Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Google Books

I said this a half a year ago or more: Google is losing it. A brash bold useful company with so much to offer whose motto was once "do no evil" is starting to unravel.

Consider Google's acquiescence to China to work together with the authorities to ban thousands of search phrases from their search for Chinese IP addresses. Google's explanation is a) if they didn't do this, then China would ban all of Google, and b) they don't want to lose business. Does that sound like a "do no evil" policy to you?

Now here comes Google Books. Originally this was going to be Google's way of bringing more information to the world; that's what Google is here for, right? Here's a quote from Google's Google Books FAQ:

... the aim of Google Book Search is to help you discover books and learn where to buy or borrow them, not read them from start to finish.

Kaching. What a kowtow to the book publishers. "The aim is to learn where to buy and borrow books"?

The search service is still in Beta, so it may yet improve, but come on. You can only see two pages of the book? Only certain pages? Only if you're registered? Etc.. Whose interests are being served here? Isn't this a little overboard?


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