DOJ Increases Scrutiny Of Google Book Settlement

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has sent formal requests ("civil investigative demands") to book publishers and Google regarding particulars of their book search settlement deal. That settlement has drawn considerable criticism from various third parties. The article characterized the requests as an "escalation" of the DOJ's probe: A New York publishing executive said the Justice Department is requesting documents about pricing, digital strategy and conversations with other publishers related to the Google settlement. "The Justice Department is clearly [...]

Google Positions As Amazon Competitor For EBook Market

Google has over the past few years promised the market new revenue streams beyond search. While there are a couple of areas with significant potential (e.g., display), not much revenue has been generated comparatively to date. Now Google is saying that it will be a real competitor to Amazon in the ebook market. According to the NY Times: In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. [...]

Reports: US Dept. Of Justice Looking At Antitrust Issues Over Google Books Lawsuit

After skirting one antitrust action involving a proposed ad deal with Yahoo, Google may be facing a new one -- this over the proposed settlement of the lawsuit involving Google Book Search. Both the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal are reporting that the US Department of Justice is examining the terms of the settlement, to see if it would give Google too much power over digitizing books. Earlier today, the presiding judge in the case granted a four month extension on the deadline for authors and other involved parties to opt-out of the proposed settlement. In the weeks sin [...]

Google Book Search Settlement Delayed

Publishers Weekly is reporting that a judge has granted a four-month extension on the deadline for affected parties to object to or opt out of the proposed Google Book Search settlement. (You can read Judge Denny Chin's ruling on Scribd.) Last week, a group of authors asked the presiding judge for four additional months to review the settlement details. The authors didn't express objections to the settlement; they only argued that it deserves a longer review period. The $125 million settlement previously included a May 5 deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement and other parties to [...]

Growing Opposition To Google Book Search Settlement

The settlement that ended the litigation against Google's book scanning/search project must still be approved by the courts, although tentative approval has already been given. Among other aspects of the settlement, Google is to pay $125 million to fund a "Book Rights Registry" that will help resolve claims by authors and publishers and cover legal fees. But now, as the time for final court approval nears, a range of objections are coming out. One such objection is coming from a group based at NYU law school, an effort partly funded by Microsoft. There have accordingly been some questions a [...]

Microsoft Funds Opposition To Google Book Settlement

Microsoft is contributing $50,000 to help challenge the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement that was announced last October. According to reports in MediaPost and, the Microsoft money will help New York Law School with four projects -- including a friend-of-the-court brief asking that the settlement be delayed until federal antitrust officials can give opinions on the matter. Microsoft attorney Tom Rubin told Wired that the company's contribution is no different from previous academic grants Microsoft has made before: "We are funding this like we fund dozens of law projects [...]

Sony & Google Team Up In Digital Book Space

Sony, Google Challenge Amazo from the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is providing more than half-a-million public domain books to Sony, to offer on Sony's digital book reader. Google Book Search has digitized millions of books and the partnership gives Sony users free access to these 500,000 public domain books in the Sony eBook store. Steve Haber, Sony Electronics' president told the WSJ, "We believe the more content that is allowed access to the device, the better value it is to our customers." This may give Sony a bit of a competitive edge against Amazon's popular book reade [...]

Google Books Search Goes Mobile

The Google Books Blog announced they have now created a mobile version of Google Books. If you have an iPhone or Android phone just navigate your mobile browser to to start using Google Book search on your mobile device. There are many differences between the mobile version and the regular version. The most obvious is the look and feel, but the biggest technological difference, as Google explains, is the use of OCR technology. Google Book Search typically shows scans of the page, but if you view the book on a mobile device, they will try to extract the text usin [...]

Google Ends Google Video Uploads, Shutters Notebook, Catalog Search, Dodgeball & Jaiku

Google's announced they're closing or ceasing development of a variety of products as part of an already continuing move to keep efforts focused on other products with greater usage. These include an end to video uploads to Google Video, closure of Google Catalog Search, Google Notebook, Dodgeball, the microblogging service Jaiku and the Google Mashup Editor. Google's written officially about the closures and changes in these posts: Turning Down Uploads at Google Video Farewell, Google Catalog Search Stopping development on Google Notebook Changes for Jaiku and Farewell [...]

Will Google Book Search Help Or Hurt Libraries And Book Sales?

The NY Times runs a longish article about Google Book Search, its outlook and some fears surrounding its further development. Book Search was freed from legal entanglements when Google settled a class action suit against it. That opened the door for a range of new services and the expanded scanning of out-of-print and copyrighted material. According to the NY Times' article: Revenue will be generated through advertising sales on pages where previews of scanned books appear, through subscriptions by libraries and others to a database of all the scanned books in Google’s collection, and t [...]

