Tag Archives | Google Book Search

Unsettled: Judge Says Google Book Deal Would be Monopoly

It looks like Google’s attempt to bury the hatchet with authors and publishers in its bid to digitize a world’s worth of books may be in jeopardy after a New York federal judge on Tuesday rejected a $125 million settlement reached in October 2008.

Google promotes that settlement on its Google Books page as “with a broad class of authors and publishers to make the world’s books even more accessible online,” but Judge Denny Chin was having none of it. Chin said the deal would “arguably give Google control over the search market,” and that its terms went too far. Specifically: That the settlement would give Google a “de facto monopoly” on digitized content.

You may have heard that Google wants to scan and convert to text every book in the known universe. You may have heard that notion sold by politicians like John Conyers as possibly “the greatest innovation in book publishing since the Gutenberg press.” You may also have heard it called “a disaster for scholars,” or as UC Berkeley language professor and longtime NPR contributor Geoffrey Nunberg puts it, “a mishmash wrapped in a muddle wrapped in a mess.”

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Google Books’ Great Leap Forward

The New York Times has a good piece on the settlement between Google and book publishers which will allow Google to provide full access to a far higher percentage of the vast quantity of books it’s been scanning for its Google Book Search project. I can’t wait–even though plans are for full-blown access to full text to be a paid service rather than an ad-supported freebie…

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Google’s Infinite, Infinitely Imperfect Newsstand

newyorkmagWho says magazines are dead? Sure, ones printed on wood pulp are writhing in agony at the moment. But there are a couple of centuries’ worth of back issues that still make for fascinating–and sometimes important–reading. And among Google’s umpteen major initiatives is getting as many of them as possible online in searchable form. Today, the company announced that it’s working with a bunch of publishers to put more magazines online as part of Google Book Search, including biggies such as Ebony, New York, Popular Mechanics, and Popular Science. (The new additions join magazines that are already in Book Search, such as Computerworld.) [UPDATE: In the comments, my friend Andrew Leal points out that the Computerworld archive isn’t part of Google Book Search–it’s part of Google News Archive, a separate service. That explains some but not all of my confusion below…]

It’s a fabulous idea, and as someone who isn’t ashamed to admit he’s a magazine junkie, I’m very excited by it. But I’m also very frustrated by the interface in its current state.

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