Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Googles Alexandria

Griffith Observatory's Tesla Coil
Google's attempt to bring all the books of the world into one digitized search engine failed last week due to a ruling of one judge.  There's an entire story of the battle between Google and the authors guild but I wanted to explore more into the project itself.

Google would have taken every book, except those that authors opted out of, and made passages of those books searchable.  Does that mean the whole book is searchable?  Does that mean that you can bootleg any book?  It already happens, I know, and reading the whole book on your search engine would be ridiculous but it would be possible.

If your thinking no way, then tell me how Thomas Guide is doing against Google maps?  (Or do you know what the Thomas Guide is?  Well then I guess I've dated myself.)  Why do I need a Garmin if my phone can spit out step-by-step driving instructions via Google?  And what if people look for information on the internet and get half a passage thinking they "know it all".  A whole book was published about the subject you're researching.  There must have been a reason aside from it was before the internet.

I can see the appeal to recreating Alexandria so knowledge can be abound but I also know about how the greatest harm can come from the best intentions.  Now let's look at the other side.  I realize that you could potentially get an out-of-print obscure book to become popular and everyone enjoys  a phoenix from the ashes.  I also see a lot of authors opting out of the digitizing project.  I'm wondering, what kind of benefits or plunders do you think would happen?

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