Google is really really championing the cause to scan in all the worlds books so we can find excerpts from them, which will then allow us to do what exactly? Buy them from a reseller that has a deal with Google? Google are unclear about this. They’re also unclear as to whether they’ll give copies of all these digitized books to the vendors themselves so they can use them. What they really seem to be doing though is disregarding the wishes of those who own the rights to books and do what they want. Clever spindoctoring has the publishers looking like bad guys and Google with puppy dog eyes going “But all we wanted to do is help people find any information they wanted and the band publishing guys are stopping us. *pout*.”
I’d be for this more if they scanned them in with the permission of the publishers first, that when a search lands on a result there will be a link to buy the book from the publisher or a an option to get an electronic copy of the book.
Dave Winer has been one of the few geeks speaking out against Google Print but he makes some very good points.
“The world would be a much worse place if the card catalog in a library only contained the books that the publisher had come by and put in,” said Alex Macgillivray, an attorney at Google.
Of course, that makes sense, you nod your head, how true, but then you realize that the analogy doesn’t work. If card catalogs were as good at selling books as Google claims Google Print will be, they’d batch-submit all their publications using the marvel of computer technology (they know how to write scripts in NY too, or in a pinch, they can hire a wizard from California). No one has to “come by” in the age of the Internet. How quaint. And misleading.
That’s the issue. Google is making this opt-out not opt-in. So you have to go to the effort of saying NO or otherwise they’ll scan your content. I guess their attitude is that there are no robots.txt files for books so they can do what they want. Search online is opt-out so they must use the same mentality for everything else. Perhaps the publisher should create a new robots.txt for their web content and exclude all things Google until Google start behaving.
Google are not doing this to be altruistic, they’re doing this to make money, off new content they don’t own and that is NOT in the public domain.
Why doesn’t Google do a good thing and link to libraries when the search results come back? Though I doubt the publishers would want that either. They’d want people to buy the books. Still, amke it opt-in, plenty of small publishers who’ll take this up and eventually the other publishers might do the same. Or join the Open Content Alliance.