Google Print Hacking Ideas

Wow :-) So there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Actually, there are 50 ways, some of them hilarious, but that’s not important right now.)

Suggestions so far include:

  • A special-purpose bookmarklet
  • Save As on the Page Info dialog in the Suite (which, it is claimed, does work with Background images, although it doesn’t for me in Mozilla 1.6)
  • DOM Inspector sidebar
  • CSS editor sidebar
  • Drag the entry in the Media tab to a new window (doesn’t seem to work in either Firefox 1.0PR1 or Mozilla 1.6 for me)
  • Image Zoom to shrink the covering clear GIF
  • Mouse Gestures to shrink the covering clear GIF
  • Print Screen (not so good, because it’s going to degrade image quality if you then re-compress as a JPEG)

But the winner is:

  • Copy and paste from Detail section of Media tab

There’s no indication that you can do this, but it does work. Select the entry and press Ctrl-C. It works in both Firefox and the Mozilla Suite without even changing the JavaScript settings. Congratulations to Irongut :-)

16 thoughts on “Google Print Hacking Ideas

  1. My son Hedley put me onto your web browser and I find it great. The way it treats graphics and download beats all the others I have tried so far.
    Keep it up and I will stay (and pay) with you.

    My only ‘bitch’ is that like all other software you think that everyone lives in the USA!

    And, OK, the URL I supplied is my winter home. (I can’t stand the UK winters) and we also rent it out, but that was not why I put it there!

  2. Interestingly enough, while you can copy the address of the image from the media tab using Ctrl+C, you can’t copy it using Ctrl+Insert (in Linux w/Firefox 20040927). Perhaps a bug? I’ve never run into anyone else that actually uses that combination, but it’s all I’ve ever used for copying – along with Shift+Delete for cut, and Shift+Insert for paste… and I use those shortcuts in nearly every program (in both Windows and Linux). I can also use those shortcuts elsewhere in Firefox, just not there.

  3. How about just adding the “clear.gif” file to the blacklist in AdBlock. With that out of the way, you can just right click and “Save Background As”. DONE!

  4. Blacklight: that might work, as long as the image being blocked didn’t shrink the <img> tag (and therefore the surrounding <div>.

  5. Gery: Good point. I think AdBlock’s default settings are to not “Collapse Blocked Elements” by default (that’s definitely how I like mine). It’s certainly a configurable value.

  6. Big deal.

    1. Mouse gesture (diagonal: north-west) over clear gif
    2. Right click, save background image


    1. Adblock image
    2. userContent.css plus uri-id extension (make .theimg have a fixed size so you can actually click it)


    1. View source
    2. Find: ‘.theimg’
    3. Copy background:url(…)


    1. Get the EditCSS extension
    2. Block the clear gif
    3. Edit CSS, give .theimg a width and height
    4. Right-click, Save Background As…

  7. I copied the image location from the URL in the media tab, pasted into the address bar and hey presto.

  8. This is the most basic system to crack that I have come across. Just add this very simple CSS to your userContent.css, or the Edit CSS sidebar that comes with Web Developer toolbar.

    img[src=”images/cleardot.gif”] { visibility: hidden; }

    Then just do View Background image and save. It couldn�t be simpler.

    Personally, I don’t like this Google Print protection system, it’s just pointless. The only feature that I have found that actually protects the copyright is that the user is limited to the number of pages that can be viewed, but I don�t think it will take long for someone to find a way around that. If you publish something on the internet like this, and someone wants it bad enough, there is nothing that can be done to prevent someone copying it. Google should be smart enough to realise that and just give up on all these ridiculous copyright features. They also reducce accessibility since there is no alt text for the pages, but that�s hardly surprising considering the awful state of the rest of their site.

  9. A publisher may not submit his/her FDL-licensed book into Google Print. Violates the license.

  10. Personally, I don’t like this Google Print protection system, it’s just pointless.

    Not at all. It stops 99.99% of people from saving book images to disk.

    phrostypoison: that’s not necessarily true, for several reasons. Firstly, the copyright owner can do anything they like with their book. Secondly, Google may have the ability to turn off the protection on a per-book basis. Thirdly, does this count as real DRM? I don’t think so – it’s security through obscurity. As I said in earlier posts, it’s a clue barrier.