European Union Clamps Down on Google

New York Times reports: BRUSSELS — Europe opened a formal antitrust investigation on Tuesday into accusations that Google had abused its dominance in online search, exposing the company’s zealously guarded technology to unwelcome scrutiny.

The investigation by the European Commission follows complaints from smaller Web businesses, which claim that Google downgraded their sites in its search results to weaken potential competitors for advertising. The commission said it would also look into whether Google might have given its Web services “preferential placement” in search results.

Google’s dominance on the Internet has been a sore point in Europe, where it controls more than 80 percent of the online search market, compared with about 66 percent in the United States, according to comScore, a research firm.

Google already faces antitrust inquiries, as well as investigations of its privacy and copyright protection policies, in several European countries. In addition, other American companies have fought lengthy legal battles with European regulators in the past.

In a statement, Google said it had strived to “do the right thing by our users and our industry.”

“But there’s always going to be room for improvement,” the company said, “and so we’ll be working with the commission to address any concerns.”

Google Wants You To Tell Them Which Books Are Public Domain

This Search Engine Round Table post says Clearly Google would love if more books were full view so after one person complained that he found a book where the author died in 1821 and the book was not available in full view. Since the author died in 1821 the book should be in the public domain and available for full view.

So Googler, Sofia started a thread asking people to either post books that should be full view in the thread or submit the information via web form.


Google Instant Searches the Web As You Type

Google has rekindle its love for speedy Web searches with Google Instant, a new version of the search engine that displays results as you type. When typing a search query with Google Instant, results appear after the first letter is entered, and they update as the user types. Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search and user experience, said results are actually delivered "before you type," because Google Instant predicts and automatically completes search terms. Full article in PC World Google Instant is not just Google trying to guess at your keywords as you type them. It is Google starting to run a search as you type each letter. Here is Google's page about Google Instant

How many books in the world?

Based on a new algorithm, Google says there are some 129,864,880 books in the world.

More at the NPR News Blog


Google Search Engine Is Blocked in China

Google said it was the first time the site had been blocked since March.

Full story in the NYT:

Another eBook Provider To the Fore...It's Google

The New York Times reports that later this summer, Google plans to introduce its long-awaited push into electronic books, called Google Editions. The company has revealed little about the venture thus far, describing it generally as an effort to sell digital books that will be readable within a Web browser and accessible from any Internet-connected computing device.

Now one element of Google Editions is coming into sharper focus. Google is on the verge of completing a deal with the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent bookstores, to make Google Editions the primary source of e-books on the Web sites of hundreds of independent booksellers around the country, according to representatives of Google and the association.

The partnership could help beloved bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore.; Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, Calif.; and St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York. To court the growing audience of people who prefer reading on screens rather than paper, these small stores have until now been forced to compete against the likes of Amazon, Apple and Sony.

The Google deal could give them a foothold in this fast-growing market and help them keep devoted customers from migrating elsewhere.

Google to Digitize Austrian National Library Books

VIENNA — Austria's National Library said Tuesday it has struck a 30-million-euro deal with US Internet giant Google to digitise 400,000 copyright-free books, a vast collection spanning 400 years of European history.
Dr. Johanna Rachinger, Director of the Austrian National Library
Johanna Rachinger the head of the ONB library, (whom I met a year ago and had the opportunity to photograph), hailed what she called an "important step," arguing at a news conference that "there are few projects on such a scale elsewhere in Europe."

The Austrian library project concerns one of the world's five biggest collections of 16th- to 19th-century literature, totalling some 120 million pages, the ONB said in a statement.

Under the deal, Google will cover the costs of digitising the collection -- set at around 50 to 100 euros (60 to 120 dollars) per book -- a sum the library says it was unable to raise without external funding.

UK Blog: Libraries in the Age of Google

What's the point of a library or a librarian in the digital era? Who needs a physical space for books and archives, and librarians to police their use, when all that material will soon be available to anyone with a decent internet connection at the click of a mouse?

Rhetorical though they may be, blogger Rory Cellan-Jones makes an effort to find answers to these questions and more with the assistance of the director of the National Library of Wales, Andrew Green.

Google Gives Its Search Results a Facelift

Google is making some very noticeable changes to its familiar search results pages, rolling out the changes gradually on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help focus their query. What will show up on this new left panel depends what a person is looking for.

Search for a type of media — say the latest episode of “Gossip Girl” — and you will get the option to choose between different content types, like images, videos and books. Search for an event or news topic, like “Times Square bomb,” and the search engine will intuit that this is a news-related query and offer options to look at blogs, real time updates from sources like Twitter and Facebook, and links to news articles.

Full article at



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