Google Book Search Puts Magazines Online

First Google digitized books, then newspapers, then historic Time-Life photos and now -- magazines. Today through Google Book Search, people can search the full-text of millions of articles from more than 10 magazine with hundreds more to come, the company has announced. Eventually, content from the magazines will be available to those doing Google News Archive searches or show up in "regular" Google searches via Universal Search. For now, however, the content lives only within Google Book Search. How do you access the magazines? Ideally, Google wants you to find them in response [...]

Google Settles Book Search Copyright Lawsuit For $125 Million, Paves Way For Novel Services

Google has settled the class action litigation entitled The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc., which alleged that Google Book Search, including the company's practice of scanning books to distribute them online, violated the copyrights of publishers and authors. Subject to final court approval, the settlement calls for Google to pay $125 million to litigants and clears the way for Google to continue scanning books. It also establishes some novel services and distribution mechanisms for the future. The plaintiffs suing Google included The Authors Guild (and individual authors) and [...]

Google Book Search Lawsuit To Be Settled? Plus, University Partners Launch HathiTrust Archive

Via Resource Shelf, we learn of a report in Library Journal that says Google is close to settling a three-year-old lawsuit with publishers surrounding Google Book Search. Meanwhile, some of Google's university partners have banded together to launch their own book search service, Hathi Trust. In the legal case, five publishers sued to stop Google from scanning the entire content of books that are still under copyright protection. Google has said that only a small portion of the scanned books are made available through Google Book Search, so the program constitutes "fair use." They also say [...]

Google Announces Google Book Search APIs

The Google Book Search Blog announced the new developer site for the Google Book Search APIs. The API allows developers to add Google Book Search features to their web site. For example, you can now embed book previews, when available, to books listed on your site. For example, if you are on Books A Billion and find a book named Google Advertising Tools but you're not clear on if you should buy it, just click on the Google Preview icon and up comes a preview of the book. With this API, anyone can: Embed book previews on your siteAdd book search results to your siteLocate book information [...]

Google Decides Books Have Consumer Intent, Puts Them Into Product Search

While Microsoft closed its book search service to focus on search with "high consumer intent," Google's gone the opposite way and expanded its book search service in one of the most consumer-driven search verticals, product search. Google Operating System reports that Google has integrated Google Book Search directly into Google Product Search. That means, when you search for a book in Google Product Search, you might find a link to "Preview this book on Google Book Search" and also "Related Books" in a tab below. Here is a screen shot of Google Product Search showing the "Preview this boo [...]

More Fingers Spotted In Google Book Search

Google Books Adds Hand Scans from TechCrunch reports finding more scans of fingers in Google Book Search. This time the fingers were spotted in a copy of the 1855 edition of "The Gentleman's Magazine" on this page. This is not the first time we have seen fingers in Google Book Search. Philipp Lenssen reported a similar situation in June 2006. It doesn't just happen in Google Book Search. A giant bug was also found in Google Maps in the past. The bug turned out to be a regular sized one caught when map images were scanned. [...]

More Google Book Scanning Controversy

The Google Book Scanning project has been controversial from the start. There are a number of competitive efforts, including from Microsoft and the Yahoo-supported Open Content Alliance, which appear to replicate the competition among these companies in other areas online. Now Ars Technica explores a new phase of the debate sparked when the University of Michigan's head librarian, Paul Courant, defended his school's relationship with Google and participation in its program. Here's our previous post on the politics of book search. [...]

The Politics of Book Search: Some Research Libraries Decline to Offer Books to Microsoft, Google

An article in the New York Times today explores the "book search" initiatives at Google and Microsoft and the resistance of some research libraries to participating. The reason cited is that both search providers are asking for exclusivity: "Libraries that agree to work with Google must agree to a set of terms, which include making the material unavailable to other commercial search services." Many research institutions are opting instead to join the Open Content Alliance, which promises public access to the content and information without any restrictions. Yahoo and Microsoft are members of [...]

Google Book Search Improved(?)

According to the Google blog "Inside Google Book Search", some changes have been made recently to Google Book Search, so I took this as my cue to go and visit to check these out. To say that I was disappointed is to put it mildly, and if you don't have time to read my entire posting I'll summarize by stating that it's another example of Google taking a great idea and working on it half-heartedly and trying to make developments without solving the basic problems. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves - we should start with the 'developments'. According to the blog entry, they have added n [...]

Google Book Search Adds My Library, Popular Passages, Embedded Quotes & More

Google announced several new features for Google Book Search. They include: A new "My library" section that allows you to add books and annotations to your personal "library." Of course, Google allows you to search your library as well You can share your library by adding labels, writing reviews, rating books, and available RSS feeds Explore Popular passages of your favorite books Select, clip and post text with a cool embed feature Additional search refinement options Here is an overview on my sample library page: As you can see, on the left side you can import or export your library. [...]

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