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Microsoft Enters The Digital Print Game; Google Responds to Critics

.: Some interesting news on the movement to digitize all the books in the world! ;-) In Microsoft joins book search plan, the BBC reports the following:

Microsoft has joined a Yahoo-backed effort to digitise the world's books and other works to make them searchable and accessible to anyone online.

The software giant said it would work with the Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, to initially put 150,000 works online.

The move comes as Google faces growing legal pressure from publishers over its own global digital library plans.

Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain.

Meanwhile, Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google, wrote a commentary that was published in the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal on October 18, 2005, and has been reprinted in the Official Google Blog; here is an excerpt:
Imagine sitting at your computer and, in less than a second, searching the full text of every book ever written. Imagine an historian being able to instantly find every book that mentions the Battle of Algiers. Imagine a high school student in Bangladesh discovering an out-of-print author held only in a library in Ann Arbor. Imagine one giant electronic card catalog that makes all the world's books discoverable with just a few keystrokes by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That's the vision behind Google Print, a program we introduced last fall to help users search through the oceans of information contained in the world's books. Recently, some members of the publishing industry who believe this program violates copyright law have been fighting to stop it. We respectfully disagree with their conclusions, on both the meaning of the law and the spirit of a program which, in fact, will enhance the value of each copyright. Here's why

Google's job is to help people find information. Google Print's job is to make it easier for people to find books. When you do a Google search, your results now include pointers to those books whose contents, stored in the Google Print index, contain your search terms. For many books, these results will, like an ordinary card catalog, contain basic bibliographic information and, at most, a few lines of text where your search terms appear..

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