Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Google Suit and the Long Tail

It's in the news again, the author's guild is suing Google for scanning books as part of the Google Print project.

There are several anecdotes floating around, like the fact that Google needs to scan a full book to make search itself more accurate, and that it's goal is to have nearly all of the Earth's information digitized and searchable at some point in the future. I've heard stories about authors and editors of hundreds of books being told they have to fill out a form for each book they don't want scanned, which is certainly a cumbersome and difficult job.

But why aren't authors embracing the idea of having their books digitized, and simply ask that Google make the search information available to other companies? Or what about requiring Google to present the digitized version to the copyright holder to do with as they see fit?

I still believe that the author's will eventually benefit from this project thanks to a possible print-on-demand system. This is the long tail in progress, and as John Cass pointed out, it may be something that Amazon should get involved with.

But I also understand that Google's basic mantra in all this is basically "trust is, we promise to do no evil," and I'd like to believe that. But I also can't help noticing that when you type "Chuck Tanowitz" into the search engine my blog and other older items come up ahead of my Typepad blog, and the other blog as much more information. I'm sure Google has a reason for this, but it makes me wonder.

So my point is, you may not trust Google, but rather than stopping them authors should find a way for the company to share its work. Isn't that what the Web is all about anyway?

No comments: