Saturday, November 19, 2005

Latest Google News

Since the middle of October, I've done half a dozen columns on Google and their Google Print initiatives. Despite the fact that I was reading everything I could find on the subject, it took several weeks before I fully understood that Google Print (GP) and Google Print Library (GP/L) were two different initiatives with two different protocols. When it finally dawned on me, I wrote a letter to Google management, suggesting that they needed to separate out their brands because they were causing unnecessary problems with the names.

Apparently, mine wasn't the first suggestion along these lines because, on 11/17, Google announced a name change for Google Print. It will now be called Google Book Search.

Google's blog had this to say about the name change: "We think a more descriptive name will help clarify what our users can do with it; namely search the full text of books to find ones that interest them and learn where to buy or borrow them."

I couldn't agree more.

For newbies to this blog, Google Book Search is a program in which ALL the books being searched have prior approval from the publishers. There are NO copyright issues involved. Google Book Search (similar to Amazon's Search Inside) has publisher approval to show the page on which the search term appears and two pages on either side of the term (for a total of five pages). It is my understanding that a single user may do no more than three searches of the same book in the same month.

While we're on the subject of Google, might as well mention the new service they announced on Tuesday (11/15). According to Google's blog, "Google Base enables content owners to easily make their information searchable online. Anyone, from large companies to website owners and individuals, can use it to submit their content in the form of data items. We'll [Google] host the items and make them searchable for free."

USA Today said, "normally, it takes Web 'crawlers' days or weeks to scour the Web and feed Google's main search engine with updated information. This tool will make locating anything that's been uploaded nearly instantaneous, provided it finds users willing to provide the information. Submitters will also be able to describe what they uploaded with keywords--making searches and filters more reliable."

The New York Times said, "Google is poised to enter the highly competitive classified advertisement business, posing a threat to online and traditional businesses in that field. . . Currently Google displays the results of queries as a simple list, ranked by relevance. Google Base would allow searchers to pull up information organized by any subject. Google, however, has not said how it will display information organized into groupings, like homes, cars or jobs. Initially, the service will be free.

Google's website gives its mission as: "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Google Base may go a long way to achieving the company's goals.

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