Google Halts Book Scanning

August 14, 2005

At least for now, Google has halted its master plan to scan millions
of books into its database with intentions of allowing people to search them
using its mega-search-engine. Now that their 1-billion-page-dash
has been temporarily halted, we have time to pause for reflection.

Publishing companies threw a fit at the prospect of Google throwing
their copyrighted works out to the wolves. Â At first glance, I
would tend to side with Google. After all, free as in freedom, right? Copyleft,
right? Why should access to books be a luxury of the
rich? Oh wait, isn’t that why we have libraries? So, Google
is just a big electronic library, right? Well, not exactly.

Yes, Google allows a person to find information and so does a library,
but that is where the similarity ends. Google might look like a
library, but it is no ibiblio (http://www.ibiblio.org);
trust me. Google is a business, a for-profit corporation setting
out to make billions of dollars through its investments.

It goes against the very nature of libraries. No matter what
Google’s pure intentions might appear to be, their ultimate goal at
the end of the day is profit. If they were a non-profit org,
perhaps I’d have a little more sympathy and would feel more eager to
apply the hey it’s just a big cybrary analogy. As it stands,
however, I am more than a little skeptical. I hope this doesn’t
affect my search engine ranking.


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