Other Google Services
Browse Froogle's Hidden Directory
Froogle (http://froogle.google.com) is a great place to find deals on just about anything you want to buy online. Type in a product name or type of product, and you'll find links to the products for sale, allowing you to compare prices and features. But Froogle has one problem compared to other price-comparison sites such as PriceGrabber (www.pricegrabber.com) or NextTag (www.nextag.com). It apparently doesn't have a directory, so you can't browse for products—you can only search using the usual bare-bones Google search.
In fact, though, there is a hidden Froogle directory you can browse. Get to it at http://froogle.google.com/froogle/?cat=0, pictured in the nearby screen.
The directory works like any Web directory. Click to categories and subcategories to find the products you want. What makes the directory particularly useful is that when you browse through it, you can do highly targeted searches. When you're at a category or subcategory and you do a search, you're searching only within that category or subcategory, instead of all of Froogle, making it easier to find your desired product quickly.
Turn Your Google Homepage into an RSS Reader
Google's new Personalized Home page is a departure from the classic, bare-bones Google screen. Similar to Yahoo!'s My Yahoo feature, it includes customized news, stocks, weather, and other information. But its best feature may be its ability to become a simple-to-use RSS reader so that you can keep up with your favorite blogs and other RSS feeds.
If you haven't yet created your Google Personalized Home page, go to Google and click "Personalized Home" at the top of the page. If you have a Google account, you'll have to sign in. If you haven't yet created a Google account, you'll be prompted to do so.
Once you create your account, go to www.google.com. It won't be the usual bare-bones screen. There will be a variety of news and content there. To add new sources of content, click "Add Content" and click the category and type of content you want to add, for example, news from the New York Times or Movies information. But the amount of content you can add like this is relatively limited compared with all the information available on the Web. The real power of the page is in its ability to display RSS feeds.
To add an RSS feed, click "Add Content" and then "Create a Section." If you know the URL of the feed, type it into the box and click Go. The feed will now automatically be added to your Personalized Home page. Under the feed will be the headlines of posts; click on any head to see the full article in the Web site where it originated.
It's easy to rearrange feeds on your page; you can drag the entire feed to any location on the page by moving your mouse to the right of its name until a four-headed arrow appears, then dragging it to where you want it to be. To change the number of headlines that appear on your page from the feed, click "edit" next to the name of the feed and select the number of headlines you want displayed (you can choose between one and nine).
What if you don't know the URL of the feed, or you want to search for feeds? Click "Create a Section" and then type in the term that describes a feed you're interested in. A list of feeds appears, as shown in the nearby figure. Select a feed and click "Add," and the feed will be added to your page.
Search Through and View TV Shows with Google Video
As we were preparing this story, Google was testing yet one more amazing search tool: a way to search through and then view TV shows, including news, entertainment, and more, for free. The search includes not only national networks, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN, but also local programming and shows from around the world.
At press time, no link could be found to the service from Google, so you may not be able to get there unless you know the URL for it. By the time you read this, the URL may have been added to the list of Google's visible services, but if not, here's the secret URL: http://video.google.com.
When you type in a search term, Google Video searches through closed-caption transcripts of TV shows, then displays a list of shows that contains the term in the transcripts. Click the show for more details, including the date and time it was broadcast. In some instances, you'll only be able to see stills of the show and a transcript. In other cases, you'll view the video when you click it.
There are several ways to fine-tune your video search. You can, for example, search only through a particular network, by typing "channel" in front of your search, then the channel you want to search, and then your search term, like this:
(For a list of channels you can search, go to this Web page: http://video.google.com/video_about.html#channels)
You can also search only through a specific show, by typing "title" in front of your search, then the title of the show, and then your search term, like this:
Title: Nightline Iraq
If you want to make sure to also search through local news, you'll have to tell Google Video where you live. To do that, click Preferences, then type your zip code in the Location box and click Save Preferences.