Google Print is here
Good morning everyone, like me you will have undoubtedly noticed the numerous stories about Google print circulating the web recently. These have mostly surrounded the story of the writers guild suing Google over intellectual property rights. I must have personally read at least half a dozen of these stories in the news over the last month and then just now as I began to read another, I realised that I haven’t even tried out Google print- 3 guesses what I did next.
Now before you can get access to full scans of pages you need to register with Google and click on an activation link (which took about 2 seconds). Now at this point it is probably worth reminding you that books still covered by copyright are not present in their entirety, but the surrounding paragraph related to your search will still be shown. Whilst this is not perfect it is suited to lazy student writing essays the night before deadlines who need to get a few quotes ASAP.
But forget about copyright protected books, the real good stuff comes from doing an advanced search for really old books. Most of the old books (e.g. 100-200 years old) are out of copyright so you can read them all if you like, I’ve only had a quick play around and I’m impressed. I’ve found exerts from Faraday’s letters referring to Swansea, a 150 year old book about vampires in Africa, and numerous historical accounts on peoples attitudes towards Freemasonry and other secret societies: not bad for 10 minutes searching.
Whilst I am somewhat sympathetic towards authors who piss and moan about copyright after all, if I had written a book I’d be the same. However, they really need to appreciate that this is the way of the future and that people will still buy books because reading 50,000 words off a computer screen sucks.
Lets forget for a moment the thousands of angry authors worried about their livelihood and think about the rest of us. I can now access the New York public library, and libraries from the universities of Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and Michigan from my own home. In forthcoming months and years Google print will be a valuable tool for students everywhere, not to mention blogger’s like us, or in fact anyone with an interest in selecting books from a colossal catalogue from the comfort of their own home.
So what are you waiting for? Go and check it out! Be sure to let me know what you think about it!