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Google Purchases Aardvark

On Sunday LISNEWS had a story about the search engine Aardvark. Aardvark, a social search company, is developing a new paradigm for Web searches that taps into social networks, not automated formulas, to provide answers to queries.

Today Aardvark has been purchased by Google. Story in the Washington Post.

Google book scanning: Cultural theft or freedom of information?

Google book scanning: Cultural theft or freedom of information?
A proposed partnership between the French government and Google is stoking fears in France that the country's literary treasures will fall under commercial control of a U.S. technology company.

Google Person Finder Helping Haiti's Survivors

Since librarians are good at finding things (and people), you might want to consider adding Google Person Finder to your database.

Here's info on the API, which is now available via open source.

Google has a crisis response group that quickly went into action after the quake in Haiti in January, coordinating with groups internally and externally, including governmental and non-governmental authorities. A crisis response page was soon posted at here.

It was realized there would be a need for a way to find out the status of family and friends who may have been impacted by the quake. As groups began to coalesce around this need, it was discovered that a Person Finder application had been created in the aftermath of the WTC attacks in 2001. Another was created in response to hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, a quick survey showed these applications could not be revived in a short time.

However, they have since worked out the kinks and created a viable program. Google now cordially invites you to work with them in a coordinated effort to help the crisis relief efforts for the people of Haiti.

Dept. of Justice Still Unhappy With Revised Google Book Search Settlement

It appears that there are at least couple of companies in the book biz that are too big for their britches as the saying goes.

Publishers Weekly reports: The Department of Justice dealt a serious blow Thursday evening to the chances that the Google Book Search settlement will gain court approval later this month when it found that the revised agreement still raises class certification, copyright and antitrust issues. The DOJ said that despite “good faith” efforts to modify the agreement, “the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation."

US Anti-Trust Reviewers Still Objecting To Google Books Deal

The crew at Vulture Central (further known as British tech publication The Register) posted a report by Cade Metz about the continuing review of the proposed Google Books settlement. Metz notes that the US Department of Justice still finds as a fundamental problem to the settlement that it is using class action lawsuit mechanisms to do an overly far-reaching end-run of the legislative process so as to effect significant change in society.

Stanford signs Google Book Search agreement, endorses court settlement

Stanford signs Google Book Search agreement, endorses court settlement
"Stanford is on the cutting edge of technology development and is using technology to improve access to information not just for their faculty and students, but for the world," said Dan Clancy, Google Books engineering director. "Their early participation was important to the establishment of the Google Books project, and we’re very pleased that they have continued to support this effort and expanded their commitment under the terms of the settlement."

Google, copyright, and our future.

Google, copyright, and our future: Lawrence Lessig

The deal constructs a world in which control can be exercised at the level of a page, and maybe even a quote. It is a world in which every bit, every published word, could be licensed. It is the opposite of the old slogan about nuclear power: every bit gets metered, because metering is so cheap. We begin to sell access to knowledge the way we sell access to a movie theater, or a candy store, or a baseball stadium. We create not digital libraries, but digital bookstores: a Barnes & Noble without the Starbucks.

Key Author Estates, Formerly Resistant, Now Support Google Books

Key Author Estates, Formerly Resistant, Now Support Google Books

Members of the Authors Guild who vociferously opposed Google Books now support the initiative. The estates of author John Steinbeck and songwriter Woody Guthrie, which led a successful movement to postpone the opt-out deadline to January 28, said they are now happy with the revised Google Books plan in an e-mail the Authors Guild sent to its members on Thursday.

Google to end China censorship after e-mail breach

Google to end China censorship after e-mail breach
Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country completely after discovering that computer hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts to outsiders.

Google's Book Scanning Technology Revealed

Google’s Book Scanning Technology Revealed
Google was awarded a patent for a device to rapidly scan high-quality of images of books last March, as reported by NPR and CNet. However, no one has been able to get a glimpse of how the system works in practice, until now. Researchers Nakashima, Watanabe, Komuro, and Ishikawa of the University of Tokyo have published an article fully explaining and providing pictures of a system nearly identical to that in Google’s patent. It is not clear whether the Japanese researchers or Google came up with the idea first, but the University of Tokyo article does an excellent job of explaining the book scanning technology.

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