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Learn Google

Learn Google

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Published by Himanshu
Know About Google Inc.
Know About Google Inc.

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Published by: Himanshu on Oct 24, 2008
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Avid catalog shoppers will find Google Catalogs a boon. No more

catalog clutter around the house. You can toss out your old catalogs

and spend lazy afternoons shopping until your vision blurs and your

head hits the monitor. Google Catalogs has something for every-

one, including the person who has it all. There are enough catalogs

in the Google Catalogs database to keep any well-respected shop-

per busy for the foreseeable future.

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Google Catalogs is a directory of over 5,000 catalogs selling just

about everything conceivable that is legal to sell. Most well-known

catalog vendors are part of the database, including Neiman Marcus,

L.L. Bean, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Frederick’s of Hollywood.

Google Catalogs home page:

http://catalogs.google.com (Bookmark it!)

User FAQ:

http://catalogs.google.com/googlecatalogs/help.html

Google Catalogs vendor FAQ:

http://catalogs.google.com/googlecatalogs/catalog_vendors.html

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Figure 2.7: Google Catalogs

Left-clicking on any category displayed on the Google Catalogs

home page will display a list of 28 catalogs in that category.

Let’s check out a catalog. How about L.L. Bean? Under Apparel &

Accessories (see left side of Figure 2.7), left-click on L.L. Bean.

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Figure 2.8: Sports & Outdoors catalogs

Figure 2.9: L.L. Bean catalog

When perusing the catalogs, notice the tools and vendor contact

information at the top and bottom of the page. Figure 2.10 illus-

trates the information Google provides at the top of a vendor’s

page. You are provided both the telephone number and the web site

of the catalog vendor. From either contact, you can place your order.

From the vendor’s catalog page, you can view a larger image by

left-clicking on the page of interest.

The toolbar

at the top and bottom of the catalog’s

page has several items of interest. You can go to the previous page

or the next page . You can magnify or reduce the

image size. You can also modify how the catalog’s pages are format-

ted and displayed. A left-click on any of the page formatting buttons

will change the number of pages displayed per browser window. A

left-click on will display a single page, while left-clicking on

will display two pages, and left-clicking on will display four

pages.

In addition to the toolbar tools, you can jump directly to any page of

interest by left-clicking on the Jump to page box and

entering a page number. Enter only a numeric value

(1, 2, 3, 4…), then left-click on the Go button.

If you want to search the catalog you are currently viewing,

left-click in the This Catalog search box, and key in your search

word(s). Left-click on the Search button

and you are taken to a search results page,

if the item you searched on exists within

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Figure 2.10: Vendor contact info

that catalog. If it does not, you are presented with a “did not match

any pages” message. Return to the previous catalog page by left-

clicking on the browser’s Back button. Here is a keyboard shortcut

that works wherever you are, in any Internet Explorer window —

press the Backspace key to return to the previous browser window.

Google scans the actual catalogs from catalog vendors, and then

uses word recognition technology to return search results from the

catalog database. The Google Catalogs search technology seems to

have the same shortcoming that Froogle has — namely that it can-

not distinguish between the primary item and accessories. Using

the same term (“computer”) used to illustrate Froogle’s search

technology returns both computers and computer accessories

mixed in the results. This can be especially frustrating if you are

looking for computers and have to shift through innumerable ancil-

lary and/or accessorized items without finding the specific items

that you are looking for. But do not give up yet! Google Catalogs

has an advanced search page (see Figure 2.11), where you can mod-

ify your search query and narrow the field. However, the advanced

features did not seem to be working at the time of publication. Let’s

illustrate with an example.

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Figure 2.11: Google Catalogs Advanced Search

A search on the word “computer” returns page 1369 from Tessco

Technologies’ catalog as the first search result, as shown in Figure

2.12. Left-click on the image shown at the right in the figure.

Tessco Technologies offers for sale on page 1369 a Notepad IV

Universal Computer Mount. (See Figure 2.13.)

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Figure 2.12: Google Catalogs Advanced Search

Figure 2.13: Google Catalogs Advanced Search

A Notepad IV Universal Computer Mount is a computer accessory.

I want to find real Dell, Compaq, and HP computers — you know,

the things with circuit boards, microprocessors, power supplies,

etc., not notepad mounts. If I wanted to find notepad mounts, I

would have searched on “notepad mounts.” I want to search again

and see if I can eliminate this page from the search results.

Note that page 1369 includes the word “Universal Computer

Mount.” So, being the clever individual I am, I go back to the

Google Catalogs Advanced Search page and I enter the phrase

“Universal Computer Mount” in the Without the words text field

and hit Search again. See Figure 2.14.

My new search results should not include Tessco Technologies’

page 1369 at all.

If the Google Catalogs search technology is mature and doing what

search technology should be doing — namely what the owner says

it should be doing — I will get back as the first search result a cata-

log page other than Tessco Technologies’ page 1369.

Guess what? I get back a page that says “Your search — computer

–Universal –Computer –Mount — did not match any documents!”

Amazing!

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Figure 2.14: Google Catalogs Advanced Search

Well, one example does not a search engine make, so I tried five

other examples and achieved varied results. But none of the results

I achieved were the results expected.

You give it a go. Search on a favorite item, such as auto, travel,

hotel, health, Red Cardinal, etc., from the Top 10 list (see Chapter

1). Try to narrow the field of search returns by selecting keywords

that would eliminate a specific page. For example, if you search on

“auto” in Google Catalogs you will get a lot of auto parts stores in

the search returns. So, key in “parts” in the Without the words

box on the Advanced Search page and see what you get. Interest-

ing, eh? I did this and I got the Tessco Technologies page again.

Google does state Google Catalogs is a beta version at this time. I

imagine these types of issues will be addressed. When Google Cat-

alogs search works the way it should, it will be a boon to shoppers.

Vendors can add their catalog (free!) to the database by adding

Google to their subscriber list. If you are interested in this opportu-

nity, view the Google Catalogs vendor FAQ (given earlier in this

section) for the address.

Chapter 2 / Google Services

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Figure 2.15: Google Catalogs Advanced Search

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