O’Reilly news

Google Apps Hacks--New from O'Reilly: Lofty New Ways to Create, Organize, and Share in the Cloud

April 16, 2008

When Google lifted traditional office applications into its "cloud" of fast network connections, powerful servers, and seemingly limitless storage, it changed the way many of us create, organize, and share information--and even write books.

In fact, a timely new title from O'Reilly, Google Apps Hacks: Tips & Hacks for Unlocking the Power of Google Applications (O'Reilly, $29.99) was drafted and edited in the cloud. With an ocean and several time zones separating German author Philipp Lenssen and his O'Reilly editor, they turned to the Google apps suite to write and revise this highly anticipated new book.

"My editor, Brian Jepson, and I wrote it using the Google Docs document editor," explains Lenssen, who runs Google Blogoscoped, a daily news source covering all things Google. "This editor allows sharing, so when I finished a page in draft mode, I would invite Brian to the document. When Brian finished the changes, it was my turn again to use the Google document editor revision tool to highlight changes. All in all this process was great fun."

Even better, "We didn't need to send around any attachments, and there were no questions like 'Do you have the latest version of Word installed?' As long as the other party has a recent browser, like Firefox or Internet Explorer, the online 'operating system' can start-up," adds Lenssen.

The resulting new resource illuminates Lenssen's ingenious methods to push Google Apps to the limit. His up-to-the-minute collection of hacks and workarounds offers you Google's web-based office applications for email, calendars, spreadsheets, word processing, and presentations, as well as its desktop applications, including Google Earth and SketchUp, the 3D drawing tool.

Clearly illustrated and easy-to-understand, Lenssen's new book shows you how to create and share all kinds of documents with these applications, along with interesting ways to mash them up--like embedding web pages into Google Calendar, putting Picasa photos on a map, and more. You'll get much more than the obvious out of Google Apps, including:

  • Google Documents: Share and edit documents via the Web
  • Google Spreadsheets: Add real-time data to spreadsheets; generate charts and tables for 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 more
  • iGoogle: Create your own gadgets, program a screenscraper, and add Flash games
  • Google Calendar: Add web content events, public calendars, and your Outlook Calendar
  • Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google SketchUp: Tinker with Google's desktop apps
  • Picasa, YouTube, and Google Video: Customize the media management apps
  • Page Creator, Blogger, and Google Analytics: Create simple websites with nothing but Google tools

"The hacks in Google Apps Hacks are categorized into three difficulty levels: easy, intermediate, and expert. People not familiar with programming can skip all programming-related hacks, for instance. On the other hand, people already familiar with how to use Google apps can skip the introduction to each of the 12 chapters," adds Lenssen. "I hope the book will be helpful to anyone trying to get more out of Google than just search."

For a review copy or more information please email peyton@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Philipp Lenssen is a web developer, blogger and author from Germany. Since 2003, Philipp has run Google Blogoscoped (blogoscoped.com), a daily news source started in Malaysia to cover all things Google, from Gmail, Orkut and web search to Google Docs, usability issues, YouTube and everything in between.

Additional Resources:
For more information about this book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see the catalog page for Google Apps Hacks

Google Apps Hacks
Philipp Lenssen
ISBN: 9780596515881, 374 pages, $29.99 USD, £18.50 GBP

About O’Reilly

O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

Email a link to this press release