Yahoo! to the Max, by Randolph Hock, ISBN 0-910965-69-2

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, August 2005
Published by: CyberAge Books, an imprint of Information Today, Inc.
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$24.95

Did you know that there are people who have never resorted to anything online other than Yahoo!? Did you know that Yahoo! is far more than merely a rival search engine competing with Google? Did you know that Yahoo! has been just as robust and powerful as Google for many years? Did you know that many types of online searches using Yahoo! are more accurate than identical searches on Google? And did you know that the so-called My Yahoo! portal is the start page or home page for tens of millions of Internet users? So many questions, all of which might make you think that Yahoo! is far too complex to use easily. You'd be wrong. On the other hand, Yahoo! has been growing, maturing and evolving since its beginning in 1994. That means Yahoo! contains a lot of depth and a lot of powerful features and functions. A guidebook for all of this would be nice.

Randolph (Ran) Hock has been writing search engine guides for a few years now, since he came out with "The Extreme Searcher's Guide to Web Search Engines" in 1999. Hock is also the found of Online Strategies, a company which specializes in creating and delivering customized courses on Web research and presenting seminars & workshops which teach people how to use the Internet more efficiently and effectively. The guy's got some game therefore (and a reputation for accuracy), so when Yahoo! to the Max showed up for review, we assumed it was something more than just a Yahoo! fan book. We were right. Hock has dismantled Yahoo! in an orderly and consistent manner and presents each of the different sections of Yahoo! using descriptions, suggestions and usage examples.

For the uninitiated, Yahoo! is more than just a simple search engine to help you find stuff. In fact, using Yahoo! or My Yahoo! as your home page is about as close as you can come to getting a full featured online desktop. Yahoo! presents everything you need up front, at your fingertips, from personal and business e-mail, shopping and group discussion forums on thousands of topics, to news, information, auctions, finance and about a thousand other interests. Of course it's also an incredibly powerful search engine which indexes billions and billions of pages just like Google. Once again, with all the power inherent in Yahoo! sitting (apparently) right at your fingertips, you might think that a guidebook isn't necessary. But the greater the detail and power in any object or service, the more likely it is that simply poking around inside the thing might not teach you how to get the best out of it. That's the need filled by the book.

If you want to get the absolute best out of Yahoo! at all levels (customizing My Yahoo! is a fascinating process by the way—if you're new to this you'll definitely be surprised at what you can do), buy the book and read it from cover to cover. There's not a lot of wasted space in the book: the Foreword, Acknowledgments and Preface occupy a total of only 6 pages. Ran Hock gets to the subject at hand quite quickly in other words and that's great for readers who want to quickly get started with all of Yahoo!'s benefits. Although I recommend a complete cover to cover reading, the Table of Contents and the well-detailed Index can be effectively used to jump directly to subjects of interest.

Cons: The book could easily be twice the size in order to effectively cover in-depth descriptions and explanations of a number of Yahoo! features. I would have liked some additional details on a number of features preferably based on usage examples. Existing usage examples included by the author are just fine, but I want more.

Pros: Yahoo! to the Max is a comprehensive overview and guide to the Yahoo! web site, portal and My Yahoo! home page. If you've been thinking lately that Google is just not what it should be given all the hype surrounding it, Yahoo! represents an alternative that is equal to and occasionally superior to its rival. For many people, Yahoo!'s friendlier and more accessible interface is far more attractive than anything else out there. The book provides superb, section by section guidance to help everyone from casual users to serious researchers operate faster and more efficiently on the Internet and the World Wide Web. You'll also find out about several things you can do with Yahoo! that you can't do with Google. Ran Hock proves clearly that Yahoo! is not just an alternative search engine, but rather that it is a home page, desktop portal, custom environment and search engine that most people should seriously consider for all of their daily online needs and interests. Good book. Highly recommended.

Feedback? Letters to the Editor? Send them here!





© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Hot News Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe