Saturday, May 28, 2005

Google Print beta site live

So, Goggle continues its unstoppable take-over of the world (thanks to Mike Collins for the link). Google Print is the service by Google that allows users to search full text books, and also get information about books and authors, and eventually would allow you to read the entire work online. Google is undertaking a massive project scanning books, which would mean that the real life libraries of the world will be available digitally. This is useful to look for references and research, but I cannot see people leaving printed books yet.

One thing worries me, and it is that at the moment there seems to be a preponderance of English titles. I searched "Don Quixote"and found the book in English, but then I searched for "Don Quijote" and did not find it in its original Spanish. I searched the immortal opening words: "En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme", and it failed as well, but I found some interesting books on quotations. If one of the greatest works in literature is not scanned in its original language, I am afraid that it demonstrates that the online tyranny of English will continue.

On a minor note, the English translation of the opening line of Don Quixote entirely changes the meaning of the phrase, and misses the beauty of the original.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know there seems to be increasing scepticism of google. But so long as google's core business is built on the free availability of information then the future may not be as bad as some have predicted. Hopefully, google might start to counterbalance the record/film-industry lobbying groups and argue for more limited copyright legislation. (Of course this is an indictment of the legislative process, but unfortunately, the more principled position argued by Lessig in Eldred seems to have fallen on deaf ears)

a meta-google for which one can obtain fairer use by re-google-ing the last available line at the end of the three page excerpt.. I wonder if that trick will make it out of the beta version..