Google Book Search: a name, not an initiative

Here’s the post announcing the name change, and going to books.google.com shows the name change: Google Print is now Google Book Search.

It’s not a new initiative. It’s a name change. In this case, I think it’s an enormously sensible name change–recognizing that the thrust of the project is discovery, not full-text access.

And since the December Cites & Insights, with a big Perspective on OCA and the Google Print Library Project and a smaller (and much more controversial) Perspective trying to put some of this stuff into context, is not out yet and won’t be until at least the weekend after Thanksgiving (U.S. Thanksgiving: the earliest issue date would be November 26), I have plenty of time to make appropriate changes.

Good for Google. Now, if they’d coordinate the public-domain portion of GLP with OCA…(which could happen any time, and about which I have zero insider knowledge)…

Update Saturday, November 19: I’m seeing several bloggers referring to Google Book Search as “Google Books.”

I think that’s unfortunate–that it repeats and even strengthens the misunderstandings engendered by “Google Print.”

Google’s pretty clear that the primary goal of Google Book Search is just that–providing new ways to locate books, and making millions of books part of the set of data searchable (but not always directly retrievable) via Google (just as Google Scholar doesn’t always retrieve the actual articles). While out-of-copyright books scanned as part of GLP may be fully readable on screen, a good case can be made that they’re not really ebooks, given that they can only be read on screen and while connected to Google, one page at a time, with no clear way to bookmark if you were (ahem) ambitious (/ahem) enough to want to read through a whole book that way.

One Response to “Google Book Search: a name, not an initiative”

  1. Dorothea Salo Says:

    The sad thing is, NetLibrary books still cling to the page-at-a-time reading experience too, vastly less defensibly. I can’t abide reading from NetLibrary, and I’ve been reading whole books onscreen since I was a wee tyke in college.

    The page-citation issue can be solved by unobtrusive page-boundary indicators, which require no action from the reader and therefore don’t interrupt the reading nearly as much as requiring clicky-clicky “page turns.”

    I can understand and respect love for the physical book. Love for the physical PAGE utterly bewilders me.


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