

The variation in style of each chapter was quite refreshing. Some chapters are quite short, others consist of just pictures, there are a couple of quizzes, short stories, a few games you can play with Google, plenty of interesting facts and many other things you can do with Google.

Having been an avid reader of Google Blogoscoped (and other Google-related blogs) for over 18 months, I was already aware of many of the “55 ways to have fun” listed in the book. However, despite being the ‘Google expert’ in Chapter 8 and getting only two questions wrong in Chapter 26, even I had learnt a few things by the time I’d finished reading!

In conclusion, I think that 55 Ways is an excellent book for anyone who has an interest in Google or just wants to know what else you can do with the most popular search engine in the world. This isn’t a complicated reference guide on how to use Google as a tool – it’s an entertaining book on how to use Google as a toy!

Update: 22 June 2006 (20:21)

“The full PDF of my book, 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google, is now available on As the book is Creative Commons licensed, you are encouraged to copy, read, share, remix, convert, quote, browse, and print the PDF to your liking.”

Philipp Lenssen, Author

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11 June 2006

Google LH2?

And I’ve found another one to add to my list of Google Account Service Names...


Google LH2

When I tried to login to this service, I was redirected to the same URL as the ‘NewAccount’ link above – i.e.

Having investigated further, the NewAccount link actually contains a META refresh (and JavaScript redirect just for good measure) to, which redirects to the ServiceLogin page and then to the invitationRequired URL, eventually showing a common Not Found error.


So, we can guess that LH2 requires an invitation of sorts. Apart from that, I know nothing else about it. Does anyone have any ideas?

Update: 14 June 2006 (9:24)

As it turns out, ‘LH2’ was nothing to do with Liquid Hydrogen rockets being sent to the moon! Instead, it was the code name for Picasa Web Albums.

Trying the ServiceLogin link now takes you to the Picasa Web Albums login screen whilst the NewAccount link now redirects to (The Login link, however, still displays a login for the ‘LH2’ service.)


10 June 2006

Google RS2, SSD and Mobile Download Console

Right then folks, this is going to have to be a quick post because it's a beautiful sunny day here so I'll be soon playing golf, watching the England match and having a BBQ...

After stumbling across M Scrapbook (aka Google Weaver) a few days ago, I stepped up my search for new Google services and found the following:


Google RS2

When trying to login, the page simply displays the usual ‘The page you requested is invalid.’ message.



When I tried to login to this service, I was redirected to the Google Accounts summary screen.


Mobile Download Console

The first time I tried to login to this service, I was redirected to a page displaying the following:

Oops... We didn't understand that. You have tried to access a non-existent page.

(However, attempting to login now just takes me to the Google Accounts summary screen.)

The Google Downloadable Console Home link in the footer links to but clicking it takes you back to which shows the same error message as above.


So, what could all these services be? I'll leave it up to you to speculate as I'm off to play golf...

Update: 30 September 2006 (16:42)
Around 28 September 2006, references to “Mobile Download Console” changed to “Mobile Content Console” in all the Google Accounts, login and new account pages.


7 June 2006

What is Google Weaver?

Remember how I posted about Google Account service names a couple of weeks back? Well, after doing a bit more digging around I’ve found another Google service that doesn’t appear to be discussed anywhere. Its ‘code name’ is weaver and the actual name shown on the login screen is M Scrapbook.

Sign in to M Scrapbook with your Google Account

Here are the usual links:

So, what is Google Weaver or M Scrapbook? Perhaps it was the working title for Google Notebook. Maybe it’s just something that Googlers use internally. Or could it be a totally new service?

Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?

Update: 24 June 2006 (15:51)

The service name has now changed from M Scrapbook to Weaver – see this screenshot:

Sign in to Weaver with your Google Account

Does this mean Google don’t want people to know about M Scrapbook? Does this mean we’re closer to a release? Does this mean anything at all?


6 June 2006

Another Google Exclusive...?

Some people have realised that Google subdomains aren’t always being created for new services anymore. Google Notebook and Google Co-op didn’t have them when they were released recently. (Neither did Google Trends at first; that one’s been added since.) But when news started to break about the new Google Spreadsheets service, Philipp Lenssen immediately “did the first thing that came to mind and entered” and found it resolved!

Anyway, before people start searching for more subdomains, I figured I should break my silence and make this exclusive announcement...

Google have finally agreed to partner with me to create my own personal service. It’s still in the early test stage at the moment, but it will be hosted here during its ‘Limited Test’ phase:

From what my sources tell me, they might also be actually working on the following services too:

(Of course, all those domains simply take you to the Google home page for now, just as most new Google services do before they’re released...)

Anyway, that’s all I can say right now. And I’ve probably said too much already...


[Hat tip to Google Blogoscoped for the new subdomain hint...]


1 June 2006

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

In November last year, Google Blogoscoped’s Philipp Lenssen announced that he would be writing a book titled “55 Ways To Have Fun With Google” about... well... fifty-five ways to have fun with Google.

Philipp interviewed me a few days later as he needed a “Google expert” – and those are his words, not mine – for one of the chapters in the book, firing question after question about Google’s services at me which I had to answer spontaneously.

Anyway, 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google has finally been released via Lulu – which is apparently ‘the only place on the web where you can publish, sell and buy any and all things digital’ – and I’ve just ordered my copy. (I’ve even finally registered an account on Digg and dugg it to try and get it a bit more exposure.)

I know Philipp’s worked hard on this book, so congratulations to him on finally getting it finished and let’s hope it sells well!

[Via Google Blogoscoped, of course...]

Update: 22 June 2006 (20:14)

“The full PDF of [...] 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google is now available on As the book is Creative Commons licensed, you are encouraged to copy, read, share, remix, convert, quote, browse, and print the PDF to your liking.”

Philipp Lenssen, Author

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