Google continues to make progress on its digital books project as plans to scan 250,000 items from the British Library are worked out. The books will cover the years from 1700 through the 1860’s. Interestingly, Google earns nothing directly from the downloads, however, they claim their search results are enhanced by the inclusion of previously unpublished materials.
The drive to access media more conveniently has culminated recently in the appearance of the free Amazon Cloud system, among others, designed for a one-stop music experience. This article on ZDNET discusses the various legal issues arising between the music industry and technology companies, as well as linking to other discussions about clouds. Google launched its Music Beta which allows users to upload material they own. One cannot upload or purchase music yet on Music Beta. Stay tuned to see how this shakes out!
A NY judge decided yesterday that the $125 million dollar deal between Google and the book industry smacked of anti-trust problems, despite the appeal of making so many works available to the public. Google has prepared 15 million(!) books for this project. He also expressed concern about Google’s ability to use books without consent of many authors. This promises to be an ongoing discussion as the authors, booksellers, and Internet community attempt to compromise.
Armchair travelers will love Google’s new site where you can go to 17 museums around the world, click on artwork, and zoom in or out to get close-ups of brushstrokes, etc. The reviewer of this NYT article says the web site is still a work in progress, with glitches and not-so-good representations in some cases, but is mesmerizing. She says she never noticed before the small group of women “skinny-dipping” in the background of Bruegel’s “Harvesters.”
Siva Vaidhyanathan is coming out soon with a book examining the tremendous impact Google has had on our lives, not only on our information needs. The Googlization of Everything: And Why We Should Worry discusses how Google influences our thinking and how the company may be using the public for its own purposes. After all, it is a company.
Before the riots at Kent State the information service answered students’ queries via telephone on a wide range of topics. Guess what? They still do today in the Internet Age. Heard on NPR. (Shira S., RA)